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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 11: The Glassblower)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

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From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

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Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

11. The Glassblower

One day the restaurant chef was taking her afternoon walk down the main street of the village on the island of Allandon when the glassblower popped out of his glassware shop and waved her over with excitement.

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“Come in here for a minute,” he said. “I have something I know you will want.”

The chef followed as the glassblower took her into the back room, where he unveiled a set of wine glasses inlayed in a velvet box.

“These are perhaps the finest wine glasses our shop has ever produced,” he said.

“They look wonderful,” replied the chef. “But the real test would be with some wine.”

“An excellent idea,” said the glassblower. He went down into the cellar and soon emerged with a fine bottle of red wine. He uncorked the bottle, carefully took two wine glasses out of the box, and poured each glass half-full.

As soon as the chef picked up the glass and gently circled the wine around she proclaimed, “Yes, they are exquisite. You are to be congratulated.”

“I didn’t do it. I have gotten too old to blow glass,” he said. “You can congratulate my youngest son. It is his care and love of the craft that produces a work of art such as this.”

“Really? And what about your other sons?”

“Bah! I spent years with my first son, taking him into the shop every day when he was young and training him on all the minute details of glass blowing. But when I tried to get him to take over on his own, it was a disaster. He had no self-confidence. He would get nervous and either blow too hard or too softly, creating monstrous shapes.”

“That is a pity.”

“Yes, so I decided that with my second son I would not make the same mistake. I forbid him to come into the workshop when he was young. But when he came of age and I tried to train him, he was very obstinate and tried to do things his own way. He surely would have put us out of business.”

“So what is it that you did with your youngest son?”

“Nothing!” he said laughing. “I’d given up by then!”

“Given up? Do you mean you sent him away as well?”

The glassblower thought for a moment. “Not really. I suppose whenever he wanted to come in the shop, I let him in, and if he stayed away, I paid no mind.”

“But you never tried to train him?”

“Well—not exactly. If he wanted some instruction, I gave it to him, and if he just wanted to watch me work, that was all right as well.”

“I see,” the chef said. “And he makes all the glasses now?”

“That’s right.”

The chef raised her glass. “Well then, I would like to propose a toast, and give credit where credit is due. Raise your glass with me.”

“Here, here! To my youngest son,” the glassblower said.

“Oh, no,” said the chef smiling. “Not just to your youngest son, but to all three!”

In an earlier time in our history, most learning was fundamentally the acquiring of knowledge from those who had come before. Elders who knew something like a family trade or a secret recipe would pass the information down to younger members who did not know. These interactions were one-directional: the wise teacher would go into a closed ‘teaching’ mode to impart knowledge to the ignorant student who assumed a more open ‘learning’ mode.

While there may always be teachers and students, this model of learning alone is no longer enough for the lessons that are presenting themselves to us today. It is not the kind of model that is going to take us forward, to help us evolve, to move us to new heights of consciousness. No matter the nature of the relationship, the new conversation requires that all participants enter into the learning mode, and remain wholeheartedly open to what comes of the experience.

To be in the learning mode is to be open, curious, and ready to suspend all that we think we know in order to tune into the clues that can lead to a new awareness. Whenever we are teaching something, it is fully beneficial to be in the learning mode ourselves because then we model the very behavior that would help the student to be most receptive to learning. When we ourselves are actively open and ready to embrace whatever comes, to accept what is and to learn something from it, this cannot help but serve as an invitation to the student to let down their defenses, open up and participate in the learning process.

However at the same time, we need to be careful not to get attached to whether the teaching actually gets learned. If we have this attachment, we end up taking the role of teacher too seriously, and we lose an authentic connection with our student. When we are not one with a student, we will get so caught up in implementing our lesson plan that we will be oblivious to the lesson that is there for us.

My first serious romance actually showed me a lot about this, because it mimicked this teacher-student dynamic. In our seven years together I was the teacher, the authority, and in my mind, my younger girlfriend and I would stay on the right track if she just followed my lead. I didn’t feel that she had anything to teach me, and this was only reinforced in our first few years together as she treated me like a savior. But then, as she gained confidence in herself and tried to have a say in our relationship, she started to resent my closed mind. She made efforts to assert herself but I was unwilling to let go of control. I gave little regard to what she had to say, for after all I was the expert on relationships and she was just the stubborn student. If she said she was unhappy, I labeled her a complainer. If she seemed unmotivated, I told her she wasn’t being committed. And so, unwilling to consider my own role in why things weren’t working, our relationship continued to slide. Finally, I tried to revive our emotional attachment to each other in a most desperate way: I proposed to her. I somehow convinced myself that a new commitment would put me back in control and would empower me to lead us out of our problems.

