Meditation and Stress
Built into the principles of ecosophy schools is a fundamental conflict with a proviso that there will be education to cope with this conflict. There is a basic assumption underwriting the whole process of this educational philosophy, ecosophy, if we do not attempt to make new generations aware of the importance of living according to Nature the conflicts that they will be involved in will be far more severe.

There is also an additional recognition of one of the realities of living in western society, and that is there is stress. Contemporary education does not examine this although areas of potential stress are touched on in personal and social education.

Ecosophy schools take their position on stress based on two positions:-

Type I - There is personal stress if a person follows a path that is far from the Natural Path.

Type II - There is personal stress if the personal path is far from society's path.

Putting it simplistically, ecosophy schools hope to eliminate most of type 1, and give you mechanisms for dealing with Type II. Significant in this is a basic understanding that if a person is close to their Natural Path then they are happier, if they are happier it will be easier to deal with Type II stress.

As is clear from the title the tool for dealing with stress is meditation. What is meditation? Elsewhere I will look at the religious context but here I wish to consider meditation as Nature's tool for harmonising with Nature. Clearly if that description of meditation applies then meditation is fundamental to success in Ecosophy schools, fundamental to following the Natural Path. Following the Natural Path is not an action discernible by intellect, but if people are in harmony with Nature then so are their actions. I accept that there is an element of tautology in this description, but those who meditate can hopefully accept it and those that don't will find many holes in Ecosophy schools for their children.

What do we hope to gain from the meditation to help stress?

Concerning Type I stress, meditation will help you find the Natural Path so this stress is basically eliminated.

Concerning Type II stress, this is more difficult. Fundamentally the nearer you are to your Natural Path the further you are likely to be from society's path. This means that the "better educated you are ecosophically" the greater the potential for stress. However being aware of the causes of the stress can enable you to develop strategies to counter it. If as a teacher you take a job in a profit-making school as opposed to an ecosophy school, then you know there will be problems. You will then have to measure educational success in their terms - presumably exam passes, and you cannot have any false ideals about the level of "self-realising education".

Meditation can take many forms some of which are directly religious. The meditations used will be at the teacher's discretion but in line with 3 meditation principles:-

1) Focussing on the Breath - Insight breathing

2) Uniting with Nature.

3) Meditation as relaxation - removing physical stress

Insight breathing The first technique is similar to the technique we used in Study Skills - the exam breath (calmdown). But instead of using it as a mechanism for calming the mind to help with exams, the purpose is a calm mind and tranquil heart that will lead to Insight.

Unity with Nature The meditation on Nature I used asked me to imagine myself on a desert island. After lying there completely relaxed, I was then asked to merge my consciousness with a bird, the sun's rays, the wind, and eventually to forget who I was lying there, and just be a part of everything around me. There was no I, just one with Nature.

Meditation as Relaxation Despite best plans and education, life will produce physical stress, and this physical stress can eventually lead to illness. In a meditative posture, perhaps better than lying down, with regular breathing relax each part of the body one by one releasing the tension into the air.

Meditation and Religion

Meditation is often used by monks and sages within religions, but is often falsely considered by lay people to be beyond them. The above meditations are not of a religious faith however, intentionally so. Meditation is a tool of Nature, we are born with it. Meditation and the Natural Path does not contradict any doctrine, and we would hope to invite experienced religious practitioners to explain their doctrines so that students would have the opportunity to learn from those who believe.