Reflections

Those associated with the Academy seek to inspire others with reflections on their own journey of self-transformation, and their understanding of some of the deeper principles that guide Human Values Education. Some of the reflections included here have been edited for length, and the authors’ names are not included. New reflections will be added when they become available.

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Year 2024

February

Responsibilities Before Rights:

You might already have noticed the ongoing cultural shift towards people claiming their ‘rights’ and privileges with a decreasing focus on their duties and responsibilities as students, workers and members of society. In the school situation, a recent interchange between teacher and student went something like this, after the student had been suspended from attending because of his extreme bullying behaviour and continuous disruption of the teacher’s well-prepared lessons:

Student: “You can’t suspend me for complaining about the poor quality of your teaching. I know my rights. I have a right to a good education, and I’m not getting one here.”

In this example, the boy was unaware of, or disregarding, his responsibilities as a student, one of which is to help create a classroom environment in which the teacher can teach and the students can learn. Only by exercising his responsibility in this regard does the student earn the ‘right’ to learn.

Taken across the whole spectrum of modern society, we can say that an increasing number of people have forgotten their responsibilities while they are struggling and fighting for their rights. For example, as a world society, we have been neglecting our duty to ensure that no child in the world ever goes to bed feeling hungry; we do not poison our rivers, oceans, lands and atmosphere; and that we treat all others as our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers of the one family of humanity.

Another real-life example is that of a mother who was complaining to the principal about the school suspending her 14-years-old son for his escalating violent outbursts of anger. She was insisting that, because he was so easily angered, it was the responsibility of the teacher and all of the other students to regulate their behaviour towards him so that he didn’t feel left out, criticised, impatient, useless or offended in any way. She said, “My son has a right to be able to come to school and not be upset by what others say and do.”

In this example we can see that the mother is totally unaware of her responsibility to teach her son that he is the sole cause of his anger and other disturbing feelings, and that it is his own closed heart and unbending expectations of others that leads inevitably to his feelings of rage and bitterness. Further, she has abandoned her duty as a parent to set a good example for her child in how to take responsibility for her own feelings, words and actions. She has knowingly taught her son to emulate her in blaming the world for all of their disturbed feelings. They are both caught up in the cultural drift towards demanding rights while having no regard for their own responsibilities.

Distaining those duties and responsibility which are an essential precursor to the rights and privileges we are struggling for is like insisting on getting a good mark in an examination paper without putting in any effort to learn the material; it’s like wanting to be sitting on the train to Melbourne without buying a ticket first. On a larger scale, insisting on our individual freedom and fundamental rights before even beginning to attend to our responsibilities and duties as citizens – with a sense of self-reliance and spirit of service to society and humanity at large – is like putting the cart before the horse. A fire cannot burn without a match first being struck; our hunger cannot be assuaged without first preparing and eating our meal.

Now the question is: What can we as character-based educators do to help students recognize the primacy of their duties and responsibilities over what they believe to be their rights and privileges? First in line of course is the example that we set for the children in the way that we attend diligently and sincerely to our own responsibilities as a teacher and as a citizen of the world. For example, if we do not respect each and every student, and their parents, how will they learn the importance of respecting their teachers and all of their classmates. With difficult, challenging or abusive students, we might feel at first that we, as the teacher, have a ‘right’ to be respected; but then, common sense and experience tell us that it is our respect for them (for their innate goodness or Godness) that is a prerequisite to our gaining respect from them.

Reflecting on what the duties of a teacher might be, we can turn to Thomas Lickona’s book, Character Matters, for the 14 guidelines he has outlined for responsible, quality teaching.
These include:

  • Teach as if excellence matters
  • Teach curriculum content as if character matters
  • Structure discussion as if character matters
  • Name the virtues needed to be a good student

In the same book we see that students can assess themselves regularly on a scale to identify their present level of competency in areas of personal and social responsibility, such as:

  • Practise organisational skills
  • Is enthusiastic about learning
  • Evaluates own learning
  • Accepts responsibility for own behaviour

Finally we can say that, if our future citizens can graduate from their schools, colleges and universities being less fixated on their ‘ rights’ , and instead more aware of their duties and responsibilities to all living beings and all else in Nature, there will be fewer catastrophes and all will feel more safe and secure.

Duty without love is deplorable.
Duty with love is desirable.

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Year 2023

December

Bringing forth the Treasure from Within

As you well know, the word ‘Educare’ in its oldest and purest form means, “to bring forth from within”. That is, true education – that which is ideal for the individual as well as society – is not the ‘filling of a pail’ as some have described most aspects of present-day education with its strict adherence to a state-mandated curriculum and testing regime. Rather, Educare begins with the recognition that children have already demonstrated outstanding learning abilities in the first five years of life, and that the most important role of the teacher is not to impart facts and figures, but rather to instil and guide the students in how to realize their full potential as wise and loving human beings.

The principles of Educare or Human Values Education are not new. They did not arise from recent findings of high-quality research into Values-based education by such notables as Terence Lovat, Neil and Jane Hawkes, Ron Toomey and Thomas Lickona. Far from that being the case, Educare has been promoted, championed and extolled by many luminaries over the ages.

This revolutionary view of the purpose of education was expressed powerfully and eloquently by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 – 1882), the well-known American essayist who lived in the USA at the time of Abraham Lincoln. He wrote:

We teach boys to be such men as we are. We do not teach them to aspire to be all they can be. We do not give them training as if we believed in their Noble nature. We scarce educate their bodies: We do not train the eye and the hand. We exercise their understanding to the apprehension and comparison of some facts, to a skill in numbers, in words; we aim to make accountants, attorneys, engineers; but not to make able, earnest, great-hearted men.

It would seem from Emerson’s words that nothing much has changed in the formal education system in the past 200 years. Then, as now, education pertains almost solely to the Head, neglecting the Heart from where alone spring human values such as compassion, forbearance, tolerance, truth, sacrifice and kindness. The principles of Human Values Education assert that it is not enough to be merely intelligent and clever. Rather, the graduating student will best serve themselves, their families and society if they are also in touch with a wisdom that flows from the Heart, seeking always to make use of what they have learned in school for helping those less fortunate than themselves.

