The continued growth of mega-cities and the ongoing urbanization of second tier cities across the world is resulting in increasingly more people living in densely packed urban areas and smaller living spaces. One of the side effects of global macro-trends is an increasing lack of connection with the natural world. In turn, people in densely populated urban environments are more likely to lack access to knowledge and an in-depth appreciation of the agricultural and biological ecology upon which society depends.
Being disconnected from nature, and physically and emotionally disconnected from the mechanisms of production and consumption, deeply affects our attitudes, behavior and worldview. Our ability to express our identity, and evaluate what a successful life is, is too easily entangled in the unsustainable mechanisms of consumerism and materialism. We are unable to make a connection to the larger implications and effects of our behavior and consumption patterns.
Meanwhile, the Science of Happiness continues to explore how people can live a more balanced, meaningful and healthy life – without expense to the environment, our own psyches or that of our global neighbors. These ideas have resonated in urban communities across the world, and have slowly become mainstream, as the yoga and mindfulness boom demonstrates. The wellbeing industry, however, has a tendency to focus on the ‘quick fix’ of positive thinking rather than more challenging aspects of spirituality and the ethics of mindful living.
The Contemplation of Nature has already gained some recognition as a pathways to nurture mindful living. Subtle positive emotions are amplified with first-hand experiences of nature and community. These are proven to be of vital importance in increasing self-awareness, empathy and compassion. These experiences enrich an individual’s outlook on life, increase their sense of care for themselves and others, and nurture a heightened awareness of their own internal and external ‘naturalness’.
The programs we run elaborate on the overall approach of The Contemplation of Nature, its potential benefits and scientific outcomes, and its ability to open up new ways to connect with nature in urban environments for ‘naturalness orientation’. The aim of Naturalness Orientation is for subjects to experience 3 key principles of resilience; Dignity of physical work, Interdependence and Inter-connectivity, and to learn a simple 3 step mindfulness meditation technique; Observe, Accept, Send Love. Together these are powerful tools for personal development.