I recieved my quarterly journal on outdoor learning the other day. This journal presents papers on how learning in the outdoors benefits people, particularly young people, and how facilitators can improve their skills.
This months journal had a really interesting study reported in it. Part of the study was looking at how being alone in nature, when left to our own devices, brings forth spiritual awareness and personal learning spontaneously. Whilst this is not news to me, and something I have experienced in myself and witnessed in others it is refreshing to hear this outcome being looked at specifically and encouraged.
Basically it adds to the idea that our deepest self, when given the space, time and environment outside our ‘normal’ routines, will bring to us what we next need to learn and see in ourselves.
Part of the findings of this study were that the revelations and effects of the inner learning that took place in this situation were carried back out into ‘normal routine life’ and here quite permanent changes were made in peoples lives.
The study focused around a wild camping situation spanning a few days so likened this to a vision quest in many ways, however it was also noted that even short periods of time in nature alone or seemingly alone, were beneficial to spiritual awareness, insight and personal transformation.
I am delighted to see these effects acknowledged in such a studied way, and perhaps we can all reconsider how much silenece and space in nature we take in our lives. Perhaps make an effort to include a little more of this in our weekly routines.
Walking in the mountains of North Wales without the skills needed for the safe navigation and crossing of the terrain can be dangerous, however with a sensitive guide it can be made safer, and also still capture some of the benefits of silence and contemplation.
Certainly on the guided walks I do there is space for silent reflection, and whilst I can be there as a sounding board, and a facilitator of inner change if required. I can also serve as a protector and practical guide for physical saftey and allow you the space to be with yourself as you need.
On the wild camps – I build in sections of time in the evening for alone contemplation and stillness as well as silent progress through the mountains as is desired by the participants.
So have a think about how to bring more space and silence with nature into your life, and if you feel drawn to experience this in the wilds of North Wales do contact me.
Ref: Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning – Study by Andy Williams 2012 www.outdoor-learning.org