On Education: Creativity, Kindness, and Compassion

On Education: Creativity, Kindness, and Compassion

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 After the kids went to bed, I went out the shop and turned this bowl for a wedding gift for a dear friend.

While I was turning, I listed to this panel discussion from the 2009 Peace Summit with the Dali Lama, Eckhart Tolle, and some other distinguished panelists on creativity and education.  Much of the discussion was about keeping the brain flexible and trained to think creatively, and that it needs to be worked out to stay in creative shape.  It’s worth a listen if you’ve got an hour commute to work…

  • Daniel Siegel said that you need daily brain brushing, in much the same way that we use daily teeth brushing help maintain brain “hygiene”.
  • Eckhart Tolle recalled that from the book Outliers (Malcom Gladwell), you need 10,000 hours of training in order to be ready for excellence.
  • Sir Ken Robinson noted how children are naturally born to have awareness of the amazing world around them,and to observe, to inquire, and to create.
  • And the Dali Lama and rest of the panel remarked how children lose those abilities with maturity, and through traditional education methods, and through dissociation with their naturally born creativity, compassion, and kindness.

As I was listing to this discussion, I couldn’t help but notice that the qualities that they were pointing out were so obvious in my own children, were lacking now in me.  If if not lacking, these qualities are at least dulled from time and conditioning of life.  The thirst for exploration, the total disregard for any sense of time (while they are in a state of pursuit of exploration, enjoyment, or amazement), and a genuine awe and elation at beauty, new experience, and excitement.

The good news, I’m sure of it, is that with some practice, we can get those core emotions that we’re born with back into shape.  We can hit the mental gym, do some high-rep RAK-ing, and reconnect with our compassionate self.  We can learn to find stillness and inner peace, and re-experience child-like discovery and amazement.

So get some exercise folks.  Get out there and be kind.  Do some good for our world.  And start to reconnect with your evolutionary, creative, compassionate self.