Magical Moments – Adults & Nature

Magical Moments – Adults & Nature

by Thomas Albers - Agnes van den Berg - Femke Beute

Anatta Foundation Nature for People LightGreen Health

Abstract Theoretical and empirical analysis of adults’ competencies to make a spiritual connection with nature

Magical Moments

Theoretical and empirical analysis of adults’ competencies to make a spiritual connection with nature



This report focuses on adults who wish to live in closer harmony with nature. It was written as part of a European Union co-funded project under the Erasmus+
programme, aiming to strengthen adults’ connection to nature through a mobile
phone app and a training programme.

To effectively address this goal, it is necessary to clearly understand what nature
connection entails and the competencies that contribute to its development. While adults’ nature connection is less explored compared to children’s, this report provides an initial framework to address this gap. A framework helps organize ideas, providing a foundation for thinking, communicating, and acting. It informs the development of the project’s mobile app and training programme.

This report presents the development of a theoretical framework for adults to
connect with nature, along with a questionnaire to monitor progress in making this connection. The overarching goal is to develop a competency model that empowers adults to make meaningful connections with nature, culminating in the creation of an app tailored to support and enhance this connection.


Magical Moments

There are three distinct categories of spiritual encounters with nature, identified as magical moments of enrapture, empathy, and exaltation. For each of these magical moments we give some examples in the form of personal experiences and we also identify the competencies conducive to the cultivation of these moments.


The experience of enrapture resembles lucid dreams, where sensory perception intensifies, akin to life unfolding in slow motion. During magical moments of enrapture, sensory faculties heighten, fostering an intensified sense of presence and openness to alternate realities. Enrapture transcends mere sensory perception, inviting individuals to immerse themselves fully in the present moment, where the boundaries between self and surroundings blur.


Magical moments of empathy underscore the sense of human interconnectedness with all living beings, emphasizing the idea of ‘we are nature’. This encompasses recognizing every living entity’s right to exist, whether it is a wasp buzzing nearby, the comforting presence of a purring cat, or the fulfilment of tending to one’s own garden. During such moments, individuals feel intimately connected to all life forms, realising their equality with other beings.


During moments of exaltation, also known as awe, individuals experience a profound sense of humility, realising their insignificance within the vastness of the universe. Their thoughts ascend to contemplate a grander plan that may lie beyond their immediate comprehension. They also perceive themselves as part of something greater than themselves, often accompanied by a thrilling edge as they venture into unknown territory. This mixture of positive and negative emotions may initially tilt towards negativity, but ultimately, the positive prevails.


These experiences entail deep sensory immersion, a sense of interconnectedness with all living beings, and profound humility in the face of the vastness of the universe, often sparked by interactions with trees and other natural elements. We then addressed the obstacles obstructing the establishment of a connection with nature in contemporary society, including fears, societal norms, and the allure of technology.
Recognizing the benefits of spiritual nature connection, we presented Spiritual
Nature Intelligence (NQ-spirit) as a competency-based approach to fostering nature connectedness tailored for adults. We also introduced a daily nature spirituality test, developed to assess individuals’ spiritual connection with nature. Insights from a large-scale survey shed light on gender and age differences in daily nature spirituality and the potential influence of daily engagement with nature in a spiritual manner on subjective happiness.



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