As I look back over my life trajectory I see an enormous amount of time sitting in chairs at desks trying to learn about the known and unknown of Life. Not to brag, rather to lament, I earned four graduate degree sitting with those chairs and desks. The ‘real learning’ however did not take place there. It took place in the fields of experience that touched the love for learning and understanding in my body, mind, heart, and soul.
Many years ago Wordsworth famously expressed that we come into this world from a ‘paradisiacal condition,’ an undifferentiated, objectless consciousness that meditation pursues. I sense the truth in this and also realize that even though most adults have no consciousness of it, it is our fundamental condition and our true inner home. It’s about Being and we yearn for it. How much of this is taught in our institutions and homes?
What would happen if we would see and feel and know that every child born into this world is as pure as a flower that begins to open, rather than with the toxic mentality of seeing them as products to mold, shape, and condition to fulfill our own misguided dramas? What if we decided that every child born was here as a teacher of the inner ways of being and becoming as well as a student of doing and not doing?
I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from our five year old grandson who we’ve spent significant time with every week since he was born. One day recently, after he’d fastened himself in his car seat and his mom, our daughter, was preparing to pull out of the driveway, he put his window down and motioned for me to come over. He puckered up and kissed me. In an epiphany moment I said, “Atom, you’re one of my mentors.”
He queried, “What’s a mentor?” I replied, “It’s a teacher. You’re one of my teachers and I’m one of your teachers.” His face glowed with a radiant smile. “I’m one of your teachers?” “Yes you are!” As the window closed he blew kisses to me and I back to him. The car pulled out of sight while I imagined my grandfather telling me I was a teacher for him. What that would have meant to me as a boy is indescribable. How about you?
I’m concerned about what we’re teaching and not teaching each other. I’m concerned that what’s real and essential to life is being lost and replaced with distractions, data, and disconnection. We’re losing our awareness of what’s felt, what’s thought, and what truly Is. To educate for wholeness and well-being is a start. Awareness, self-knowledge, care, lovingkindness, freedom of expression, and unlearning can go a long way.
We can’t wait for the institutions, for others. The change must begin here, now, with you and me. It’s about inspiring learners and enlightening lives. It’s about who we are . . .