Deep Ecology & Forest Gardening
27th of August – 10 September 2017
Deepen our connection with nature through our head, heart, hands and spirit.
Join us for this two weeks contemplative learning where we will learn together What is Deep Ecology as a philosophy, as a way to see and interpret life, as an approach to deepen our connection with nature and as a way of living.
This two weeks program is designed to have balance of the learning through different channel of our being:
Head: Theoretical learning, critical thinking, debate, discussion, deep reflection & deep questioning. The learning through the head help us to understand deeply of what is happening around us and in the world. Understanding and deeply questioning the reality presented to us is a way to liberate ourselves from it.
Heart: listening to what we are feeling when we engage ourselves in nature and her stories. Allowing the heart to feel the love, joy, compassion or the feeling of sadness & fear allowing ourselves to feel the pain ourselves, the world & Mother Earth. We will use the activities of The Work That Reconnect of Joanna Macy and other practices to help our heart to learn deeply. We need the learning through our heart to bring about transformation at a deep level.
Hand: Mindfully working with nature in the forest garden. When we are mindful we love, respect and connect as we are physically engaged. Practical work help us to ground our believes, philosophy and vision. It empowers us and assures us that the new reality we wish for is possible. It makes what’s in our head and heart become real and tangible.
Spirit : Spirituality, Meaning & purpose. Learning at this level is about being conscious of our values and purpose, seeing ourselves as part of a greater universe and realizing our connection, relationship and responsibility in that picture. a learning at this level helps us to stay connected with our core and bring meaning to life.
The course will run through what we call “the wave of energy” where we go through different phases of learning and eventually the wave reaches the peak of high motivation and deep commitment at the end of the journey. This process is designed based on & inspired by various philosophies and practices such as Joanna Macy’s Works That Reconnect, Buddhist teachings, Process Work & Ecovillage Design Education. This process has been used to create NextGEN groups in different Asian countries.
The phases of learning include:
Community Building : At Gaia Ashram we value community & living together as a community. We will work together on creating a space for openness, opening our hearts and minds, building trust, cultivating compassion toward each other, drawing shared values and we creating the community glue together. This acts as the important foundation for the whole program. This phase of learning includes:
- introduction to each other
- introduction to the process
- introduction to the land, to Gaia Ashram
- introduction to deep ecology
- embracing diversity
- community building
- trust building
- common ground
Gratitude : Feeling nature, raising our eco-sensitivity, spending time in nature, connecting with nature, expressing our love and gratitude to nature from a deep place and deep reflection. In this phase we will be working on:
- eco sensitivity
- deep experience
- feeling nature
- observing nature & being observed by nature
- be nature
- nature expression
Honouring the Pain or Concerns: Feeling the pain for the world and honouring the pain for the world, looking inside ourselves into what concerns we have for ourselves, for the world, for the future generation and for all beings, studying and addressing the crisis’s we are facing and its roots. In this phase we will be:
- deep questioning our society
- feeling and honouring the pain for the world
- looking into the roots of our crises
- materialistic worldview
Setting Forth: Looking into the shift that is taking place, transformation, the great turning, initiatives each one of us are taking. In this phase we will reflect on:
- What inspire us to change?
- The call from inside
- The great turning(Joanna Macy)
- Seeing with new eyes(Joanna Macy)
Visioning: Learning about the holistic worldview and holistic approach toward sustainability, looking into your personal life how you wish to have each part of your life become more sustainable – discover your deep ecology as a way of living.
- holistic worldview
- positive vision
- deep ecology as a way of living
- mini-vision quest
Action plan: Flower for the earth. How can we ground all this knowledge to become active caretakers or deepen our roles as earth stewards and guardians of nature?
- Deep Commitment
- What block us from taking action and engaging in the world?
- Creating a realistic and committed action plan as flower we offer for the earth
Networking/connection: Why is networking important, looking at different networks & how can we do networking?
- connection as a foundation of life and creation
- connecting and networking among different initiatives
Group Action: To ground our learning & our vision the group will work on a project that we will decide on together.
