This may cause some controversy I know.
However, I feel if we can see the things we need to understand about who we are as individuals, then and only then can we begin to change who we are from the false reality of this world to who we truly are. We are not separate from nature but an integral part of it and its process, we are all connected.
For me personally Nature Awareness has evolved over the last several years and the reason for this is as a direct result of working in the field of addiction. I discovered very quickly that the people I was working with had experiences during nature awareness that were beyond their normal levels of awareness.
There are many bushcraft schools in the UK that use the phrase 'Nature Awareness' which they sum up to mean ‘What’s on the box is what you get’; this I believe implies separateness from the natural world.
In contrast there are a small number of bushcraft schools that teach from a spiritual perspective and while I cannot speak for them, my view is that. If we but climb up the box, an open the lid and take a good look around, we would see that there is a great deal more to see, feel, understand and experience about our world which we live and co-exist in.
I worked in a 12-Step centre where I found that nature awareness often connected people with the first three steps. Step One is, I am powerless over my addiction and my life is unmanageable, Step Two is, I came to recognise a power greater than myself and Step Three is, I handed over to God as I understood him.
In fact one person described a nature awareness game called the Drum Stalk’ as “Steps One, Two and Three in action”.
Nature Awareness helps people with an addiction to expand their awareness and understand the world around them, were normally they would be the centre of the universe, for some NATURE was filling the void that they so often experience, it became clear that I was now working with peoples behaviours while out in nature.
The experience of being in nature means I can look at myself without pretending to be someone who I am not and to feel I am not being judged or rejected or mocked. Nature/Mother Earth is in my mind unconditional, she cannot be controlled or manipulated, and therefore she is a powerful teacher.
I try to understand my relationship with myself in nature, my relationship with my peers in nature and my relationship with my creator in nature. I felt that I needed to define what it is that I was being presented with, when I asked a group of young gaming addicts in Holland I was working with, what would in their mind best describe what we were doing together other than using the words Nature Awareness, the reply from a young Dutchman was “Natural Awareness” which I instantly liked, I decided that I would sit with this for a while to see how I felt about it.
While taking some of the guys to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) one night, one of the women gave me a book to read, it was Neal Donald Walchs (2006) “Home with God” which was one of the follow ups to his famous book called “Conversations with God”.
While reading the first chapter God says to Neal “All human beings are born with all the wisdom of the universe imprinted on their souls. It is in the DNA of everything. Indeed “DNA” could very well be used as an acronym for Divine Natural Awareness” (p.5). We’ll all I can say to you is this, in that moment I felt like I had been plugged into a wall socket, because my whole body was just electrified and so Natural Awareness was born, in fact I really like the idea of Divine Natural Awareness. Why? Because it says to me that WE ARE ALL CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER, to the trees, the birds, the insects and to all that is and that ultimately Nature gives us an awareness of a Power Greater than our selves.
To sum up, Natural Awareness is about looking at our behaviour, by working with nature we can learn to recognise our behaviours through our relationship first with ourselves, then with our peers and with finely with the Creator or Higher Power as we understand it.