Bird Droppings August 10, 2013
A quick reflection this morning 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 writing area on a Sunday morning officially back in school although no students for till tomorrow I was thinking about how do some teachers succeed where others have difficulty. I got into a discussion with another 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 several weeks back 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 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 enjoy sitting in my classroom listening to the running water of various tanks and aquariums I will be working on putting up some new photos on my wall and trying to get some cleaning done later today. The building will be quiet save for the running water and hum of my computer. The air conditioning has been cut back and hopefully it will be one for school tomorrow. I just finished a conversation with a friend about this last quote on Facebook. 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 your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)