And thoughts on the eve of 65th independence day
Till a couple of days back I lost sight of the fact that it is more than a month since April 7, the day when most of the staff members and children left the school campus. I had been looking forward to this period of relative leisure but failed to notice it when it came, let alone experience it! And most of the vacation has already passed! I recognised this passage of time when, after tying the loose ends of activities pertaining to the previous year, I started looking at the next academic year of the school.
A mother delivers a well-formed and fully equipped baby into the world. The baby does not “know” anything. He is alive and sufficient to learn, over a period, all that is necessary to live for many years to come.
I wonder what this reflects
The pause between the ending of one period of time and start of the next is surely a good time to review the past, learn about it and learn from it. Our being is influenced and determined by the process of re-viewing and learning. These processes could change our eyes and make us new people looking afresh at ourselves, the entire endeavour of education and its organisation in a school. Due to this process of review, the management of a school, its functions and processes are bound to improve. One must also remember that if re-viewing is astute and penetrative there is a possibility that innovative, radical and creative approaches and energies could be unleashed in the school at all levels and in all the domains. There is a possibility of a school growing to be a learning centre of a different order!
The process of review often requires and sometimes demands a pause. The depth to which we would like to review could be a determinant of this. If the review is from the first principles and the basics of an issue, a significantly different quality of pause will be required. It is my experience that withdrawal from hectic activities or a retreat into a relative phase of “inaction” helps to do this. The pause is used for sorting out, resolving and ignoring the knotty and tricky issues and challenges which one would have faced or gotten into with students or staff members. A sort of regeneration and regaining one’s poise must be attempted before going into the next term so that so that we begin with cleaner energy. For educators, pause is solemn. Pause begins with quietening and may naturally lead to silence.
One needs to explore and understand the nature of a pause. Is pause a period of relative cessation of movement with the overbearing feeling that one will begin to move again sooner or later? How is pause related to time? Is it that the longer we pause the better is the regeneration? Is the characteristic of pausing passivity or activity? Is action possible in pause? Is pause intended to enhance calibre or effectiveness of a person?
Pause surely enhances or brings about a sense of inwardness in which the mind is primarily not oriented towards the outer. Quietness comes into being. Whether there was silence in the thick of activities is a question which has occurred to me often. I increasingly realise that it is a difficult question because it has not been possible for me to check at exactly that moment whether there was a backdrop of pause or not. I have not been aware if there is distinction between the state of pause and the emergent action. I am also not aware of an instrument by which I can check whether silence impels or generates action or not! For the present, it suffices to state that a vacation provides the space and possibility for one to ask questions of this nature. One can look a-fresh and re-view. It is imperative for educators to do this because we have taken up the responsibility of children who have to live, learn and grow to understand and experience the beauty of life and the world around. Children need to be provided space by teachers which are cleaned of the impressions teachers have made about them in the previous session! This can make or mar the nature of development a child experiences.
What does one review? Does one re-view and introspect oneself? Does one review the state of the school - to find out how to move “forward” better? To me it seems that a person cannot make a distinction between himself and his responsibilities. A person is his world. When he pauses his world pauses. When he reviews, his world is reviewed and not just he. He cannot separate the two because he and his world are one and the same. What I understand from the teachings of K, of which I am a student, is that there is a way of looking in which one gets an insight into the truth and false of the entire world.
I am sure such an insight has not been for me. For me, the closer reality is that I have taken the major parts of my world and attempted to look at them individually so as to understand them better. While looking at the parts comprising of the observer himself, the school facilities, educational processes, faculty base, and students’ culture etc. it is borne in mind that they are different aspects of one large whole. The large whole is also part of a larger whole. The parts are hence not only interdependent but also integral, i.e. one part cannot exist in isolation. To perceive all this surely demands a quieter than usual mind. Teachers are the fortunate few who are provided scope to vacate and pause! How many of us have made an attempt to realise the implications of a vacation? Is it not imperative for us to reflect upon all these questions?
This morning, more than a week after this expression has begun, a new aspect has been revealed. When I ask where I am, the literal meaning is about the place. Whereas the question is about what the state of mind is. The former aspect of the query is easy to answer. I began to contemplate about the latter aspect and realised that essentially I was trying to look at, understand and realise the content of my mind. The moment I looked, it is clear that there is not a static entity with contents that can be looked at, recognised and deciphered. It is an ever changing state with contents so unclear, messy, unsteady and chaotic. Most of the content was of a nature, which cannot be revealed to anyone. Even I was not willing to see this. It is best that the same is hidden, suppressed and misinterpreted. It was observed that when such is the content, the intent to see and know oneself cannot emerge. One is essentially aware that the content is not of a nature one would like to be aware of. It is better not to know and hence one would not like to know. The safest way is to consider that I am not that. This assumption popped up instantaneously. So quick it was. An altogether different game of me, the ugly I, searching for the noble me began. The state of mind was determined by the split in me.
The introspection continues as it is the nature of the mind. It was again unclear from where the thought or intention of wanting to see the content has arisen. Is this “noble” intention, which is supposed to be the starting point of religious enquiry, a part of that ever changing mind, or is it not part of it? How is this question related to the mind? Where is it emanating from and why does it occur at all? Obviously, the question is a thought and it hence must be part of the thinking process and thereby an integral part of the mind. One should have “known” himself for sure due to one’s being and one’s being existent. Are being and existence different? Are the words projecting states which may not be? Are words projecting ideas and states of mind which than perplex us? What does looking at something without the word mean? Why have the invaluable pointers provided by Krishnamurti been not understood properly?
Why do such questions emerge if they are taking us away from just being and looking without words because any question comprises of words only? As I was lost without being aware, the questions were lost. The questions were not answered. There was liberation from the burden of the questions. Seeking was forgotten! I do not remember if the questions were present or not. I felt refreshed. It was a simple feeling. Is religious life being without questions and answers that one is inevitably laden with and carries? If so, why does one have to begin with questions at all!
Vacation, pause, quietude, silence afresh! I am here.