Published December 2, 2016
A Rumination on Relevant Education and Great Teachers (part five)
We are not rejecting the many gifts of our ancestors, nor are we blotting out our future possibilities and hopes for this world. But, if we, as educators, help our students, whoever they may be, to live fully into this very moment, mutual love and respect for all life would shine penultimately throughout our communities and all our existence on this planet earth. We want a life of majesty, mercy, compassion and love. How can we get this? We know that the ideas of wholeness and unity provide a key. By incorporating them as meaningful goals real healing takes place and our human nature is allowed to emerge and come to full expression.
When an osteopath follows a bone to another bone to an organ to a lymph node, and feels his or her way to the source of imbalance, he or she is constantly unwinding inhibiting nodes along the way. The osteopath seeks only the natural, underlying rhythm and wisdom of the body. He or she does not cut parts out that don’t seem to be working. He or she lets live what lives within the patient and simply helps to remove the obstacles that wall up the essential unity and logic of the body’s architecture and physiological flow. Whole learning seeks the same path. “To lead out”, to allow the process of learning to hit its own stride, to find true communion and brethren amongst other learners along the path.
Observation is the Key
The deepest learning lies in the center of the heart, the place that lives into the moment unconditionally. From the heart comes love and from love comes unity. Yet it is not an easy task to love in a hostile environment. Our mind connives to talk us out of it. This is why we need a teacher. All throughout history the relationship between teacher and student has been the most important relationship on this earth. Without teachers a student cannot truly learn. How do we learn fine and gross motor skills, sensory awareness, morality, symbols and patterns? How do we learn to reason? This is what our mothers, our first teachers, impart to us. The teacher mirrors us, calls us to task, breaks down walls of lethargy and fear. The teacher takes us beyond our small selves and helps us to answer the calling of our hearts. Without a teacher we may learn this and that, we may devise ways to do, but the reality is that without the proper training and reflection we continue to mastermind illusion upon illusion and eventually the house caves in, the structure cannot support its own weight, the foundation cracks and tumbles. We have seen this process destroy individuals and civilizations alike.
Mastery is the prerequisite of teaching anyone. This requires a lot of personal work. Grace may descend on the chosen few, but grace does not descend if the soil hasn’t been properly prepared or if the fruit is rotting on the vine. Grace lies within one’s preparation. Many people aspire to become teachers. Some want to work with elementary school students and some want to become college physics professors. Some train in corporate settings and some find themselves in the position of teaching simply out of circumstance. In fact, we are all teachers at some point in our lives, whether it is working with our children or helping a friend fix her car, inviting others over our house to walk in the garden, or leading a Permaculture course in some remote area of Africa. We all teach and we are all students. Although the principles of whole learning were developed with educators and teachers in mind, people from all walks of life may draw considerable benefit from these principles that can act as a springboard toward another’s personal awareness.
We are always learning. We are always teaching. Even as we sleep dreams come and reveal another small corner of a personal universe to us. Whenever we come into contact with the “other” (and we do this in every breathing moment) there is a synthesis and relationship, taking place. Change happens. Each moment is different. In each moment we learn if we are observant. Learning is built into us. It is universal. If change is always present learning is always present. The obstacle that lies between our ability to “see” the change or to live into our learning is well worth defining. There is nothing more important than coming into this kind of awareness. We have a choice here: we can resist or humble ourselves. We can fight or merge. But we need help. We need to be educated. The teacher is the most important being for us in this quest.
Our students must be able to disseminate to others the truth that lives in the very core of their souls and help others to answer important questions about life and death. The spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects of our being would become balanced, one with the other, fraught with the juice of life and learning and love. The awareness of the natural world and its care and protection would take on real meaning. As a result of this the whole person would receive the nurturing touch of the artist as teacher, the teacher as artist. Both students and teachers would blossom and spread the beauty of their inner vision and understanding abroad, always remembering that all creatures are divinely created and inspired and that human birth is a blessing to be cherished. Human life is a living, breathing, loving jewel simply waiting to be beveled into a work of art. Where is the teacher that can shape the jewel?
We are a spiritually impoverished society. We are caught in a never-ending repetition of hankering after money, goods, prestige and power. Yet we disempower our children and students by not recognizing that the whole, balanced human being is the healthier, and therefore, the most productive and creative human being, from a personal as well as a social standpoint. The major problem is that through our scientific perspective of specialization, the electronic media deluge and our capitalist values, we are driving our ecosystems to catastrophic ruin. In the realm of Permaculture, care of earth, care of people, and benevolent distribution of yields are paramount. Where would we be as a culture if we were to pay heed to these essential ideas?
We are subject to outbreaks of seemingly unstoppable violence, rape, child molestation, cruelty and unwarranted suffering and pain. Our racial and class biases, gender prejudices and ego separation are so built-in that to change our attitudes will take something of a major revolution. We are in a state of denial as we head toward the precipice of environmental collapse. Take a look around- I mean, really, take a look around. Take a look inside the mind and heart. Observe closely. Where are we really? Is this a problem worth solving? Are there solutions? The only way for us to stop the juggernaut is through an intense re-education of society at large. This can only be accomplished at a local level, where small groups take instruction, where lives mingle and merge in a manageable scale, where lines of communication are kept open, as a healthy ecosystem. Instruction is the key to get us deeper into ourselves, to take a solid look at where we’ve been, where we are in the present and where we want to go.