I like to sleep...

I like to sleep.  Give me some sunlight; a small pool like a cat or dog would find indoors on a hazy, cold winter’s day with the sun creeping into the room through the cold glass of a frosted window.  Give me some sunlight; in a garden, on a station platform, anywhere in February in India with a sun that penetrates the bones and thaws out the damp cold of an English winter so that I take off my open sandals and let the soles of my feet touch the soul of the earth: thawing out the cold reserve of an Englishman.  Eyes close and breathing deepens by a Grecian sea and the clarity of the water washes through the mind with soft movement over the gentle stones.  Eyes close and breathing deepens with the breeze in the trees and the birds calling and the beguiling sound of a bird of prey wheeling on the warm currents of the summer air over the fields near the cottage we are calling home for the time being.  Maybe I can die like this – eyes close, breathing deepens and then it is finished, only the sunlight and life.  But we do not choose our birth and with great difficulty may we choose our death.

To be connected to nature, in fact to acknowledge that we are inextricably part of nature, is to be alive.  Watch and listen and learn.  Watch the people walking in the city moving from their certainty and their despair.  Watch the bees that buzz and hum around the clover in the grass, and listen to them.  Learn from the leaf that dances in the wind.  But we don’t….  Instead we like to kill.  To kill the animal whose bloodied flesh we burn and eat with perverted sensory satisfaction; to kill the animal in the name of sport so that we can enjoy a sense of fulfilment; and to kill each other to further our greed, our hatred and to seek some hiding place from our fear.  Steadily all this killing seeps into our consciousness and we see it as a normal way of living in our insane world.

I like to sleep in nature.  Not in some box rising halfway up to the sky or dug deep into the ground.  There are creatures out at night searching and snuffling, surviving and seeking; they are nearby and I can hear them.  There are people out in the towns at night vomiting, shouting, urinating and stumbling, I have heard them nearby and I don’t sleep well.

To educate the spirit is to learn in nature, with nature and from nature.  There has been much written recently about children and their disconnection from nature; not just children, but adults as well, and apparently there is research that has shown the beneficial effect that even a walk in the park can have on the psychological well-being of the individual.  Educators in India in the 20th Century such as Tagore and Krishnamurti had the love of nature in their very being and this comes through in their writing, transcriptions of their talks and the legacy of the schools they have founded.  Now we have Forest Schools, Rewilding projects, and many other calls for reconnection, but there still dominates a sense that humanity is apart from nature, not a part of the natural world.  If humanity remains separated from nature then we are lost.

I have begun work on exploring  learning, education, nature and the human mind.  There is in this an interesting paradox, for to be connected to nature means that the individual goes beyond her or himself, and this connection is beyond the limitation of words.  So how can this exploration be expressed?