John P. Milton and the Manifestation of Way of Nature


John P. Milton is a pioneering ecologist, spiritual teacher, meditation master, vision quest leader and shaman. John's vision quest and shamanic work began in the mid-1940's, after experiencing his first vision quest at the age of seven. Since the 1950's, John has guided thousands of people into the wilderness, sharing with them experiences and practices that cultivate a profound connection with Nature and, ultimately, Source Awareness. Over the years, many have sought his profound transmissions and powerful yet gentle Qigong teachings, T'ai Chi training, meditation practices, internal alchemy training, shamanic processes and Sacred Passage programs. John continues to live, explore and lead wilderness trainings in many of the Earth's wild and sacred places.  Through Way of Nature, he offers Nature Quests, Sacred Passages, Advanced Awareness Trainings, as well as custom programs and retreats, for both individuals and groups.


John has pioneered for western civilization a unique, vital way of spiritual cultivation in Nature that ripens in a deep ecological experience of Communion with all species, and with Mother Earth herself. His training is deeply informed by direct teachings from many of the world's outstanding spiritual teachers and lineages. From this comprehensive background, John has created and essentialized a path of key principles and disciplines that flow from Universal Source. He calls this path the Way of Nature.  From this path, John has developed the Twelve Guiding Principles of Natural Liberation, which naturally unfold as one experiences Way of Nature's foundational quest, Sacred Passage.
For John, and those who resonate with his teachings and principles, one can find the true Church, the Temple, and the Altar not in human constructs, but rather in pristine, unspoiled Nature that is found in bountiful ways in wilderness settings everywhere.
"John P. Milton provides extraordinary teachings, guidance and insights for all those who work and study with him. His knowledge of deep ecology, the healing aspects of martial arts and spiritual awakening is profound. I would recommend studying with John and engaging with his Sacred Passage work to anyone yearning for greater self awareness and inspiration. He is a master liberator of your creativity and your true essence!"
-Bud Wilson (Boulder, Colorado), Founding Executive Director, Deep Nature Journeys 

Facilitating the Birth

of the Environmental Movement:

Education, Experience, and Ecological Contributions  

John received his M.S. in Ecology and Environmental Conservation from the University of Michigan in 1962 and 1963; As a student at Mexico City College, and the OAS Inter-American Graduate School of Tropical Science in Costa Rica, John is a leader in his field, with focused attention on the environmental impacts of bilateral and multilateral organizations involved globally in economic development projects. During these years, he played an instrumental role in birthing the environmental movement in the early 1960's. In the 1970’s and 80’s, John led movements to protect the Tropical Forest and Alaskan Wilderness that were under assault.  Following a landmark study conference that John designed by the same name, his 1966 book, Future Environments of North America, was a first in opening the use of the word "Environment" to describe our culture's paradigm shift into a responsibly ecological view of our oneness with Earth. John helped David Brower found Friends of the Earth (both the United States-based organization, as well as many of the Friends of the Earth Organizations in other countries).
Between 1963 and 1972 he directed the International Programs Division of the Conservation Foundation, now a part of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in both New York and Washington, D.C..  Between 1966 and 1973, he led two major programs to transform cultural awareness of the ecological impacts of development.  His first program was a project to commission fifty scientists to prepare several hundred comprehensive case studies on the then relatively little-recognized ecological impacts of economic development projects world-wide.  This culminated in a major conference and his 1,070 page book The Careless Technology: Ecology and International Development.  His other program was to distill the central ecological principles from all the case studies.  This work was published in his 1973 book, Ecological Principles for Economic Development.  Taken together, these two programs and books played a major international role in shifting global awareness towards ecological and environmental sustainability. 
In the early 1970's, John was the first ecologist on staff at the White House, working with the President's Council of Economic Advisors.  He went on to be awarded a position as a Woodrow Wilson Resident Scholar for a year at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars located in the original Castle Building of the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  Between 1979 and 1981, he was a visiting professor of Environmental Studies at Sangamon State University in Springfield, Illinois, and Director of it's Center for Urban and Regional Studies.  During this period, he developed a number of design projects to model how ecological sustainability can work in households, neighborhoods, small towns, cities, farms, and our watersheds. His work on distilling core ecological principles for application to economic and community development was a unique element in creating models of sustainability for human cultures. He has also served on a variety of committees at the National Academy of Sciences.
Since the 1950's, John has conducted numerous expeditions and field projects in wilderness areas of the United States, Alaska & Canadian Arctic, as well as in Central and South America, Asia and Africa. These have included rhino and tiger conservation in Nepal, protection of mountain ecosystems in both Nepal and Bhutan, preservation of Alaska's wilderness, leading the battle to protect the National Arctic Wildlife refuge in Alaska’s northeast Brooks Range, and rainforest protection in Brazil, Cambodia, Central America, East Africa, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Laos, Mexico, Peru, Thailand, and Venezuela. 

Available Now

John P. Milton's seminal guide to healing one's physical and spiritual body and creating a new relationship with oneself through meditation and connecting with Nature's healing energy.
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"John is a pioneer who cares about the relationship between people and Mother Earth. [His teachings in Sky Above, Earth Below] not only gives readers a tool to unite with nature, it also provides practical methods to help them balance body, mind, and spirit. John beautifully translates Taoist wisdom into language and techniques for the western world…”
-Yun Xiang Tseng Chen, Taoist priest from Wudang Mountain

What Led John to Establish Way of Nature?

