Over the past two years, the Findhorn Ecovillage has been consulting with two 8 Shields specialists, Deborah Benham & Rooth Cuthbertson exploring how the teachings of the 8 Shields Institute could be incorporated into the Findhorn College’s ‘Whole-Community Education’ portfolio. This autumn Findhorn College will run a training inspired by the 8 Shields Institute called ‘Regenerating Community Culture‘.
In this article, Jon Young shares his reflections with Findhorn College about the original impulse that lead him to co-found the 8 Shields Institute.
When I first started dreaming into a new way forward for humanity, I was motivated by a desire to facilitate a deeper sense of ecological concern in those around me.
Nearly 40 years since then, my awareness and understanding have grown, and the vision of the 8 Shields Institute along with it. Nowadays the 8 Shields Institute has a big mission: to bring the benefits of Connection to everyone who needs them, no matter where they are. Along the way, I have developed relationships with people, around the world, who believe that every person has the birthright to flourish surrounded by a loving community of people who mutually support each other to have health, happiness, vitality, meaning, purpose, hope, empathy, and caring. The 8 Shields Institute is co-building a global network that values Connection and sees the power of designing positive cultures which support Connection anywhere and everywhere; strengthening individuals and families; (re)building Connected communities and community networks.
If you’re reading this, you are probably already engaged with and continually interested in doing ‘good work’ in the world. I’m grateful that you are. I’m incredibly thankful for all the people who are involved with projects aiming to change the world in a positive way, either regionally, or with a focus on families, or specific organizations. To me, this represents an amazing blossoming of creativity and brilliance happening in recent years. It inspires me and fills me with hope. There are big challenges we face. Several prominent authors have broadly described three major ‘divides’ – an ecological divide, a socio-economic divide, and a spiritual-cultural divide.
At the 8 Shields Institute, we see these divides rising out of an epidemic of disConnection, which as you know did not start recently. It is a legacy of multiple generations of social displacement from conquest and colonization, and many unmet needs for healing. This has led to widespread disConnection from nature and from each other, both as individuals and as a global family. Many of us people in modern times experience this disConnection from our own senses of meaning, belonging, value, and well-being. At the 8 Shields Institute, we ask: How can we address this reality, and increase Connection?
At this time, we believe we need everyone to activate their gifts and work together on finding solutions to these challenges.
I look forward to seeing how Findhorn College’s ‘Regenerating Community Culture‘ course continues to strengthen connections between the 8 Shields Institute and Findhorn Ecovillage.