A quick reflection this beautiful day, thinking of others and a dear friend

Bird Droppings June 11, 2015
A quick reflection this beautiful day,
thinking of others and a dear friend

“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 Thursday afternoon I was thinking about how do some teachers succeed where others have difficulty. I actually got into a discussion with another professor yesterday about this last night. I have for some time used the idea that teachers more than knowing and understanding content they 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

I did in my college 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 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 enjoy sitting in my class room even during the summer months 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 fortunately not too far. 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 simply 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.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)

PS: As I came home earlier today from some errands I opened up my Facebook page and the first story was of a dear friends passing. I have not seen Pam since she visited Georgia in 1978. I first met her in 1969 or so as she was a volunteer at the center where I worked with exceptional children and adults. She was part of the Agape Youth Corp. She and others helped with Saturday programs and Summer day camp. We lost touch after 1978 and as I wandered my pathway and she wandered hers I came to find she still was involved with helping others as a nurse until her retirement. She was a breast cancer survivor. She was a mother and wife. She was and is a dear friend. May peace be with you and yours.

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