For much of his life, John has labored to open what he calls "Sacred Ecology" as a new cultural foundation for the West. John’s work demonstrates a life-long devotion to the mystery of Gaia and to the process of human liberation, allowing deep ecological and spiritual values to guide his own path.
In the early 1970's, John embarked upon a personal quest to share his wisdom and experience within a larger world community of people newly awakening to eco-consciousness. Taking his background as a professional ecologist and his unique background as a genuine spiritual seeker, John established Threshold, Inc., a foundation devoted to innovative environmental work. He created Sacred Passage and Way of Nature with the primary intention to open the way to spiritual liberation in Great Nature. John founded Threshold, Inc. and Way of Nature programs to inspire Earth Stewardship by cultivating natural wisdom and an open, loving heart in the wild.
Under Threshold, Inc. (now known as Way of Nature Foundation), John and several associates have also established the Sacred Land Sanctuary, dedicated to preserving and lovingly communing with natural areas holding special sacred qualities. The Sacred Land Sanctuary establishes our country’s first clear example of modern, non-indigenous humans setting aside land because of its inherent sacredness. John intends for this to be a model for local and regional protection and sacred activity in numerous locations around our precious planet. These areas are integral to deepening each individual's harmony with Nature and enhancing their capability for spiritual liberation.  


Through the Way of Nature Foundation and Way of Nature LLC John intends to create lasting and effective change toward living in greater balance with the Three Natures: Inner, Outer and True Nature. Please consider making a donation to this important and vital work in service to human and planetary healing and evolution.

WoN Teachings Originate from John's Direct Connection to these and other Master Teachers and Lineages

Bor, Lacandon Maya Teacher

Bor, John's Lacandon Maya shaman elder and teacher, taken in 1959 during one of John’s expeditions to study and protect the Lacandon Rainforest in Chiapas, Mexico.


Vasudev, Tantra Teacher

John with his Tantra teacher, Vasudev, from Bengal, India in the Himalayan Mountains in the 1970's. Vasudev’s deep connection to the Divine Feminine through the veneration of Kali and Bagalama opened new devotional pathways for John.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist Master

In the 1970’s and through the 1980’s, mostly in Kathmandu, John had the honor of direct contact with this enlightened master, one of the primary leaders of the Nyingma Tibetan Buddhism lineage, known for his loving kindness, wisdom, and deep compassion.

Benjamin Pang Zheng Lo, Taoist Alchemist

Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo was a master of T’ai Chi Ch’uan, T’ai Chi, Qigong and Taoist internal alchemy processes known as Neigong and Neidan. John studied with Ben Lo in the early 1970’s and into the mid-1980’s. Ben was one of the accomplished teachers of Pushing Hands (Sensing Hands) in North America.

Yongdzin Lopon Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, Tibetan Bon Master

An important living teacher of Tibetan Dzogchen and one of the most highly realized masters in the Bon traditions, Lopon introduced John to deeper earth spirituality through these ancient teachings.

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, Tibetan Bon Teacher

Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche is founder of the Ligmincha Institute, an educational and spiritual organization bringing Tibetan Bon traditions to the West and preserving for future generations the ancient teachings, arts, sciences, language and literature of Tibet and Zhang Zhung. John worked with Tenzin to establish Chamma Ling, a Tibetan Bon Retreat Center based in Crestone, Colorado.

The Twelve Guiding Principles

of Natural Liberation

The Twelve Guiding Principles of Natural Liberation are a multi-faceted Matrix, where we can enter from many doorways, depending upon our unique situation. Taken together, these Twelve Principles and their associated practices create an all-denominational body of unique teachings that form the Heart Essence of the Way of Nature path.
John P. Milton devoted many years of study, deep training and spiritual cultivation in some of the world's most profoundly enlightening, earth-connected traditions to present these core principles in a clear and concise manner. Synthesized and distilled from the ancient teachings of Buddhism, Taoism, Dzogchen, Tantra, Vedanta, and several Shamanic paths, these 12 Principles are a culmination of John’s many years (starting in 1945) of solo immersion and spiritual practice in the wilderness. For those of you searching for a path to Sacred illumination, these teachings are offered as a useful way to support your journey into the Boundless.

1. The Fundamental Truth

All perceived forms are interconnected, constantly change and continually arise from, manifest within and return to Primordial Source.

2. Commit Yourself Completely to Liberation in this Lifetime

John personally recommends:  That you commit yourself completely to liberation in this lifetime for the benefit of all Beings.

3. Relax 

De-contract, relax, let go, trust and surrender into Life.

An Interview with Way of Nature Founder,

John P. Milton

Interview by Carla Brennan
This interview by Carla Brennan with John P. Milton was conducted in May 1996, after Carla completed her 44-day and 28-day Awareness Training with John in Crestone, Colorado during July-September 1995.
"John is an expert in many fields, from spirituality to ecology. If you have an interest in deep ecology, John is the right adviser for you. We have been doing leadership training in Europe for some years now with a very positive outcome. I highly recommend John as a partner in management training." 
-Göran Gennvi (Sweden), CEO, Naturakademin Learning Lab

A Natural Way Toward Liberation