CA Mirroring the Four Shields of Human Nature: The Art of Story Telling and Listening
Telling one’s own story is an ancient art. Nowadays, we have forgotten how to listen and how to tell. Yet the very survival of our species depends on our ability to communicate with each other in such ways as to be mutually enriched by the telling and the listening. If we cannot tell with expression, our life is mute. If we cannot listen like a mirror, we cannot reflect back the wholeness of the four shields — the body, soul, mind and spirit of the teller. The best stories are about human nature — that is, the human of us which is, after all, nature in her basic manifestations as physical, psychical, rational, and spiritual. One of the best ways to create a four shields story, if not the best, is to put people in contact with nature in the raw.
What comes forth in the story is the stuff of self-transformation. Even as we “myth” ourselves into experience, so we express ourselves into existence. Our stories about our natural selves, and our means of expressing them, lead us to courage, determination, commitment, hope, wisdom, and the will to survive, to transcend the difficulty, to go beyond ourselves. Those of us who work with people must know how to listen and respond to the stories our people tell, so that we can help them create a life that is deeper, richer, and of greater benefit to our community and the earth.
Time and Location: We will be camping at Baker Creek Camp ground in Big Pine, California near the foothills of the Eastern Sierras. The landscape offers many walking trails as well as beautiful areas to find solitude that are easily accessible by foot or car. We encourage people to arrive on Saturday September 26 to set up your campsite and have time to land and get acquainted with the land. We will begin at 10AM Sunday September 27th and our intention is to end by 3:30 on Friday October 2nd. The campground offers vault toilets and there are picnic tables at each site with a stream that runs through the campground.
The School makes no provisions for meals and encourages you to come prepared to live self- sufficiently. There will be a simple kitchen set-up available with cooking utensils, pots and pans and drinking water. Two camp stoves and a wash station will also be in place. We will provide you with a complete equipment list once you have registered. You will need to bring shelter and suitable clothing for a full range of weather. A note to those with medical or physical limitations: all activities undertaken will be non-strenuous and our emphasis is always on “safety first.”
Humans need stories — grand compelling stories — that help to orient us in our lives in the cosmos. The Epic of Evolution is such a story, beautifully suited to anchor our search for planetary consensus, telling us of our nature, our place, our context. Moreover, responses to this story — what we are calling religious naturalism — can yield deep and abiding spiritual experiences. And then, after that, we need other stories as well, human-centered stories, a mythos that embodies our ideals and our passions. This mythos comes to us, often in experiences called revelation, from the sages and the artists of past and present times.
Additional course details & Materials
Program logistics explain location requirements, including meeting locations, start and end locations.
You will be responsible for bringing your own food and equipment, though we can provide some gear if needed. We ask everyone to come prepared to live self-sufficiently. You will need to bring shelter and clothing suitable for a full range of inclement weather.
To address safety concerns during the pandemic, please contact us regarding our current Coronavirus protocols as well as any current travel restrictions. These protocols may affect how you are able to travel to the program. Please note: As of May 2023 there are no longer any vaccination requirements for international travellers seeking entry to the USA.
Needed for full benefit of the program. Reading lists should be completed a week before the program begins
Land Acknowledgements explain location and acknowledgements, including any location specific requirements to tribal, federal, or state jurisdictions.
To learn more about our commitment to regenerative relationships please visit Cultural Relations.