- taking action together, making direct positive change and be empowered
- celebrate our learning, our bonds and commitment to connect with the earth through our heard, heart, hand and spirit,
- celebrate our values and deepen our connection
This course on Deep Ecology aims to give us the tools & knowledge to deepen our connection with this beautiful Mother Earth & all its beings. It is our wish to see that this course will benefit all beings one way or another.
Om Sunisa Jamwiset Deiters
Founder of Gaia Ashram & Gaia School Asia. Lived and worked at Wongsanit Ashram in Thailand for 8 years. Wongsanit Ashram is a intentional community for simple living and for engaging in social action and spiritual practice founded by socially engaged buddhist activist Sulak Sivaraksa . Here she was trained as and started working as a facilitator. After that she spent one year living and working at the Panya project which is a permaculture based community in Thailand. Involved in NextGEN (Next Generation of the Global Ecovillage Network) as the current representative of NextGEN Oceania and Asia. She teaches and facilitates courses such as Ecovillage Design Education (part of Gaia Education), Socially Engaged Buddhism/Spirituality and Training of Trainers. She has facilitated courses for NGO workers, young Buddhists activists, international students, children and teachers. She uses participatory teaching methods and her focus is on deep ecology and nature connection.
Tom is the Co-founder of Gaia Ashram & Gaia School Asia. He has a sensitivity to nature and spent a lot of time in nature. This sensitivity let to a deep commitment to help nature in its healing process. In his role as documentary maker he has used the medium of film as a teaching tool to raise awareness about environmental problems that we are facing in our world and the harm we are doing to nature. Tom first got in touch with the ecovillage movement in 2007 when he did an Ecovillage Design Education course at Findhorn. He spent the last several years working with nature by working on organic and permaculture farms throughout Europe. In gardening Tom uses ecological principles and intuition. The other part of the solution in his view is education and sensitizing youth to the importance of taking care of nature, as they are the future caretakers of our planet earth. Tom through Gaia School Asia and NextGEN Oceania & Asia has taught in many schools in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand about local environmental problems and the need to come up with practical solutions.
Ben is a permaculture designer, consultant and teacher with a background in organic and biodynamic gardening / agriculture, natural building, horticulture and landscape architecture. Ben has been actively practicing and teaching Permaculture for the last 5 years in England, Thailand and India and is currently managing the gardens at the Panya Project, a well known certified Permaculture Education center and international community. He loves community living, natural building and is most often to be found with his hands in the earth working in the plant realm. When Ben is not teaching you will find him in the garden deeply absorbed and fully connected with the plant realm. Ben through his many years of experience as a gardener has developed a deep sensitivity to the plant realm & all the being that are found in the garden.
and the Gaia Ashram teacher team…….
Facilities: Interns should not expect much comfort. Basic facilities and needs will be provided for.
Accommodation: Dormitory, second floor of the Gaia Sala. Few tents are available for those who prefer to stay in tents.
Common Space for sessions: Indoor sessions will be held at the first floor of Gaia Sala, other session will be held underneath big trees and practical session will be happening on the land.
Toilet and Shower: Compost toilets and roofless shower for men and women.
Internet: Internet Shop is nearby in the next village and is usually available everyday. We will provide a trip to internet on Sundays.
Food: There will be a local cooking team cooking delicious vegetarian Isaan & Thai food for us. There will be opportunity for those who want to learn how to make these dishes to do so.
Course fee : 400 Euros
- Food, accommodation (dormitory), teaching fee
- For those who would like more privacy there are some separate rooms available for 250 Thai bath extra per day per room. The rooms have enough space for two people to stay. We have not so many rooms available so those that book early will get the rooms.
We ask participants to make a 100 euro downpayment through Eventbrite. This will secure your spot.
5 % of the profit from the course will go to support NextGENOA activity (Next generation of the Global Ecovillage Network of Oceania & Asia = NextGENOA) see more about NextGENOA at:
Most of the rest of the profit from the course will be spent on water harvesting and irrigation at the Gaia Ashram (building water tanks, installing gutters, buying pumps and install solar energy system for the pumps etc.)
For more information on Deep Ecology you can look at:
To get an idea of Gaia Ashram and its educational programs watch this youtube link:
“May this course be of benefit to all forests, beings and Mother Earth”