Living and writing in the same era as Emerson were two other moral and literary giants: Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892) and Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862). Both of these men ‘dared to march to the beat of a different drum’, thereby setting an example for many in their own and future generations. Recognizing that schooling in general insists on students being moulded into a standard way of thinking that did not challenge society’s beliefs and assumptions, rather than be ‘free-thinkers’, Whitman urged children and adults alike to apply the litmus test of their own innate Wisdom in deciding what and how to think. He wrote:

Re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem…

The words of Walt Whitman remind us that, as teachers, we must speak always to the deepest and most innovative part of each child in such a way that they can remain open-minded, allowing them to decide for themselves how to think – for it is each one’s Heart that knows the ideal path for that person to follow in life.

Writing along the same lines as his friend Walt Whitman, Henry Thoreau was concerned that schooling in his time (as it is largely so today) slowly but steadily hacked away at the roots of a child’s natural curiosity and inclination to be the very best he/she can be. He wrote:

We are Nature’s way of looking at itself…
What does education often do! – it makes a strait cut ditch of a meandering brook.

In other words, our society would not be so locked into its dissatisfying, fear-driven conformity if we as teachers allowed our classrooms to be more like Nature: each child and teacher celebrating their own vibrant uniqueness while ensuring that we contribute to the wellbeing and flourishing of the whole.

Two hundred years after these three wise souls – Emerson, Whitman and Thoreau – pointed out the inadequacies of the prevailing education systems, little has changed. If anything, the exponential advance in the technologies and the popularisation of financial greed has cemented in the unfortunate belief that facts and figures must have priority over assisting our students to evolve into selfless, noble human beings.

Certainly, there is a growing awareness amongst educators of the importance of factors like emotional intelligence, mindfulness practices, anti-bullying programs and so on. But the priorities remain virtually intact: Teach and examine on these facts and figures so that the economy will flourish. Meanwhile the world is crying out for wise, caring and virtuous citizens along with leaders of exemplary character, to lead our society away from its present path of self-indulgence and self-destructiveness.

Given that those in positions of power and influence are unlikely to modify an education system dealing almost exclusively with worldly matters and entities, what steps can the Educare teacher take to ensure that – regardless of Naplan testing, excess paperwork and a packed, constricted syllabus – students are given the opportunity to flower as self-confident, innovative, compassionate, and talented human beings?

All of us have the ability to reflect and change so that we can evolve into such inspiring role models that our students (and parents and colleagues) will be inclined to follow our example of self-transformation, particularly when we cultivate our heart to grow in love for all.

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October

Values-based Education and Sustainable Development Goals

The best way to find yourself,
is to lose yourself in the service
of others. You must be the change
you want to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi

It can sometimes appear that the world has forgotten that our true nature is to be selfless,

humane and peace-loving, particularly when we think of the genocide in Gaza, the 5,600 young children dying every week from poor nutrition and hunger, the never-ceasing mass shootings in the USA, and so much more. And yet there remain lights up high that are shining in this darkest of nights, reminding us that the forces of goodness and love never sleep.

One such bright shining star is the United Nations which came into existence soon after the horrors of the Second World War. It is constantly looking for ways to unite the world in peace, compassion and harmony. Among their many global initiatives are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were agreed upon in 2015 as targets to aim at for 2030. The 17 SDGs are interdependent and based on loving concern for all peoples and the planet itself. They are truly wonderful, yet heart-breaking, while at the same time inspiring. Each one seems to have been worded in such a way that the five universal Human Values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-violence are being spelled out in a practical, visionary way. Those who would like to explore these Global Goals in depth can go to www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable.development.goals/ 

To give readers a sense of the heights that the 17 Goals are aiming towards, very brief descriptors for 3 of the goals are given below:

That, by 2030, every person will have access to free or affordable clean water and hygienic sanitation.

Goal No.1
No Poverty
That, by 2030, not one person will forced to live on less than $3.00 (USD) per day.
Goal No.4
Quality Education
That, by 2030, every child and adult will have access to free or easily affordable education at both primary and secondary school levels.
Goal No.5
Clean Water and Sanitation
That, by 2030, every person will have access to free or affordable clean water and hygienic sanitation

Teachers who are dedicated to implementing quality Values-based Education (VbE) will no doubt recognize how important it is for the United Nations’17 SDGs to be included as source material for the curriculum, wherever and whenever possible. When children learn that 2 billion people do not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, that 148 million children in 2022 had stunted growth, and that 45 million children under the age of 5 were affected by ‘wasting’, a sense of compassion, then altruism, then responsibility can be activated in more than a few.

There are many anecdotal reports on the internet of children even as young as 6 years who formed a determination to take up a noble cause. They might have seen a documentary (e.g. An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore) or been part of a school project exploring species extinction, the need for water wells in Sub-Sahara, or homelessness in their own country, and this would have been the catalyst for their innate higher qualities to come to the fore. 

When teachers and students discuss and reflect upon the Sustainable Development Goals, there can be a growing awareness that we are indeed One World One Family, and that we can no more ignore the desperate plight of others than the right hand can ignore the thorn embedded in the left hand.

We might ask, “Why is it so important for children to learn about SDGs in Values-based Education schools?” The answer is clear when we look at the inability or unwillingness of most adults to go through the change that Mahatma Gandhi is talking about at the start of this writing. It is difficult for adults to let go of fear-based, regressive habits of thinking and behaving, in the same way that an old tree cannot bend into a new shape without breaking whereas young saplings can easily adapt themselves to any new shape that is required of them. that is, the SDGs will most likely be brought into effect by our present-day school children, perhaps 30 to 50 years from now – 2030 is unlikely to see any significant change, with the great majority of our present political and business leaders showing nor signs of the necessary ‘awakening’. Our children are the future change-makers, both of themselves and of the world.

A child is a person who is going to carry on what you started. He is going to sit where you are sitting and, when you are gone, attend to those things which you think are important. You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on him. He will assume control of your cities, states, and nations. He is going to move in and take over your churches, universities, corporations. The fate of humanity is in his hands.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

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August

Love is the Answer

…love for a child in our profession is the flesh and blood of the educator as a force, capable of influencing the inner world of another person. A teacher without love for the child is like a singer without a voice, an artist with no sense of colour.

One cannot understand a child without loving him. All the outstanding educators of the past became torchbearers for educational culture, for humanity, primarily because they loved children.

