matriwords

Research, Essays, Commentaries – Inspired by the Social-Cultural-Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo (PLUS a bit of photography too!)

Two Reflections on Integral Education – 2

Continued from Part 1

First published in Aspiration: An Inner Call, 2008, Vol II, No. 2, pp. 21-26. (Published by Sri Aurobindo Study Centre, Kolkata)

Be in Light

II

In Integral Education a teacher’s own inner work to discover the spark of divine within is a key factor in facilitating students’ inner un-foldment. Everything else – curriculum, course texts, learning materials, assignments etc. – has its importance, but nothing is as important as the teacher and his or her own inner progress. In the educational thought of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, one may say that in a profound sense, the environment for learning is the curriculum[1]. And I am tempted to broaden the definition of “environment for learning” by including teacher as part of that environment that supports and facilitates a child’s true education – education that is aimed at unfolding of a learner’s psychic being.

This brings us to something quite fundamental to Integral Education. How essential it is for an “integral” teacher to have some sense of (even if it is on an intellectual level) or at least an open-minded curiosity to “experience” something that is called “soul”? How essential it is to have a faith in this entity called “soul” or psychic being? If someone is intellectually convinced that there is no such thing as psychic being and that only through a clear rational thinking and reason can one dig deep into oneself, can such a person ever be a truly integral educator? In other words, if someone is convinced that only through an intellectual reasoning one can know oneself and that there is no other deeper layer to oneself other than what can be understood by reason, will such a person ever be able to facilitate the “integral” un-foldment of the learner?

I guess I am actually asking an even more fundamental question. How important it is for someone interested in learning about Integral Education to have a faith in or at least an open-minded curiosity to conceive of the possibility that there is something Divine in the Universe and in all of us? We can seek to discover something only when we can sense in some way that it exists. I guess in some way this goes back to the perennial argument between materialists and spiritualists – materialists asking for a proof of the God before they can believe in It, and spiritualists arguing that proof is in seeking of the God itself, a seeking based on a faith that all including the matter is a manifestation of God.

So no education will be truly “integral” if it misses out this core aim of education and life – to seek Divine, to realize God. 

“The most profound element for child raising and education within Steiner’s, Aurobindo’s and Inayat Khan’s common vision is the understanding that we must have faith in the child’s inner teacher to guide her own becoming.”[2]

This applies equally to the teacher herself – to have a faith in her own inner teacher, psychic being, soul, spark of Divine within. And to work constantly to unfold this inner teacher, so that she can be guided by this inner teacher which is beyond mind’s reasoning ability. We are reminded that

“we can only enact the teachings of the common vision with integrity to the extent of our unfoldment as whole and integrated persons, and no more. We can only give the child as much respect for her inner teacher, as much freedom for her becoming, as the state of our current unfoldment empowers us. If we extend beyond that limit in our enthusiasm or pride, we will inevitably betray the understandings of the common vision and act out hypocrisy or contradiction, most likely through indirect or unconscious authoritarian behavior.”[3]

So instead of worrying about whether these high ideals of Integral Education can be applied in real-world classrooms and schools with all the deeply entrenched problems that ail the system, all of us interested in more Holistic or Integral approaches to Education should be asking ourselves – to what extent are we working on our un-foldment as whole and integrated persons?

How significantly it changes the aim and purpose of our learning! And at the same time we, all of us interested or involved in any work related to the education of our future generations – as teachers, parents, guardians, adults –  are given something clear to use as a mirror in which to look at our own practice as educators, and more importantly, as learners.

CONCLUDED.

Notes

[1] David Marshak, 1997. The Common Vision: Parenting and Educating for Wholeness (Counterpoints, vol. 48), New York: Peter Lang, p. 115

[2] ibid, p. 209

[3] ibid, pp. 210-211


Full citation for this paper:

Two Reflections on Integral Education (2008). Aspiration: An Inner Call. Vol II, No. 2, pp. 21-26. Aspiration is a journal published by Sri Aurobindo Institute of Education, Kolkata.

Advertisements

About Beloo Mehra

Beloo is the author of two books, one on Indian Education, titled "ABC’s of Indian National Education" and an ebook featuring a selection of her essays, titled "The Thinking Indian." She holds several degrees in Education and Economics, has extensive teaching experience at school and university level in India and the US, and has a keen interest in the educational, social and cultural thought of Sri Aurobindo. She currently lives in Pondicherry, spends her time doing some reading, some writing, some teaching, some gardening and a whole lot of reflecting on life, living, society, politics, religion, art, literature, India, the World, and everything else under the Sun and the Moon.

6 comments on “Two Reflections on Integral Education – 2

  1. Life, Love and Whatever
    June 16, 2016

    It takes time to read your blog but it always provides room for thought and enriches me. Yet another wonderful article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beloo Mehra
      June 21, 2016

      Thank you, Chaitali. I am happy to hear such kind words of appreciation.

      Like

  2. adsunsri
    June 17, 2016

    Yes I do agree with Chaitali, your posts Beloo need to be read, re read for me to me to understand and get a grasp on the subject. This one is no exception and has such profound thoughts on integral education.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Beloo Mehra
      June 21, 2016

      Thank you, Sunita. I am happy to have readers like you who make the effort to read these posts on matriwords, which aren’t really typical blog posts given the special focus of this space. Really value your kind words of appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

If what you just read inspired some thoughts, please do share. Please note that the blog-owners and writers view matriwords as a sacred space, a feeling shared by many of our regular readers. So any abuse or profanity in any comment will not be tolerated, and such comments will be summarily deleted. Thanks for your co-operation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on June 16, 2016 by in Education, Research, Spirituality and tagged , .

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow matriwords on WordPress.com

Archives

Categories

%d bloggers like this: