We live in a era of disconnection from our direct experiences of life – from ourselves, from each other and from the natural world we’re all integrally part of. Why? Because in the Western world in particular, we’ve chosen to ‘develop our minds’ so much that our habitual mode of being (“autopilot mode”) is lost in the individual and collective thoughts and narratives of our conscious minds -without even being aware of it. This had led us to become significantly disconnected from our bodies and senses, from our direct experience and ultimately from nature within us and around us. We have forgotten how to pay attention and listen to nature – which we all have an innate bond with. According to Claire Thompson, author and explorer of mindfulness and nature (http://mindfulness-of-nature.com/ and https://twitter.com/NatureMindful, this disconnection is the root cause of most of the unnecessary suffering and problems which we face in the world today. Mindfulness is about becoming aware of all the different aspects of our experience of aliveness in an open, compassionate and non-judgmental way. This awareness gives us the choice as to which parts of our experience we tune into. Claire believes that a world that is more mindful of nature will be happier, more peaceful and on the road to sustainability – it’s time to bring our awareness back to nature!
In this conversation, Claire covers how simple practices like finding a ‘sit spot’ can help us to develop a mindful approach to the natural world and in turn to the rest of our lives. Taking this more mindful approach to life can help us to deal with challenging situations and become more aware of our emotional reactions and where they come from. We are part of nature and nature is part of us, so Claire sees it as common sense for us to undertake mindfulness in a natural setting since it heightens our senses and perception. Practising mindfulness can also be a great way to see wildlife and to enter a state of stillness that encourages it to become more confiding and come closer.
Claire also describes how she fell in love with Central and South America, and explains how she has left her day job in order to move there this winter to lead workshops and retreats where she hopes to inspire many more to reconnect with the natural world – through mindfulness meditations, discussions, games, hikes and shared experiences of the wilderness in beautiful places. And she explains the linkages between mindful experiences of nature and our motivation to protect things that we love. In turn, she explains that mindful experiences of nature might be able to help us conserve and restore it.
The Wild Voices Project podcast tells the stories of people saving nature. You can find us online at www.wildvoicesproject.org and @WildVoicesProj on twitter. And you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitchr. We are part of WILDVoices media, a global production team bridging emerging storytellers with aspiring environmental professionals. Learn more about the global community at wild-voices.org.