Vasili Sukhomlinsky (1979)

In the essay, How to Love Children, quoted in Each One Must Shine: The Educational Legacy of V.A.Sukhomlinsky, (1999) by Alan Cockerill

These powerful guiding words for teachers are just a small sample of the works of Vasili Sukhomlinsky who was the most influential Soviet educator of his time in Ukraine during the 1960s and 1970s. The school of which he was the principal became an educational mecca visited by thousands of Soviet teachers. He was a prolific writer and his publications ran into millions of copies.

Perhaps more than any other reformist educator in the world at that time, Vasili Sukhomlinski insisted that the love shown by teachers to their students was the essential ingredient for an education that would profit not only the individual students but society as a whole. And it is pertinent to remember that he spoke and wrote so openly about loving relationships in the home and school during the repressive post-war years of Stalin’s dictatorship. Although he was often challenged by the prevailing education orthodoxy, his students were so far ahead  of their peers elsewhere in the USSR, both academically and wholistically, that he was able to influence during the eighties a new constellation of teacher-writers who, not only championed his ideas, but went on to demonstrate even more powerfully how a teacher’s love for the children created an educational environment in which every child could ‘shine’.

Perhaps the closest in spirit to Sukhomlinsky was Sh.A.Amonashvili, a corresponding member of the USSR Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and a class teacher in an experimental school. In the closing chapter of his book, Singleness of Purpose, he proposes three principles which should govern a teacher’s work:

The first is to love the child. Love is the human sun. The sun radiates warmth and light, without which there would be no life on earth. A Teacher should radiate human kindness and love, without which it is impossible to educate a human soul in a person. A child becomes happy as soon as he senses that his teacher loves him, loves him sincerely and selflessly. Love facilitates education, since it is the only kindly force capable of bringing the child harmony of soul, of stimulating his growth towards maturity, mutuality and a kindly attitude to those around him. In the pedagogy of love there is no place for rudeness, for pressure, for damaging the self-respect or ignoring the life of the child…

The second principle (it flows from the first) is to humanise the environment in which the child lives…Not one sphere of social contact should disturb the child, giving rise to fear, lack of confidence, depression or sense of inferiority. A disharmony between the various spheres of social contact gives rise educationally to an uncertainty in the soul of the child, who becomes confused and may easily develop an embittered state of mind…

The third principle is to relive one’s childhood in the child. This is a reliable way of ensuring that the child trusts the teacher, appreciates his kindness of soul, accepts his love…

Sh.A.Amonashvili (1987)

quoted in Each One Must Shine (1999) by Alan Cockerill

These words by Amonashvili explain why so many children in today’s education system develop a distrust and dislike of those teachers who continue to control their class with fear, chastisement, ridicule, shouting and other forms of punishment. Unfortunately, such children not only end up resenting those who assail their dignity and feelings of self-worth in the classroom, they also develop an apprehension about and avoidance of learning the very skills that would be to their own advantage in everyday living. This aversion to acquiring such basic skills as reading and writing can only come about when the one human ingredient that is essential in any young person’s life is denied to them – and that ingredient is love, love that includes all that Amonashvilli described so beautifully in his three governing principles for the effective teacher.

Although the word ‘love’ is seldom used in professional publications and conference papers, prominent researchers in the field of values-based education throughout the past 15 years have convincingly demonstrated that it is the quality of the relationship between teacher and student that largely determines whether a child will feel happy and confident in themselves and in their ability to learn.

…schools are places where young people need to grow and develop and be encouraged to expand their cognitive capacities, think new thoughts, imagine, feel and enjoy their social relations, question and refine their own moral stances, be creative in their expression and performance and, if they so desire, explore their spiritual selves…All we have shown is the unsurprising finding that this will happen best where they feel safe and secure, surrounded by positive relationships, enjoying the calm and settlement that comes with that sort of environment and being directed and challenged by engaging, personalized discourse.

…it is in the care, the support, the trust and the inherent moral engagement, including explicit discourse about it, that most students will thrive…

Lovat, Dally, Clement, Toomey(2011)

Values Pedagogy and Student Achievement: Contemporary Research Evidence

These research findings do not tell us anything that we did not already know from our own inner reflections and life experiences, along with the insights and observations from reformist educators who have walked this path before. Yet such hard experimental data is necessary for persuading those who favour reason and logic over clear messages from the heart that love is the answer – that pure, selfless love is the one essential catalyst required in a mandatory schooling system if children are to thrive, to flourish, to be all they can be.

Surely, the first thing to have is love; for if there is love, it will find the way to educate the children rightly.

J.Krishnamurti (1948)

Jiddu Krishnamurti. Third Talk in Delhi 1948

The teacher should not try to rule through the easier means of fear, for that is full of dangerous consequences. Try rather the path of love…fill your heart with compassion. When the heart is filled with love, all actions will be suffused with love…

Sathya Sai Baba (1926 – 2011)

Sathya Sai Speaks on Education

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June

Great Students or Good Students?

Education is much more than a matter of imparting the knowledge and skills by which narrow goals are achieved. It is also about opening the child’s eyes to needs and rights of others…Indeed, if we had to choose between learning and virtue, the latter is definitely more valuable.

The good heart which is the fruit of virtue is by itself  a great benefit to humankind. 

Mere knowledge is not.

14th Dalai Lama

If the purpose of education is to equip the student with skills that will be the most beneficial for both themselves and society, would it not be better for the educated to be ‘good’ rather than ‘great’? Generally, parents want their children to get high marks, extend their education, find a well-paying job, amass wealth and properties and, for some, become well-known or even famous. Teachers, being answerable to a politicized education bureaucracy, are focussed mainly on their students doing well academically. Governments the world over generally want schools, colleges and universities to prepare the young for a working life that will make the country prosperous. In other words, most want children to become ‘great’ – clever, talented, smart, successful, well off financially, and highly competitive.

It is generally accepted that people do not become ‘good’, wise, humble and noble merely by passing through the education system. And how could it be otherwise, given the prevailing attitudes about schooling? As we said earlier, most regard education as a means of gaining a livelihood, rather than discovering the art of living to our full potential as a human being.

