Bird Droppings August 11, 2013
Reflecting for class and thinking of others
“I think that empathy is important not only as a means of enhancing compassion, but I think that generally speaking when dealing with others on any level, if you are having difficulties, it’s extremely helpful to be able and try and put yourself in the other persons place and see how they would react to the situation.” The Dalai Lama
Sitting here in my class room officially back in school on a Sunday morning although no students for another few days I was thinking about how do some teachers succeed where others have difficulty. I actually got into a discussion with a graduate school professor yesterday about this. I have for some time used the idea that teachers more than knowing and understanding content must have empathy. As I read this passage from The Art of Happiness by His Holiness, The Dalai Lama with Howard C. Culter M.D. the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes hit me hard. That is a premise essentially for starting a school year or teaching a class for that matter. John Dewey refers to starting with the students past experiences and building from there. How many times do we as human beings simply assume we know all and our experiences and everyone else’s is the same?
“What is important is that we have a superior way of life. We Indians will show this country how to act human. Someday this country will revise its constitution, its laws, in terms of human beings, instead of property. If Red Power is to be a power in this country it is ideological….. What is the ultimate value of a man’s life? That is the question.” Vine Deloria, Jr. 1971
We did in class yesterday address the idea of the Constitution was written by predominately white wealthy property owners. However plasticity in the wording allows for change and interpretation albeit equal rights etc. I liked Deloria’s idea of acting human as if most of the time we do not act human. Going back to The Dalai Lama and looking at the concept of happiness a comment is made about happiness is having all of those things you want. Conversely that approach to happiness never is fulfilled since when you acquire what you want you want more. Watching the mega yacht and mega lifestyle reality shows sometimes makes me wonder how you can really be happy when all you strive for is material. It is looking within that real happiness can be found.
“The man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures and acknowledging unity with the universe of things was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization. And when native man left off this form of development, his humanization was retarded in growth.” Chief Luther Standing Bear
I am sitting in my class room listening to the running water of various tanks and aquariums working on putting up some new photos on my wall and trying to get some cleaning done. The building is quiet save for the running water and hum of my computer. The air conditioning has been cut back and sweat is rolling off my brow. I just finished a conversation with a friend about this last quote. Sometimes we forget that all about us interconnects and we are simple a piece in the puzzle. We like to believe we are more than the sum of the whole rather than an integral piece. I still have a good bit of paperwork I need to address and sort through this evening so maybe for this dropping I will leave with this. I end each of my wandering in the same way and have now for nearly eleven years. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)