Many people think in what I would call a normal mode. You know how it goes: 2 + 2 = 4. Plug the numbers into the equation and there’s a solution. That would extend to if-then type statements, logical syllogisms and propositional forms. I admire the folks who think that cleanly.
I don’t; however, I had to teach a majority of students who did. It made me a better thinker by cleaning up my thought structure. Oh, I value the way I think, but that means I must take care in establishing logic links. You see, in my mind, I think holistically: everything is connected and related to the big picture. The students who I had who thought like this appreciated me. I knew what was going on in their minds, because for them 2 + 2 might equal a thunderstorm. And that would seem perfectly logical to them.
I bring this up tonight because in terms of things going on in America and the rest of the world right now, I see a lot of interconnectedness. Last night I attempted to get to a main point I never reached because of that. In fact, that happens often. So, let me attempt to give some structure to my thoughts.
For all the ugliness of hating others based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or cultural expressions, the root of that is Ego. Many who engage in prejudicial or discriminatory behavior and even seek to legalize it have no idea of the source. When people awaken to Self, they realize that we all are, at our core Heart, of eternal Spirit. No difference except in experience.
Now, I realize when Ego-powered behaviors abound — terrorism, crimes, things we normally think of as “evil” — we usually respond in kind. That’s an Ego response: destroy the destroyer. It’s complex, and I don’t want to get into the explanation of the intricacies of it. However, I will say this much: the response and attitude of those who think there is some nobility in some sort of “pure” America, some “great” America, is nothing less than Ego, and it is a rank form of it in a collective sense known as nationalism. It evokes arrogance, superiority, and heartlessness from those who hold to it, and it provokes anger and resentment as Ego responses from other nations and leaders.
Part of the sad commentary one of my friends who taught world social studies and called the past presidential election from the beginning observed last week that despite all the problems with the current president, until his actions negatively impact the economy and personal wealth, public sentiment will not force a change. (By the way, he thinks it’s sad, too!). This is Ego in totality: money and wealth and those who hold it supposedly should have the most say and sway in what happens. That Ego-attitude produces the bias, prejudice, discrimination, and just plain heartless hatred I referred to earlier.
Let me pull my holistic thought process together. Either a predominance of Ego- or Heart-energy characterizes government, society, and cultures. I believe a democratic government should exist to establish an environment conducive for individuals and a nation and all expressions in between to live in Heart-energy. To tighten the thread of thought of the last two nights, I think that this was the spirit of America’s foundation — which would put to rest this negative immigration furor — and I believe Walt Whitman saw it as such and gave the full expression of that spirit in his poetry. But he saw America beginning to fail; I see it as pretty damn near failure right now.
And to my point this evening. I think a primary avenue of establishing such a spirit of living in Heart-energy can be accomplished through education. The current system of public education, which carries over to private schools with very little difference, employs Ego-based philosophy and learning. Education must be redefined to employ Heart-based philosophy. It may be the best hope for Western democracy.
Yes, I have employed Heart-based education and know how to do it. Have I personally used it on a large scale? No, not practiced it, but I know it is practicable, a number of large-scale efforts have been in place for years. However, tonight I want to show the Heart, the spiritual essence of the significance of education for our nation and relationship to others. (I will make a political statement here: the Trump appointment and current secretary of education, Betsy DeVos has proven time and again her allegiance to Ego-driven models of education as well as her lack of qualifications to be in such a position. This lady reeks of incompetency and Ego, to me, and accurately reflects the spirit of the one who appointed her).
Education should focus on discovery of Self and of the wonders of this world. It should evoke the inner fullness of a youngster to connect with the intricacies of the Universe, especially those that stir the soul and mind. I may speak more to this tomorrow, but for tonight, I would like to end with another quote from Malala Yousafzai from her book I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.
She is a young lady who valued the essence of education, whatever philosophy fueled the system she experienced. And that is a great thing about humans: Heart can appropriate anything for our benefit, prompt us to take and use even Ego-generated things for self-awareness, for our awakening. Malala, who was shot because she dared attend school and encouraged other girls in Pakistan to do the same, understands how education is connected to politics and international relationships. The following quote, while in her book, I have taken from an informative opinion article by a South African playwright and author, Ronnie Govender:
“Here’s what Malala Yousafzai — in her inspiring book I AM MALALA, which should be compulsory reading in all schools — has to say: ‘When we were invited to the White House we said we would accept the invitation on one condition.
‘If it was just a photo session we would not go, but if Obama would listen to what was in our hearts then we would go. The message came back: you are free to say whatever you wish. And so we did! It was quite a serious meeting.
‘We talked about the importance of education. We discussed the US’s role in supporting dictatorships and drone attacks in countries like Pakistan. I told him that instead of focusing on eradicating terrorism through war, he should focus on eradicating it through education’” (http://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/opinion/malala-example-of-how-islam-can-confront-elephant-in-the-room-1941350).
Only Heart-energy sees the value and reality of “eradicating [terrorism] through education.” However, the current system and practice of education will not get us there. We have to know the possibilities and power we possess and live it in our own creation, and that’s why education needs to be redefined and reframed in practice.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!