Sunday, September 22, 2013

Relaxing in the haze

I realize I am stepping here where I don't really belong but a little venturing might be a good idea.  It seems to me that acceptance is a very valuable way to approach life.  When I read many of my favorite authors these days, they are frequently discussing awakening and how to be awake and aware.

This subject is related to some aspects of teacher training.  People who want to be teachers sometimes need to work on awareness.  There is only so much people can be aware of, at any one time.  For a beginning teacher, thinking of what part of the lesson or educational activity he is working on is certainly important.  However, too much mind power directed to what is going on with himself and instruction can blind him to the bullying that is going on in a corner of the room.  With even a small number of students, a great deal can be transpiring that the teacher needs to be aware of.  This subject is sometimes referred to as "withitness", that is, "with-it-ness".

The teacher who is aware that the one little boy is again trying look up the little girl's dress is referred to as being "with-it".  We ourselves may have experienced the teacher or the parent "with eyes in the back of her head", who seems to know what we are up to before we know ourselves.  Nearly half a million people have watched this TED talk by Apollo Robbins, a pickpocket expert, who knows how to direct your attention over there while relieving you of your wallet over here.There has been a recent New Yorker article about the man, too.

But an experienced teacher, like any experienced person, is not going to get too disturbed by finding that they missed something that went on.  We only have some much attention capacity.  When we are tired or depressed, we may be even less alert.  So, yes, I applaud the idea of being awake to both our blessings and our burdens but I think a certain amount of hazy time, fantasy time, mindless time is an important component of a good life.  There can be such a thing as the American problem, which is related to "hitting the ground running", subscribing to the "Go, go, go" philosophy.  Too much effort, too much emphasis on improving in whatever direction or project is a current focus and one loses the chance to both enjoy oneself and at the same time, appreciate the opportunities and beauties that come our way unbidden.  We can develop trust in ourselves and reliance on our guidance systems to alert us to what we need to be aware of and allow us to ignore what doesn't need attention.

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