An ancient proverb reminds us that a small piece of fertile land is more valuable than a large tract of barren land. In line with this advice we can ask, “Of what use is education if it does not foster compassion and concern for the welfare of others?” It would not be too extreme to say that education these days has been shaping us towards becoming more hard-hearted, instead of being sensitive to the fact that so many are living like serfs in a feudal society, drowning in debt, struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, and so much more. Surely true education must touch the heart, release a torrent of selflessness, make a person compassionate and foster some form of spiritual aspiration – a yearning to become ‘good’ and do ‘good’.

Echoing the words of the Dalai Lama at the beginning of this piece, a growing number of educators are insisting that character is more valuable and essential than scholarship alone. This point of view says that no one should feel proud about their cleverness or their ability to win laurels in studies. Rather, for one’s own happiness and the wellbeing of society at large, good character and a way of thinking that is selfless and non-judgmental is more valuable than scholastic achievements or intellectual abilities.

To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society,

Theodore Roosevelt (1858 – 1919)

26th President of the United States.

It appears that there are very few who will give the highest priority to the child/adolescent growing into a ‘good’ adult who uses their learning to benefit all of society – for example, keeping only enough wealth to take care of themselves and their family and sharing the rest with those less fortunate; engaging only in those actions which do not degrade the environment or make life difficult for others; and so on.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who have become great by amassing wealth, but what is their contribution to the welfare of society? Absolutely nil. Therefore, students, strive to be good, not great.

Sathya Sai Baba (1926 – 2011)

When education neglects to foster the ‘good ‘qualities (such as humility, selflessness, patience and compassion) in both teachers and students, the competitive, assessment-focused environment of our school system is more likely to graduate students whose main aim in life is to become ‘great’(secure a well-paying job, amass wealth and property, have social status or influence, and so on).

As a stark example of this misdirection given to our youth, we need to look no further than a simple piece of research carried out during the 1970’s at University of New South Wales in Australia. All of the first-year medical students were given a questionnaire addressing the theme of “Why do you want to become a doctor?” Responding anonymously, over 75 percent of them gave answers forming an cluster that said, “So that I can make lots of money.” Relatively few gave responses that referred to altruism, compassion and such like. 

It looks as if a majority of the medical students in that year would have become ‘great’ in the eyes of society – with a number of investment properties, an expensive home and car, high status in the community and so on, but the question remains: “Will they be an asset or a liability to society?” And again, “Who will give the better service to the sick? The doctors aspiring after wealth, or the ones who have compassion and want to help?”.

Without meaning to imply that it is only the medical profession who want to become ‘great’, the results of that 1970’s survey suggest that too little attention is being given during the school years to nurturing the innate ‘wish to be good’ that the great Ukrainian educator Vasili Sukhomlinksy insisted is waiting inside all of us. This humane, benevolent impulse is said to reside within every human being, often hidden from our conscious awareness like the fire hiding inside the wood, ready to be ignited by our proximity to a noble, virtuous, inspiring teacher.

As a final word to make our point, perhaps we can equate the ‘wish to be good’ with altruism and selflessness, and the ‘wish to be great’ with acquisitiveness and a generosity limited to family and close friends. We believe that, if students can be encouraged/convinced to always follow the dictates of their heart – of their intuition, moral compass or the soft sweet Voice within – they will invariably elect to become ‘good’ rather than ‘great’, and the world will be a happier, more humane place. A prognostication like this echoes the words of the eighth century Buddhist scholar Shantideva who wrote The Way of the Bodhisattva. He proclaimed:

All the joy the world contains

Has come through wishing happiness for others.

All the misery the world contains

Has come through wanting pleasure for oneself. (8.129)

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April

Student Mental Health,

Values-based Education and Spirituality

Soon after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic was over, the media and professional bodies began ringing alarm bells about the dramatic increase in mental health problems being experienced by children and adolescents. The most common reported disorders have been ADHD, followed by anxiety, depression and conduct disorder.

How did this come about? Was it the pandemic with its lockdowns and the pervasive fear of dying that brought this on? Why were parents not able to help their children through this crisis? Can teachers play a role in helping students who’ve been afflicted in this way? These are important questions, the answers to which we can only offer untested ideas at this stage.

Although research indicates that it is the parents who are the main determinants of their children’s moral codes and mental/emotional balance, it does not follow that they are always capable of resolving problems in these areas. In contrast, all teachers soon become aware that their roles place them in a unique and powerful position to influence their students, both in terms of their values and also their mental health.

I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.

Hain Ginott (1975)

In: Teacher and Child: A Book for Parents and Teachers.

Almost without exception, research into the effect upon children’s wellbeing by a nexus of quality teaching and Values-based Education (VbE) shows positive outcomes across a wide spectrum of mental/emotional health indicators. That is, when VbE is integrated across the whole school – and particularly when parents reinforce the same values in the home situation – children become happier and more diligent learners, behaviour problems at school decrease, and a healing sense of belonging to a larger family steadily grows in each individual.

Although more research has yet to be carried out that looks into the effects of VbE on mental health in schools, most of the relevant studies have outcomes that allow us to assume that ADHD, depression, anxiety and conduct disorders are significantly reduced when values are infused throughout the teaching day.

Although the idea may have occurred to many who employ VbE as the pedagogy, it is seldom mentioned that most of the human virtues are enshrined in the teachings of the main religions. For example, the Holy Bible of Christianity and the Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism both urge the reader to foster and strengthen the truly human qualities of being non-judgmental, loving, peaceful, fearless, and gentle, as well as having compassion, humility, perseverance and a commitment to be true to our conscience, and much more. When we look at the more universal forms of spirituality that recognize the common threads linking all Faiths and sacred beliefs, it is clear that the values in most VbE approaches and those strived for by people regarding themselves as ‘spiritual’ are much the same. The only difference might be that one of the defining qualities of the word ‘spirituality’  is a belief in a higher power; although it can be said that Human Values Education – a form of VbE – regards all of the more-noble human values as being the manifestations of a universal intelligence. 

