Friday, February 26, 2010

Sustainability: Survival and Habitat

One concept significant to consciousness-based education is that of connecting learning concepts to the student's life. Students need to be able to ask, "How is this important to me?"--and get an answer.

We just finished a 7th Grade reading unit that centered on the environment. We used the topic of "wolves" to have a common focus.  What was found that the survival of wolves was directly related to the maintenance of habitat.

This concept of the delicate balance between wolf survival and habitat then was transferred to people, and we discussed the significance of maintaining our human habitat.  This was a good yet traditional discussion: global warming, pollution, recycling.

And then the conversation took an interesting turn.

The concept of habitat was connected to our physiologies--that without maintaining the "habitat" of our bodies, we could not survive as individuals. The conversation continued to refine: What about the habitat of our minds?  Was it possible to pollute our intellects and our emotions? Were certain attitudes and habits not "sustainable"?

Since all students practice Transcendental Meditation and experience not just active awareness but also the state of least excitation of awareness at the source of thought, this was a conversation based on experience, not a philosophical discussion. As a teacher, this is where I find teaching at Maharishi School very fulfilling. The range of experience of the students is profound.

It is like the archer who draws back the arrow on the bow before releasing the arrow. Students experience deep silence and then find that silent stillness the basis of their thinking, their activity.  The connections to subject matter become more personal and meaningful.

And students who feel a greater connection with the world will be more apt to sustain it.

Copyright 2010 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved


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