“Interdependence is a fundamental law of nature. Even tiny insects survive by cooperating with each other. Our own survival is so dependent on others that a need for love lies at the very core of our existence. That is why we need to cultivate a genuine sense of responsibility and a sincere concern for the welfare of others.” H. H. Dalai Lama
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, one finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
– John Muir
There are rare moments when all the inner stirrings, anxieties and challenges of life quiet down. Maybe there is even a pause of silence, interrupted by the crashing of a waterfall, the trill of a treefrog or the smell of a pine forest. In nature, something happens to us, a kind of organic shift from our city-filled preoccupation with consuming technology and accomplishing wonderful things to simply being. We slow down into nature’s rhythm, which is part of us, and if we are lucky, we learn to listen to nature with our whole being.
For many of us, looking for deeper connection and meaning in our fast-paced world, being in nature brings us “home” and back inward to a place of ease. Some of us may have lost this connection and it has been replaced by fear of nature. Jon Young, a naturalist and youth educator, teaches children about “nature deficiency,” which stems from a post industrial era where we thrived on building, on expansion, on resource extraction and today, on technology.
Our youth are inheriting a growing anxiety. We get newsflashes about “climate change” and the rate of species losses, especially in our amphibian population. Our natural world is changing rapidly. How do we help? What can I do to support the future generations and ensure the health of our planet? We have incorporated Nature Awareness to our teachings and training in hopes of helping to find the answers to these questions.
Simple ways to begin nature awareness:
~Learn about the names of trees in your local forest, park or ravine.
~Plan to visit a pond or river and count how many beings you meet.
~Sit in nature for a while: listen and see how many sounds you can identify.
~Plant a veggie garden, shop locally and reduce your dependency on commercially transported food.
~Join or support an organization that is addressing the environment and advocating for change.
Nature Awareness Training at Sarana Springs:
Cofounders & Buddhist Chaplains, Angie and Andrew Blake, are stewards of 171 acres of mixed wood, pine and cedar forest, wetland, meadows, small lake, two ponds, a river, and fresh water springs. Sarana Springs is a true refuge and sanctuary and is the location of our Sarana Young Adult Program, and our Mindfulness & Compassion Retreats.
Mindfulness in Nature is a program for young adults who want to deepen their connection with themselves, others and the environment. This program runs annually in August. We combine mindfulness and compassion training with inner leadership, communication, food and nature awareness skills to support adults 18 – 30 in meeting the challenges of our world.
See Angie’s Blog for her story of how this vision was seeded.
Three seasons on the BigHead River and a view of the grassland mounds