So how does all this link to mental health in our young ones? There is now considerable research data indicating a link between spirituality and mental health, particularly during the adolescent years. Clinical psychologist Dr Lisa Miller of Columbia University combines more than a decade of cutting-edge scientific research with broad anecdotal evidence to illustrate how essential spirituality – a personal relationship to a higher power such as Nature, God, spirit or the universe that is loving and guiding – is to a child’s physical and mental health. In her 2015 book, The Spiritual Child: The New Science of Parenting for Health and Lifelong Learning, Lisa tells us that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality are 40% less likely to use and abuse substances and are 60 % less likely to be depressed as teenagers. She writes:

With physical puberty comes a biologically primed surge in natural spirituality. Teens are propelled like clockwork into accentuated hunger for transcendence, a search for ultimate meaning and purpose, and the desire for unitive connection. Puberty is a unified developmental path for both fertility and spirituality. The development of spirituality occurs in tandem with other forms of maturation, including sexual, cognitive, social and emotional development. (p.64)

When we consider that the two streams of research – Values-based Education and spirituality – are both showing positive outcomes in the mental health of children and adolescents, we can argue that there is a strong case for both parents and teachers to give more consideration to incorporating values/virtues and universal spiritual principles into all aspects of their responsible roles as mentors for the children in their care.

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February

One World One Family:

The Essential Role of Oneness in Values-based Education

The collective aim of all Vaues-based Education (VbE) approaches is that the student be led into manifesting at a high level all of the noble human virtues that lie within each one of us. This not only satisfies their basic yearning to be whole, to be fully human, to be all that they can be, it prepares the young for their adult years when they will be playing a critical role in the form and function of society, determining whether it be harmonious or dystopian, compassionate or uncaring, selfless or self-serving.

Added to this, there is an urgency driving the evangelical fervor of the proponents of VbE: civilization and the ecosystem are rapidly approaching a cliff edge, portending disaster on an unprecedented scale. With the majority of adults being either unable or unwilling to change, it is essential that our children be given every opportunity to grow into maturity with values that can lead the world away from its present dangerous course. All of the research indicators are saying that it is VbE that can bring about this metamorphosis of society.

Although the values education literature is replete with values and virtues that are facets of what we will call Oneness, at this stage there is little reference to, or perhaps even recognition of, the powerful effect that this unifying principle can have upon our lives and those of our children. It can serve as a lighthouse in our search for purpose and meaning in these unchartered waters of our existence.

We can imagine – as did the bard John Lennon – what a classroom, family, society would experience if a recognition of Oneness became a more habitual way of thinking, even if only a minority had this inclination. The metaphor of the human body is helpful in reminding us of what a sense of unity can bring forth. For example: The right hand is always ready to help the left hand, and the thumb works in unison with the fingers; the eyelid protects the eye even though it might suffer damage in doing so; the tongue does not seek revenge against the teeth after being bitten; and the heart works without rest, providing blood to all parts of the body, day and night. As we can see from this example, the body’s sense of Oneness manifests as pure, unconditional love.

In many parts of every school’s curriculum there is an appreciation of the unity present in the functioning of all parts of Nature, whether it be: the water cycle of ocean to vapour to rain to river to ocean; the underlying communality of different languages; the cycle of seed, growth and decay, and then more seeds, in plants and trees; our solar system and the infinitely-vast cosmos, all behaving according to set laws ensuring an overall balance and harmony; the unified field theory of quantum physics; the laser-generated hologram; and so on. Each one offers the teacher an opportunity to awaken students to their fundamental unity with each other and with all else.

The discovery of the hologram in the mid-1960s played a major role in linking science with the Vedantic spiritual teachings about Oneness. It is not generally known that, if a piece of holographic film containing the image of an apple is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser beam, each half will still be found to contain the entire image of the apple! Unlike normal photography, every small fragment of a piece of holographic film contains all the information recorded in the whole.

Echoing this same principle of Oneness, there is a verse in the ancient teachings in the Isa Upanishad that says:

The one who sees all beings within his own Self and his Self within all beings, thus, does not hate anyone.

Teachers might find that they can integrate values into a physics lesson by expanding upon something like the following:

“When you realise that you are in everything and everything is in you, you cannot hate anyone because that would be tantamount to hating yourself. When you know that everything is you, how can you hate anybody?”

It is our hope that, when our students grow up through their formative years with a deepening understanding of how all of us are existing in the one body of humanity, they will naturally want to share and care about others. Some teachers are already finding that bringing more heart into education through the principle of Oneness can be enhanced by using words with a softer, less-academic tone, such as One World One Family. These four words usher in a feeling of welcome inclusion, togetherness, mutual support, and of having more close friends than can ever be counted. And there will be many other phrases that can elicit the same sense of reassuring Oneness, as in the Australian song that begins with: ”We are one. We are many…”

If teachers feel drawn to highlight our essential Oneness, they might like to use metaphors from Nature, to make it easier for the children to understand the unity underlying everything. One example of many is the (individual) water bubble:

A tiny bubble on the surface of a wave suddenly realizes as it bursts asunder that it is not separate from the entire ocean, and never really was.

Developmental psychologists and neuropsychologists generally agree that, when we are born, we see ourselves in all and all within ourselves, gradually replacing this awareness of Oneness with the more functional experience of being a separate individual. If our children can be assisted in identifying with the underlying Unity while participating in a world of apparent diversity, they will bring a powerful cohesive and loving force with them into their adult years.

Holistic, unconditional love, agape, is the unity in which duality disappears. It is as if a certain boundary has vanished…

Eventually, if love is comprehensive, it unites us with everything and allows us to know that we are everything.

Kabir Edmund Helminski

In: The Knowing Heart: A Sufi Path of Transformation

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Year 2022

The Noble Role of Teachers

The Australian-born American physician and activist, Helen Caldicott, who has spent decades awakening the world to the medical and environmental hazards of nuclear weapons, came to the conclusion that politicians and military leaders are, in the main, not capable of recognizing the insanity of so-called nuclear deterrence. As such, she said that our hope for the future must now lie with the children, but only if teachers are willing to take on the responsibility of nurturing and bringing to the fore the innate ‘wish to be good and wise’ that lies within each student. In 2012 she wrote:

Teachers are, I believe, the most responsible and important members of society because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth

It was only a few years ago that the president of the New South Wales Teachers ‘Federation was quoted in a national Australian newspaper as saying, words to the effect of:

It is not the responsibility of teachers to ensure that the children in their care develop a healthy set of moral principles. That is the role of the parents. As teachers, we are employed to pass on the skills that will enable these young ones to contribute to the future workforce in a productive way.

