Nowadays most people have lost the balance between their feeling and thinking faculties. Society demands us to sacrifice our inner abilities in order to maintain our materialistic lifestyle. As a result, we have become detached from Nature, and we have somehow acquired the arrogance to perceive ourselves as its rightful owners. This is known as the anthropocentric worldview, which most people have adopted without critical thought, as we are taught to do so by previous generations. We no longer know any better. Somehow most people seem to believe we are the biological center of the world as a species, and that all that is in it was meant to serve us. Today, nearly all abilities that once allowed us to perceive Nature and our role in the natural balance and order, have been suppressed and subdued by the unnatural rational tendencies we learn in modern civilized society. We live in a society that stimulates striving for money as a goal in itself, which is ridiculous from an ecological and spiritual/holistic point of view. A society in which it is considered to be normal to put the acquisition of personal material wealth as the main reason for “being”, rather than spiritually pure forms of motivation. A society in which egocentrism flourishes, as everything in the world is perceived to be in existence to serve us.
Even when we strive to resolve manmade environmental problems, most of us do not consider other forms of life. It is agreed that we should preserve Earth for future generations, our children. Notice how egocentric this is. We want to preserve Earth. But not for the benefit of the planet and all other species on it, but only for ourselves. We have forgotten our place. The preservation of our planet and the life on it should be a goal in itself. To regain and subsequently maintain the harmonious balance we once knew to keep flawlessly, simply by performing our ecological function. These are all symptoms that point to a fundamental and potentially fatal imbalance. Our ego has become overdeveloped, and it is no longer in balance with our inner self. It is the overdeveloped ego that “wants” for material things, for no other reason than “wanting” them. The ego that wants to be the “first” in line in a queue, just to be “first”. The ego that “screams” and does not allow its owner to simply “listen”. Such an ego should be subdued, and put back into balance with the inner self. As giving in to such addictive patterns only amounts to feeding the ego even further, constituting a feedback loop progressively going from bad to worse. Today, we seem to live in an egosystem, rather than in an ecosystem.
It is so healthy for a multitude of reasons, to simply disconnect from the ego a little bit, to restore the balance between the mind and the heart. To learn to perceive Nature from the heart again. We all knew how to do it once. But we have forgotten, due to our busy lives and stuffed agendas, our neurotic tendency to not live in the “now”, but always either in the past or several days, weeks and even months into the future. That is not “living”. It is being “consumed”. Just like we consume products, society is a consumer that consumes us, as products. Peter’s course puts you right back in touch with your intuitive faculties, and you will remember what it was like to “know” Nature. To really “feel” where you “are”. You will experience things that will strike you as miraculous at first, only to realize later that the inner abilities uncovered by his exercises, were already inside of you. They lay dormant, only to be awoken once more, simply by being close to and attuning yourself to Nature. Moreover, Peter and Erica are incredibly sweet people, doing everything to make sure you are well taken care of.
In my opinion, a course in Nature Awareness should be mandatory for all people that live in modern industrialized societies. For example, as part of an educational curriculum for children, or adults all the same. This should be a part of your general development as a person, to put you back in touch with Nature and your heritage. It will expand your awareness in ways you hadn’t even begun to suspect, and it can put you on a path toward living a more balanced and healthy lifestyle, rather than being consumed by unhealthy addictive and egocentric patterns. Hence, individuals that have completed this course may also be enabled to contribute to a more healthy society as a whole, as all change starts with yourself. Obtaining Nature Awareness is an invaluable lesson of Life, sorely needed in these times of spiritual desolation.
Menno Mandemaker (PhD).
I wanted to thank you for a very illuminating and enriching weekend in the top forest near Ringwood Waldorf school. It certainly awakened a fledgling awareness of the tracker in me, which I hope to develop over time.
It really surprised me that I felt so revitalised after the weekend - which was quite intense in some ways. I hadn’t spent that much time outdoors in a long time and it reminded me how important it is to spend time in the natural world.
I look forward to reading your e-book - recapping and practising some of the techniques we learned.
This course (Nature Awareness) is an extraordinary experience that can change your life. It is not based on a leap of faith but on practical exercises that help you reach a state of natural consciousness. You'll feel more present, centered and open; your senses will improve and you'll pick subtle scent, hear imperceptible sounds and colors will be more vibrant But you'll not only notice small details, you'll be even more aware of the bigger picture making better decisions in your work and personal life. Now, at the end of the course, I find that I can easily enter this state of consciousness and increase its duration. Sometimes it happens that I slip out of the state but it is easy to realize it and return to the natural state.
The course includes many exercises to be done between chats, so plan to have free time for the activities because it can change your life only if you practice and integrate it with your daily life. Peter will help you in every possible way, explaining, telling stories and anecdotes, giving directions and references (even after the end of the course) but you've to commit yourself and practice every day.
Sandro Ponticelli, Italy
I had the privilege of taking this course last spring. Having taken 6 of Tom Brown Jrs classes in the Pine Barrens I found the course an awesome tool to stay in touch with my inner and outer tracking. I find awareness to be the most important skill not only in outdoor life but in life in general. Beeing able to meet likeminded people online to discuss the different awareness task given by Peter was an awesome learning experience. Peter has done great work in preparing this class and his work on the handouts is really impressive. The PDF alone is worth the money! Finding the time to do dirt time is always a challenge, doing this class is a great reminder and boost to spend more time outdoors in a busy life.
I highly recommend this class for all people from all walks of life! If you have your mind set on becoming a good outdoorsman this class is essential. It lays a foundation on which all other primitive and life skills rest.
