An Exploration of Sacred Parenting and Education

Posts Tagged ‘mevlevi’

Teaching: the art of mutual investigation

In Education, Mevlevi Tradition, Spirit, heart & soul on January 3, 2012 at 10:22 pm

When Rumi met Shams of Tabriz, they say two oceans met. What took place was a sort of mirroring process in which both helped each other to deeper realms of the soul.  Does this historical meeting hold any significance for us? An interesting quote from J.Krishnamurti may throw some light here

How can the educator help the student to understand the story of himself, which is the story of the past, of which he is the result? That is the problem. If you are the educator and I am the young student, how would you help me to understand the whole nature and structure of myself – myself being the whole of humanity, my brain the result of many million years? it is all in me, the violence, the competition, the aggressiveness, the brutality, the cruelty, the fear, the pleasure and occasional joy and that slight perfume of love.

How will you help me to understand all this? it means that the educator must also understand himself and so help me, the student, to understand myself. So it is a communication between the teacher and myself; and in that process of communication he is understanding himself and helping me to understand myself.

It is not that the teacher or the educator must first understand himself and then teach – that would take the rest of his life, perhaps – but that in the relationship between the educator and the person to be educated, there is a relationship of mutual investigation. Can this be done with the young child, or with the young student? in what manner would you set about it? That is the question.”

One of the reasons I’ve enjoyed working in education is I get to learn. I see the education process as much about the teacher learning about him/herself as it is about the student’s development. Children are amazing beings and such clean mirrors. They can push our buttons, make us laugh, make us cry, help us pray, give us hope, remind us of the Divine, fill our hearts with gratitude, help us extend our boundaries and maybe most importantly give us a taste of love.

I have met some extraordinary students over the years. Some very talented others extremely diligent. Some very happy others with many personal problems. All have helped me as a teacher in some way. As a teacher, I feel, its very easy to lose the ‘beginners mind’ in the identity of the one who is more learned. That isn’t to say one doesn’t instruct, direct, guide or facilitate as a teacher. But in the process one is always alert, attentive and receptive to both what arises outwardly and inwardly in the teaching-learning dynamic. If I am not too tiered, one way that helps me to be open and centered is to be present in the present moment. One way to define presence, I was taught, is ‘the awareness of awareness’. Other than my own children, who catch me off center every time, one student who would easily stop the teacher monologue was an autistic student who I will not name. He was very bright and had scored an A* for his GCSE. His writing was all over the place. He would often irritate many of his teachers by repeatedly asking a simple question ‘why?’ He seemed to have little self awareness and wasn’t bothered by what others thought of him. Much like Socrates, he would take those who thought they knew to a point where they didn’t know.

The mirroring process in a spiritual context is a little different. I experienced this with a Dervesh I met in Istanbul. I had been with him on a 11 day journey. On the 10th day, something opened up inwardly. There was a moment in which our eyes touched and our hearts knew that which the tongue could never express. There was only deep silence and knowing. We helped each other see that which is both beyond us and in us, yet could not have known on our own.