Whether this mindset was representative of the majority of teachers at that time is not known. But the fact that it was aired by such a prominent figure in the education field indicates that, for many teachers at that time, there was a lack of awareness of how teachers are already shaping their pupils into adopting a set of moral principles, whether they are aware of doing this or not. As a simple example, the teacher who is always several minutes late, shouts at and ridicules any ‘troublemakers’, and ignores teasing and bullying, is conveying to the children that lack of punctuality and speaking disrespectfully to others are acceptable codes of behaviour, and that it is OK to turn away from the sufferings of those who are being ill-treated by others. That is, without realising it, teachers are engaged in the shaping of students character every moment of the school day.

Once we realize how much influence we as educators are having on the moral, ethical and spiritual mindset of our students, we can choose to do this in a conscious way, aiming to bring out what is best and most noble in them. If we choose not to do this, we are turning our backs on an opportunity to influence the future harmony and level of compassion in our society. As Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the USA, said:

To educate a man in mind
and not in morals is to
educate a menace to society.

If we have the courage to commit ourselves to an ongoing process of self-transformation to become more ‘good, wise and smart’ we can play a vital role in influencing the future of our civilization. In his 2013 book, My Heart: Transforming Lives through Values, the prominent educator and researcher Neil Hawkes wrote:

I realised that being a role model for children means being the sort of person you hope they will want to become. We show them the adults that the world needs them to be. We model what it is to be a values-based human being. How we model this will, to a large degree, determine what a child thinks they should grow up to be… in turn, the children become role models too.

As Neil Hawkes indicates, the ideal is for teachers to be role models of good character for the children. To go in this direction requires a special type of courage: the courage to engage in an ongoing, daily metamorphosis – symbolised by the caterpillar dissolving itself within its self-created cocoon and emerging as a butterfly. The opportunities for such self-transformation are provided by the vocation itself, in that the challenges in the classroom so often are reflecting what we are next ready to learn: to be more peaceful, non-judging, patient, authentic, and so on, whatever the situation demands. This daily opportunity for personal growth into being a more refined role model is described in a heartfelt way by Parker Palmer in his 1997 book, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life. He writes:

…we teach who we are. Teaching, like any truly human activity, emerges from one’s inwardness, for better or worse. As I teach, I project the condition of my soul onto my students, my subject, and our way of being together. The entanglements I experience in the classroom are often no more or less the convolutions of my inner life. Viewed from this angle, teaching holds a mirror to the soul. If I am willing to look into that mirror, and not run from what I see, I have a chance to gain self-knowledge – and knowing myself is as crucial to good teaching as knowing my students and my subject.

Most researchers in the field of Values-based Education and teachers experienced in this form of teaching would agree that the students in our care will strive for excellence in both character and academia when they are inspired by our example. They will be inspired when the depth of our peace resonates with the infinite peace waiting within them; when the sweetness of our compassion reinforces and encourages the emergence of ever-sweeter acts of caring by them; and when our vibrant curiosity and passion for learning fosters a renewal of self-confidence in their intellectual adventuring.

We will conclude this small treatise on the noble role of teachers with a few words from the late Sathya Sai Baba, who was one of the leading figures in education reform, particularly in India and also across many other countries. He said:

 The teacher is like a shining torch which can light other lights…If a student goes astray, he alone is affected. But if a teacher is bad, hundreds of students will be spoilt. Of all the professions in the world, that of the teacher is the most estimable.

 The teacher has to teach the students what is good and ennobling for them…Teachers are the pathfinders of the nation. They prepare the royal road to a bright future. The skill and efficiency of the people, their reliability and sense of duty all depend on the community of teachers. Their faith inspires the young. Whether people waste their lives and ruin the lives of others by means of barren pursuits or whether people lead happy lives promoting the happiness of others, the answer lies in the hands of teachers.

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Year 2021

A Teacher’s Self-Knowledge

One of the most respected educators in today’s world of values-based education is Parker J.Palmer. He asserts that, if we want to live in a just and humane society and if civilization as we know it is to pull back from the precipice that threatens our survival as a species, we will have to change the way we educate our children. It is the children who will one day step into the positions of influence, who will vote, and who will in turn be the parents of children.

Present-day adults are generally unable to change, even if they want to. They are like full grown trees whose rigidity prevents them from changing shape, unlike young saplings who can easily bend and grow towards the light. So our hope lies with the children. However, as Parker Palmer points out, the children can only grow into their full potential as true human beings if we create the environment for this to take place. And we, the teachers, are that environment. As we evolve, as we connect with our inner treasure, so too will our students.

As you will see in the quotation that follows, Parker Palmer regards self-knowledge as an important doorway into the realm of being a good teacher, one who can inspire the children to be all they can be.

…knowing my students and my subject depends heavily on self-knowledge. When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are. I will see them through a glass darkly, in the shadows of my unexamined life – and when I cannot see them clearly, I cannot teach them well. When I do not know myself, I cannot know my subject – not at the deepest level of embodied, personal meaning. I will know it only abstractly, from a distance, a congeries of concepts, so far removed from the world as I am from personal truth.

~ Parker J. Palmer (2007)

From: The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner
Landscape of a Teacher’s Life

Reflection:
The few words that follow relate to where Parker Palmer says, “When I do not know myself, I cannot know who my students are.” Our understanding of this powerful statement goes like this:

a) If I am not aware of, say, a deep sadness within myself, I will not be able to recognize it if it is present in one of my students. Because I have put up a barrier against being consciously aware of how deeply sad. I am, I will probably feel uncomfortable in this child’s presence. His / her sorrow will be like a mirror, reflecting back to me what I am not yet ready to see in myself. By reacting against what I sense in this child, I will only add to the well of despair he could be drowning in.

On the other hand, if I have come to know of this deep sadness within myself, made room for it, and even transmuted it into a deep longing for an experience of Oneness with all and everything, I will be free to have empathy and compassion for this child’s struggle. Experiencing such unspoken understanding in their teacher, my student will feel comforted, safe, reassured that all will be well. They will have taken the first inward steps towards realising that they are not this sadness – rather, they are the ever-contented Witness who is unaffected by the ups and downs of life.