Randy Gunnar Lange Ecologist and owner of Ravn naturveiledning. Oslo Norway
Hello, In September I joined the e-course Nature Awareness I. Instructor was Peter Friebel of Varavild. Peter lives in Sweden with his wife Erica and a pack of sled dogs. I met him once in a beautiful Swedisch winter landscape. I like to give you a little review. Because at first I hesitated and thought, this course brings it something new for me? Because as an ecologist, I already have so much knowledge of nature. And as an dedicated bushcrafter I have a lot of experience with primitive living and followed many courses for that. But ofcourse it was my ego speaking, and afterwards I'm very glad I joined this course. Because this is not a standard bushcraft course. It's not about how to survive in the wilderness, using large knives and a lot of gear to fight against the elements. Not at all. It goes far beyond that. It is more how to become one with nature, in a way of coming home and at feeling at ease. Learn to be present in nature with your full attention and awareness. With the maximum use off your senses in combination with an open mind. You learn to look differently in a way you see more in nature, the big connections but also the smallest details. You practice to be present in nature on a silent mode and in the rhytm of nature itselfs. Animals shows themselves earlier and exhibit more natural behavior. A way of being present our natural ancestors probably also did. This is an enormous enrichment for your bushcraft and survival skills. Peter calls this 'lifting the veil'.
The course lasts four weeks and takes quite some time. You get a reader with explanations and lots of exercises. Twice a week you have a chat with Peter and other participants. The chats are going a bit fast and for me as an Dutchman it was sometime hard to follow and also to express myself. But Peter was patient and helpful. He has tremendous knowledge of this matter and can explain it in a good way with fine examples. The exercises are also very nice and easy to practice in a nature area in your own neighborhood. For me it is obvious; if you really want to understand nature, then you have to connect with it. This course helps you with that and is really an eye opener.
Johan Mees, Stichting Bushcraft
Natural Awareness is both natural but not common nowadays in my experience. I work as a psychotherapist and am constantly amazed at how little people are aware of in themselves and around them, but how easy it is to wake it up, and what a profoundly useful effect it has. I have trained in various ways to become more aware over the years. I recently took the online course and found it very helpful both personally and professionally. Peter has clearly spent a lot of time investigating how to frame things very clearly and then help people to have direct experience of the things he is talking about. This course is a chance to open your ears, eyes, senses and mind in a way that will benefit you for years to come.
The course was amazingly eyeopening regarding to it being an e-course! It's strange that i can get so inspired by chatting with people i've never met. Nature Awareness gave me tools that were really simple, therefore i would say this course is really good for those who wanna try bushcraft for the first time, but also for the ones who already have experience. I learned so much from this even though i had taken several bushcraft courses before.
One thing Peter is really good at is sharing stories, personal or ones that he has picked up from other people. That teaches me a lot because i can almost always relate to experiences instead of having somebody say "this is how it is!".
He asks the questions that make you ask questions to yourself, there's an open dialogue in the chat's and he is a master at making sure that his teachings is never is one-sided, always lot's of perspectives involved. He rarely give's straight answers but answers your question with another question.
The course covers a lot of cool things like awakening all senses and learning to use them all in tracking and being in nature. It helps me lot in my daily life when i'm not out in the woods, makes me feel more calm and grounded. Being aware of smells, how the food tastes and using my touch to navigate in the woods. It really wakes you up! Learning to live with nature and not on it is a big part of the teachings in Nature Awareness. You will forget you've learned all this stuff from a chat group because it is taught so good!
I highly recommend the course entitled Nature Awareness e-course 1 of the VaraVild Bushcraft School of Tracking, Nature Awareness & Primitive Living to anyone who, like me, would like to embark on a truly enlightening voyage of self discovery through a walk in the woods!
The course’s depth and breadth are tailored to those who wonder about all that nature has to offer to our personal development. The lessons are easy to understand and bring what might appear to be complex issues within our easy reach. The exercises, which are designed to accommodate the participants' comprehension and awareness levels, enhance our class interactions that develop into meaningful discussions which illuminate and respond to many of the same questions and experiences that so many of us share around the world.
Peter's easy and respectful manner along with his extensive knowledge and deep appreciation of our natural world allow you to feel comfortable to actively participate during classes. Together as a group, we learn more about how to view and live life from a different and more natural perspective. Among other benefits, what I derived from the course was a way to better understand and more satisfyingly contribute to important relationships in my life as well as how to gain more satisfaction from everyday life.
Peter Friebel is a wonderful teacher and I am glad I decided to take this "trip" with him as it has enriched my outlook and regard for nature which has always brought me a wealth of enjoyment, wonder and fascination since childhood.
Thank you for these quite intensive but interesting weeks. Since we have done some Tracker courses before, this Awareness experience was not new for us. The aim for our part was to use this course to maintain, train and develop our previous experiences, So the expectations we had for this course is very fulfilled.
Doing these Group chats on FB was a new experience for both of us. The feeling about this after our first chat was that it was very unpersonal, not to see the others, only by words on the computer. But this changed after the second chat when the personal feeling started to appear, and after this chat it was a pleasant feeling every time.
Doing this kind of course by the internet could be tricky if the course leader want to see if the students really have reached and got in touch with the "feeling" in the exercises, but I think you managed that well. It is good to have all these exercises on print now, because when opportunities appear there will always be some exercises to do. Once you have started this journey and got into the "feeling", you don´t want to stop.
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