The Course

Welcome to Finding Our Way

A quest for personal & planetary well-being.

We are a team of people who want to help others find comfort, peace and tranquilly in this murky but wonderful world!

Introduction to the course:

The global challenges of climate change and ecological breakdown demand unprecedented changes to human systems. Incremental adjustments to the status quo are insufficient, prompting calls for a fundamental transformation in the way we live. However, significant barriers to change exist within social, economic, political and personal power structures, leading to cultural inertia and resistance to change.

To address these challenges, we turn to Transformational Learning (TL), a field that explores the process and practice of personal transformation at an individual level and designed a course combining transformative practices and content. Framed through the ancient Chinese tradition of the Five Elements of nature and the teachings of Buddhism, the course aims to be transformational on multiple fronts and deepen people’s connection to nature.

The context of the research aligns with the understanding of deep leverage points. The “Iceberg Model” illustrates that observable events are only surface manifestations of deeper patterns and mental models or paradigms that underlie societal structures. These paradigms are largely unquestioned assumptions about reality, acquired through cultural conditioning and personal experiences. They serve as information processing shortcuts that aid survival in a complex world but can hinder adaptation to rapid changes.

The challenge of unlearning involves overcoming cognitive resistance to change. Deeply held beliefs trigger “edge emotions,” leading individuals to reject conflicting information and return to a state of certainty and comfort. Cognitive processes, driven by the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC), play roles in this defense mechanism. Cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias and loss-aversion bias, further contribute to maintaining personal status quo.

Recent research in the fields of Transformational Learning and Inner Transformation offers promising ways forward. Explicitly teaching about cognitive dissonance and edge emotions can raise awareness and disarm automatic defenses. Techniques like mindfulness, compassion practices, embodied learning, and nature connection extend individuals’ tolerance for discomfort, facilitating change.

The researchers propose transcending paradigms as the ultimate leverage point. Stepping outside one’s cultural paradigm allows for new perspectives and opportunities for transformation. The course aims to present Five Element nature connection, embodied knowing, and meditation practices authentically from their respective cultures, offering evidence-based tools to cope with uncertainty and increase mental and physical resilience.

China, as the oldest existing civilization, provides a rich source of scholarship and teachings. Its ancient world view shares commonalities with other traditions, emphasizing reverence for nature, interconnectedness, cardinal points, and elements. Chinese culture and thought, influenced by Buddhism since 265 BC, have a profound impact on individuals growing up in this paradigm. Understanding this cultural perspective becomes essential for building connections and fostering collaboration, given China’s increasing influence in global affairs.

The Five Elements, a simple and accessible concept, introduces systems theory and its relevance to sustainability issues. Unlike modern systems’ theory, Ancient Chinese views remain unbounded, offering a holistic understanding of nature and its interconnections. This ancient approach, applied to human health, illustrates the interconnectedness between humans and nature.

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