Being comfortable with any sadness that comes into my life, I will be capable of feeling the sadness in the child, unafraid of reaching through the cloud that is covering their Sun, and so relate to who they truly are. The child will feel “He knows me. He accepts me. Now I am free to become who and what I am rightfully destined to be.”

Of course if my student is not aware of this deep sadness within himself, and pushes away from it by being the disruptive class clown or the playground bully, it becomes even more imperative that I know myself. I will need to know of and be comfortable with not only my sadness, but also with the presence of any anger in my thoughts, words and feelings. Only with such awareness, self-analysis and self-transformation will I be able to remain steady in the presence of the student’s anger, to move through it and connect with the hidden sadness, empathize with that and go on to connect with their inner Sun. The unspoken words of, “Hello in there. I know who you really are. You are beautiful, awesome, amazing,” is a gift to the child beyond compare.

b) If I am not aware, say, that I have judgmental thoughts about certain behaviours in others, I am liable to miss out on recognizing the joy, creativity and innocence that could underlie a student’s behaviour. Instead, I might see only disrespect, laziness or some other negative trait that is not even there. Further, being blind to my habit of judging others, I might be reacting against a child who, deep down, is toying with idea of suicide because he sees no end to the toxic parenting being inflicted upon him at home on a daily basis.

Also, when I am aware of my tendency to be judgmental, I will be able to recognize its presence soon after it arises and change it into acceptance by identifying with the impartial Witness within myself. This will allow me to see my students more clearly, without the fog of disapproval, judgment, fear or prejudice hampering my vision.

c) To the extent that I am not aware that my true nature is magnificence and beauty, I will not be able to recognize these qualities in my students. If I still think that I am my mind and body, how will I be able to relate to the best and highest in a child who is mentally slow or physically limited in some way.

If I am not familiar with identifying with that timeless Essence within me that is indestructible, unchanging, ever-content and ever-loving, how can I avoid getting caught up and overwhelmed by the horror and pathos in the lives of some of my children. Only if I know that ‘I’, the real Self in this body, am akin to the movie screen in the theatre that is not made wet or burned by the images of flood and fire that are being projected upon it, will I be able to help my students to not get swamped by unexpected waves of emotion or thrown off balance by an inrush of unwanted thoughts.

Overall we can say that, if I know myself, I will be able to see what any teacher needs to know about each one of her students: their strengths and weaknesses, goals and motivations, fears and prejudices, pains and delights, and so on. All of these can be taken into account when the teacher is preparing lessons, teaching, assessing and connecting. That is, when I know myself and my students I teach better. Further, when I know myself and my students, they are happier; and when students are happy
they learn better.

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Year 2020

November

There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.

William Shakespeare

There once was an old, wise farmer who lived in a village long ago and far away. This farmer owned a horse and in this particular village at this particular time, horses were a greatly prized possession. One morning, the farmer went out to his paddock and discovered that the gate was open and his horse was gone. His neighbours saw this and cried out in dismay at the farmer’s misfortune: “Oh dear, that’s terrible! Who could have done such a thing and how will you do what needs to be done on the farm!?!” The farmer took a deep breath and said: “This is neither good nor bad, all I know is that my horse has gone.” And he set about doing what he could with the tools that he had. The neighbours didn’t understand these curious words for to them, of course this was bad!

That night, as the farmer sat down wearily to his soup, he heard the sound of galloping hooves. He looked out his window and there, down in the valley was his horse, with three other horses following. The farmer watched as these four horses circled around the village, came trotting up the path and into his paddock where they settled, nibbling contentedly on the grass. “Hooray!!” the neighbours shouted. “You’re the luckiest, and wealthiest man in the village now!! You have your horse back AND three of the most strong and beautiful horses we’ve ever seen!” The farmer took a deep breath and said: “This is neither good nor bad, all I know is that my horse has returned and brought three other horses with it.” Again the neighbours were confused. “Not good you say?!! Look at the haunches on that horse there, he’ll do twice as much work for you…“ The neighbours did not understand for surely, this could only be good.

Now, if you know anything about horses you’ll know that they need to be trained in order to be useful on the farm. And so it happened that the next day the farmers’ son was out in the paddock, training these new, wild horses. One reared up on its hind legs and came down heavily, crushing the son and breaking his leg. “Oh no, this is terrible!!” said the neighbours who saw what had happened. “It’s harvest time and now you don’t have your son to help. Not only that but you’re going to have to look after your son too!!” The neighbours were quite distressed on behalf of the farmer who was old, but wise. The farmer paused and took a deep breath. “This is neither good nor bad, all I know is that my son has a broken leg”. The neighbours scratched their heads, mystified. Surely it was bad that the son had broken his leg? They heard but they did not understand the old, wise farmer, who did what needed to be done.

A short time later the country was invaded by warriors from afar. The king sent his generals around to each village to gather all the men of fighting age and ability. The battle was fierce and all who were sent off to fight were killed. All but the wise old farmer and his son, who had broken his leg, that is. “How lucky are you, that you and your son were saved!!” cried the neighbours. And of course, by now you know what the farmer’s response was: “This is neither good nor bad, all I know is that my son and I are here, now.”

The wise farmer knew that there was nothing he could have done to change any of the things that had happened to him, once they’d happened. He had found a way to accept the things he couldn’t change, without getting carried away by the thoughts and feelings about the things. With gracious awareness and attention to his ever-present breath, the farmer responded wisely.

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October

If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak,
return to yourself, to who you are, here and now
and when you get there, you will discover yourself,
like a lotus flower in full bloom,
even in a muddy pond,
beautiful and strong.

~ Masaru Emoto

The following story illustrates how, just when we think there is no flower to found in the swamp, suddenly there appears before us a beauty beyond compare.

It was a rather busy and stressful day when I went to visit a Primary school this week and happened to be sitting under a tree with some young people during their lunch break.

The bell went and they gathered to put their lunch boxes in the big basket before going off to play. The children were incredibly noisy, and this added somewhat to the stress I was feeling. A young boy, olive skinned and smiling large came by. He’d obviously enjoyed his sandwich as he had a line of vegemite stretched across both cheeks that reached nearly to his ears. We’d never met before but as he walked past, lunch box tucked under his arm and white teeth shining bright through his vege-smeared face, he paused, turned to me and said: “I love you”, tossed his lunch box in the basket and scampered off to play.

