I am constantly finding where community exists


Bird Droppings November 6, 2021
I am constantly finding where community exists

I am sitting listening to the Allman Brother’s Fillmore East on a cold Saturday morning. After a few days of sunshine and cool fall, weather rain is coming in, changing the temperature. As I drove to the corner store yesterday, I had several thoughts streaming through my head. How do two people see or read the same thing and still walk away with totally differing views? It has crossed my mind many times in the past few weeks as I have been writing. Reading the political news and various takes from happenings in national events, one person sees one thing and another a different view.

As I got near the end of my doctoral course work way back in the day, I was involved in a class on educational ethics, which featured nine texts with an underlying philosophical view of caring and relationships as keys to education, or I should say successful teaching. One of the books, entitled The Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American Children, by Gloria Ladson-Billings, focuses on the notion that a teacher gives back to the community. Over the past few years, I have heard numerous teachers discuss not wanting to be seen by students outside of school and not being a part of the school community. More than once, I got into a debate of sorts while at school on this concept. Is it possible for a teacher to be a successful teacher and not part of the school community?

On a trip to Barnes and Noble bookstore many years ago, I was looking for a book by J. Garrison, Dewey, and Eros: Wisdom and desire in the art of teaching for a paper I was writing at the time. Garrison’s book focuses on some philosophical ideas from John Dewey, considered a great in philosophy and educational thought. As I went to the bookstore, I ran into a student from my high school who transferred to Georgia Southern University. John Dewey, in his book Art and Experience, stated (1934)

In every integral experience, there is form because there is dynamic organization. I call the organization dynamic because it has growth. William James aptly compared the course of a conscious experience to the alternate flights and perchings of a bird. Each resting place in experience is an undergoing in which is absorbed and taken home the consequences of prior doing. If we move too rapidly, we get away from the base of supplies, of accrued meanings the experience is flustered, thin, and confused. If we dawdle too long after having extracted a net value, experience perishes of inanition. (p.)  

I thought back a few years and many conversations on synchronicity and a trip home from a class actually after a midterm in Advanced Behavioral Techniques; I was hungry since I had not stopped since early in the morning. I knew one of my former swimmers from the high school team was working at Taco Bell, and sure enough, she was working. I said hi, coincidently, the same student I ran into at the bookstore that past weekend. As I pulled out of Taco Bell, my sweet tooth struck, and I ended up at Brewster’s Ice Cream, as close to homemade ice cream as you can get from a fast food place; it sounded good, and there two of my former advisees were also getting ice cream. We talked for a while about uptight teachers and who was not, an interesting subject. Why do teachers get so uptight or anybody for that matter? Brings to mind a compelling thought why so many teachers are on psych drugs for varying conditions? I hear from fellow teachers how they take various prescribed medications, and I see far too many who use self-medication with alcohol.

As I talked eating my ice cream, several more students and former students pulled in. I met girlfriends and boyfriends of each and such, coincidence perhaps but an average day for me, it seems. So often, I mention the word coincidence and try to explain it. Recently, in a letter to a friend, I used the term ” we are where we need to be right now and when we realize that all of a sudden, so much more becomes clear. James Redfield, an author, refers to coincidence frequently and the idea that it happens more often as you become attuned to it when you begin noticing coincidence. Essentially as you become aware of your place in the puzzle, the pieces seem to fit better and more clearly.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Gustav Jung

Carl Jung was of the nature there was purpose in all that happened, and he and his former partner Sigmund Freud disagreed to an extent on the whys of this. Jung coined the word synchronicity to explain his thoughts in the early 1900s. Events and things happening at a specific time, specific people seemingly appear by chance but obviously not. On a random website during my research on Skeptic.com

His (Jung) notion of synchronicity is that there is a causal principle that links events having a similar meaning by their coincidence in time rather than sequentially. He claimed that there is a synchrony between the mind and the phenomenal world of perception.

Jung was eluding to a connection. In my Native studies and my vision, connections are a driving force. Dr. J. T. and Dr. Micael Garrett discuss interdependence as they describe traditional thought and philosophy Garrett, 2002). Chief Seattle uses the term the web of life as he describes the connections in nature (Nerburn, 1999).  

As I researched, I found a few words on the internet from Meg Lundstrom that struck a chord with me, from her article A Wink from the Cosmos, in Intuition Magazine, May 1996

Some scientists see a theoretical grounding for synchronicity in quantum physics, fractal geometry, and chaos theory. They are finding that the isolation and separation of objects from each other is more apparent than real; at deeper levels, everything — atoms, cells, molecules, plants, animals, people — participates in a sensitive, flowing web of information. Physicists have shown, for example, that if two photons are separated, no matter by how far, a change in one creates a simultaneous change in the other.

How does synchronicity tie into community? Somewhere in and among ideas and thoughts are answers. Some people seek answers through religion. Some seek answers through pure science others assume there are no answers and sit on a rock. Going back to my first thought, I see teaching as a community. In that community, we are integral pieces and interconnect many times, as for me today and yesterday in many differing places. I find throwing myself into that community as significant as walking into my classroom on a school day. Each time I bump into a student, it adds to their appreciation of my time and effort and gives me a piece of their puzzle to help deal with any issues that may come up when I have them in class.

Each of us can choose our direction and flow as humans, friends, and teachers if that is our chosen lot in life. The actual point I was making was when we are aware of our interactions with others that each moment we spend with a person affects that person and the next person they see or talk to as we too are involved. It is in this way community is built (Palmer, 1999). I came away that night and yesterday, happy having spoken with some folks that I had not seen in several months, even several years, and hopefully, they too went away a bit happier. The falling into place of the puzzle pieces is how life works and if we are aware of this, imagine the effect and impact.

If I know I will be affecting people beyond direct contact with someone, would you be more aware of how I affect them and so forth. I recall from, I believe, Dr. Glenn Doman G. Doman (personal communication August 3, 1967). The old credence of leaving the person you are talking to smiling will affect ten others is accurate. Over the years, I can attest to this personally. If you involve the idea of coincidence, fact, or fancy, who knows, but it sure happens a lot. So, as I wander today through differing opinions, please keep all in harm’s way on your minds 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)
bird

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