Deep Ecology, Nature Connection & Natural Farming
9th – 30th September 2018
Deepen our connection with nature through our head, heart, hands and spirit.
This course on Deep Ecology aims to give us the tools & knowledge to deepen our connection with this beautiful Mother Earth & all its beings and at the same time give us some practical tools to help heal Mother Earth through Natural Farming techniques. It is our wish to see that this course will benefit all beings one way or another.
In the first two weeks we will learn contemplatively together What is Deep Ecology as a philosophy, and as an approach to deepen our connection with nature and as a way of living. The third week will give an overview of What is Natural Farming and its history. We will learn practical tools on how to apply Natural Farming in our garden or on our farm.
This three weeks program is designed to have balance of the learning through different channels 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 of 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 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:
- 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:
- Deep experience
- Feeling nature
- Observing nature & being observed by nature
- Be nature
- Nature expression
Honouring Our Pain for the world : Acknowledging and honouring our pain for the world, looking inside ourselves into what concerns we have for ourselves, for the world, for the future generations 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
- Acknowledging and honouring our pain for the world
- Looking into the roots of our crises
- Discussing on materialistic worldview
Seeing with new eyes : 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)
Going Forth & 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?
Natural Farming : Training & Practice
From 24th – 29th September, after we have done two weeks of process work of Deep Ecology & Nature Connection, we will be learning about Natural Farming from an expert who has applied natural farming successfully. This learning will bridge our deep connection with nature from the previous two weeks into the ground and will give us some practical tools to become caretakers of the land.
From the heart to the hand, from love and respect of nature to working with nature.
How each day looks like during the course
- We will start of the day in the morning, before breakfast, with meditation & yoga or other contemplative exercises
- There will be daily mindful gardening practice of one hour every day.
- Process work on Deep Ecology, Nature connection and Works that Reconnect will take place indoors or in nature.
- Art, ritual an celebration will be included as appropriate.
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.
Greatly inspired by Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness, meditation and yoga, Kate is also passionate about education, Nature Connection/Deep Ecology and Permaculture. Co-founder of Soil*Sun*Soul, she was also a long-term volunteer at Gaia Ashram and Gaia School Asia where she formed part of the facilitation team on 2 residential internships based on EcoVillage Design Education and worked with children, youth and youth workers facilitating eco-education activities.
She believes through re-connecting the heart and mind to nature, we form a deep commitment to change, and become deeply committed to positive and sustained actions.
Kate is also the author of “Reflections on a Turning World” and author-illustrator of “The King and The Tree/El Rey y el Arbol” –a colourful, bilingual book for children about connections in nature.
She is currently based in Catalunya, Spain where she co- organizes and co-facilitates various courses and workshops, teaches English, practices yoga and meditation, and aims to live simply. She believes another way IS possible!
first came to Gaia Ashram in January 2017. She has a deep passion for nature connection, personal growth and everything that can help us humans to live together with peace, joy and in harmony with all beings. When she fell in love with the place and decided to stay, she started walking her path towards becoming a facilitator of Deep Ecology Work and Ecovillage Design Education and a spaceholder of the community. She loves to sing and connect deeply with herself and others and likes to explore songs, deep sharing and listening activities and guided meditations as ways to build community.
While being excited about studying the Gaia Education online course Design for Sustainability and totally able to forget everything around with her nose in a book, she enjoys to spend her time with both feet and hands touching the Earth. Her strong belief in permaculture, organic gardening and natural building as integral apects of re-inventing our human role in the web of life is her motivation to continuously deepen her knowledge and experience in all these aspects of the Gaia Ashram life and work.
and the Gaia Ashram teacher team
How to apply?
Email us a motivation letter why you want to attend the course, then sign up and pay your registration fee through Eventbrite link. We will send you Registration form to fill in your personal information along with information package for your preparation to participate in the course. Then you are booked!
Please send your inquiry to email@example.com and pay your registration fee here :
What are the fee?
We have made three sliding scale fee to be able to give more chance for youth and people with low income to participate in the program. We wish that people with more income are willing to pay the recommended fee or the gifting fee which are the amount that will enable us to continue doing this work and give more space to youth with low income.
620 Euro – Dormitory
650 Euro – Shared room
680 Euro – Single room
We have three scholarships available for young people and those that really cannot afford the price. If you are in a true need of a scholarship please let us know and we will select from the applicants.
Cancellation Policy :
This course requires a minimum of 13 participants. We ask people to book and pay the deposit of 100 Euro before 5th August 2018. As soon as the minimum number of 13 participants is reached we will confirm that the course will take place. In case there are not enough participants signing up, we will announce the cancellation of the program by 9th August latest. If Gaia Ashram has to cancel the program, the paid deposit of 100 Euro will be fully refunded.
In case a participant cancels his or her participation in the program, the deposit of 100 Euro can not be refunded.
Facilities: Gaia Ashram provides basic facilities and the basic needs of participants will be met.
Accommodation: Dormitory, shared rooms and single rooms. Mosquito nets, cushions, bedding and blankets are provided.
Common Space for sessions: Indoor session will be held at the first floor of Gaia Sala & the Mini-Sala and practical session will be happening on the land, in nature.
Toilet and Shower: compost toilets and showers for men and women.
Internet: Internet Shop in the next village is usually available everyday. We have a few bicycles available. We will provide trip to internet on Sundays.
Food: Healthy local vegetarian & vegan food will be served by local cooks. Participants will team up to cook breakfast in turns and on Sundays there is the space for participants to also cook lunch and diner.
Gaia Ashram’s policy on drugs & alcohol
We allow no alcohol or drugs on the Gaia Ashram property. We ask people to smoke at the smoking corner only. This will help to provide healthy environment for learning and living together for one month. We encourage people to take this one month as an opportunity to have a break from their smoking or drinking.
Any further information you need about this course, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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”