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September

The river of this life flowed naturally to the Australian Academy of Human Excellence; its inspirational leadership, its educational philosophy and the magnet of the guiding metaphor for me, a peaceful mind and an open heart.

Eckhart Tolle’s quote describes the essence of this path and goal: “You have a treasure within you that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.”

As the ever more peaceful mind finds focus and doors to peace continue to open, the Higher Self reflects on the Grace that has guided this life and has always been the ‘doer’, even though my ego wanted to reclaim its authority, especially in the times of pain and many trials. Three themes have moulded the rivers banks: Purity in its early reaches, Spirituality during the churning waterfalls of middle life, Simplicity in this meandering stream as it takes us towards the ocean and long-yearned-for, self-realization.

Purity was nourished in a large family in a pristine country environment with model parents of great faith, who walked their talk.

Spirituality was awakened by experiencing pure Love in a car accident immediately after graduation, causing this body and mind to taste the sweet sacredness found in my own heart. Once this was experienced it became an LED torchlight onto my future. My little self has reflected the mirror others are to me and, far too slowly, finding that same sacred Love in everyone.

Simplicity brings self-confidence, self-satisfaction, self-sacrifice as the gentle and often stormy waters of wisdom and spiritual love wind their way through grandparenting, loving selfless service in community, being a small part of a revolution in education with a clear goal of Self-realization. My gratitude and love find ever fewer words, to explain and thank the Academy profoundly.

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August

My journey towards human excellence has been fraught with a sense of impossibility. How can I be excellent? How can anyone be excellent? Is excellence even possible? Feelings of inadequacy, lack of self-worth and judgement can creep into the psyche, leaving an unsettling and often defeatist attitude.

Thankfully, being involved in a “philosophy of valuing: self, others and the environment better known as values-based education” (1) has provided me with a framework to navigate through life. Interacting with my excellent self, my pure potentiality and trying to see the true potential in other provides me with an attitude of optimism and love.

Examples abound of people who inspire me to live a life based on values. One such example is of Nelson Mandela. Once after he was elected as the President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela was having lunch along with his security guards at a restaurant (2). Everyone placed their orders and were chatting while waiting for their food.

At that moment, Mandela spotted a man sitting right across his table, also waiting for his food. He told his guards to ask that man to join them for lunch. The person agreed and joined them but sat quietly the whole time. After some waiting, their food arrived, and everyone relished on the delicious meal. The man too starting eating, but his hands were trembling. Without uttering a word, he quietly ate his food and left. Everyone could sense something fishy, so after he left, his guards guessed that he might have been ill because he was trembling so bad.

To this, Nelson Mandela shook his head and said that he knew that man. He was the jailor of the prison where Mandela was imprisoned. And that he gave him a very tough time while he was in the prison, subjugating him to all kinds of torture.

If someone who after facing so much hardship, can choose love and forgive – how can I not choose love!

(1) – Dr. Neil Hawkes, From My Heart: Transforming Lives Through Values (2013), Independent Thinking Press, P12

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July

I find myself at times (more often than not, if I’m to be perfectly honest!) looking for more ways of “doing”. The quiet conversations in my mind often have a flavour of how-might-I-do-this-or-that-better/quicker/more efficiently…. Such conversations can yield a restlessness, a latent disquiet, unhelpful comparisons with others and can lead unsurprisingly, to feelings of doubt and defeat. “Create”, “accumulate”, “progress”, “succeed”, “strive”, “win”, “overcome”….. the list of Doing’s is endless, and the urge to participate on these terms is difficult to resist!

It has taken me many years to discover a little of what my dear mother meant when she reminded me when I was much younger: “Noah, we are Human Beings, not Human Doings.” I don’t think she’d have read the Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu but she had the gist of it, an ancient Chinese text that presents the idea of Wu Wei – effortless living. More recently Alan Watts referred to Wu Wei as “the principle of not forcing anything in life”.

I think this is what my mum was getting at:

Verse 11
Thirty spokes converge upon a single hub;
It is on the hole in the centre that the use of the cart hinges.
We make a vessel from a lump of clay,
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
We make doors and windows for a room;
But it is these empty spaces that make the room livable.
Thus, while the tangible has advantages,
It is the intangible that makes it useful.

Verse 48
Learning consists of daily accumulating
The practice of Tao consists of daily diminishing.
Keep on diminishing and diminishing,
Until you reach the state of Non-Ado.
Non-Ado, and yet nothing is left undone.
To win the world, one must renounce all.
If one still has private ends to serve,
One will never be able to win the world.

Taken from the Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu. Translation by John C.H. Wu

After re-reading these passages many times over many weeks, the weight of the challenge contained herein remains. However, as Alan Watts has again so eloquently illuminated for us, “the art of sailing rather than the art of rowing” is more akin the ‘being-ness’ that my mother referred. May we let go. In order to Be.

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June

Mahatma Gandhi became one of my heroes when I was 19 and 20. I drew and painted his face a number of times. I have been periodically reading the book – Gandhi the Man by Eknath Easwaran

Gandhi started off as a very shy and awkward young man very uncertain of his place or role in the world or his identity and became a giant as an Embodiment of the Values we all strive to realise and promote as teachers – Love, Peace, Truth, Right Conduct and most famously- Non Violence. This occurred because Gandhi over his lifetime underwent the most profound Self Transformation triggered by intense self-examination and a desire to serve.

Gandhi realised that the only way to conduct himself and live authentically was by adhering always and fearlessly to Truth. Gandhi saw Truth as God. Truth has the power to prevail over all.
As Gandhi listened to Truth, followed the dictates of Truth, he came closer to being transformed into the embodiment of Truth having the Love and Power of the five Human Values directing and working through him.

When reading about Gandhi’s Nonviolence movement I felt a resonance to my own situation. I have read that Gandhi had a lot of anger as a younger man and was deeply moved at how he underwent such Self Transformation as to turn this anger into all-encompassing Love for all. I finally came to understand through reading these two passages in the book that this movement, this Soul Force, was based in Truth, had the infinite Power of Truth behind it and resonated with the Truth within those that came into contact with it.

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