Fortunately it didn’t work out. In fact, asking her to marry me only pushed things to the point of no return. Not only did she refuse to give me an answer, she in fact confessed to me that her eyes had already started to turn elsewhere. When I heard that, I was confronted with the most frightening of truths: I could no longer dictate what happened in the relationship. I had completely lost control. And losing control was the beginning of finding myself, and learning the lessons that this relationship and this person were there to teach me.

Only when I began to accept the fact that the relationship had ended, and there was nothing I could do, did I feel a calm coming over me. From this place it became possible to enter into the learning mode, which, I think, saved me from a prolonged stretch of bitterness. I could see the happiness she had with her new boyfriend, who she eventually married, and could admit to myself that she and I had never experienced that kind of happiness together. My blame turned to gratitude, my fear into relief. Now that we were apart, I was actually more open to what she had to say, and she in turn became more willing to speak freely with me. I was able to examine who I had been in the relationship: controlling, condescending, and painfully serious. I saw that I had endured a relationship that was less than fulfilling—and I was even pushing to continue it—because of my fear of being alone.

It is ironic that it is those situations where we resist looking at ourselves and are convinced we know better that can provide us with the greatest learning. It is precisely our avoidance of the truth of who we are being that we need to shed light on and uncover. Only then can we really step closer to fulfillment, to wholeness, to becoming who we really are. Only after I was forced to surrender and drop my self-image of the wise teacher was real learning able to come to me. In the aftermath of our breakup I started to really listen to her and take her opinion to heart. And once out of the power struggle that was our relationship we developed a deeper friendship, one where we both became more open to what we could learn from each other.

Since this time I am happy to have changed my ways. I am aware of what my life would be like if I had remained the way I was. I have let go of much of my need to control, and have experienced far greater enjoyment in my relationships as a result. And so I hold my first major break-up as one of the greatest gifts I have ever received in my life, despite how difficult it was at the time. Being challenged with some difficulty is more the rule of profound learning than the exception. Richard Bach said there is always a gift waiting for us behind all problems. We can all reap great benefits from our difficult and painful events, every single one. The learning is always sitting there, waiting for us to pluck it, but it requires us to relinquish control. When we let go and remain ready to learn and evolve, then we are in flow with life itself.

So entering the learning mode is not easy. It is a call to courage because the unknown can be scary. For most of us, growing up has meant becoming suspicious and fearful of the unknown. But the learning that we deeply long for, which moves us into the realm of the Dao Self, is founded on the bridge we build across the unknown. When we always cling to ‘going with what we know,’ we are actually cutting ourselves off from the vast expanse of experiences that life offers. Life in the known eventually becomes stale and ordinary. But what’s worse, we become more and more convinced that this is the only life that is available to us. Our Ego Self will allow us to learn some things, but within safe boundaries, with fairly predictable results. If we follow this we usually only learn things that confirm our limited beliefs. When we try to learn on our terms rather than on life’s terms, we have not relinquished control. Our Ego Self tries to convince us that we need to be saved from the unknown. It promotes a world that is familiar, that we are competent in, that we have control over. It is easy to be tempted by this, but in truth this is a great disservice to our lives because it keeps us living in fear.

Instead of getting saved from the unknown, I believe what we truly need is to be saved from the known, from the prison that we have trapped ourselves in, our own limited way of looking at ourselves. And let us make no mistake, we all have a limited way of looking at ourselves. It is a condition of being human. When we begin to loosen up and free ourselves from the known, from certainty, that is when life begins to get magical, and when learning really dazzles us. It’s not possible to reach mastery until we first acknowledge mystery. To have the courage to say “I don’t know” opens up the vastness of what there is still to learn. And the more we learn in this way, the bigger becomes the body of what we don’t know, until we see the whole universe as a treasure chest of mysteries to endlessly excite our curiosity.

Whenever we escape from the known, some sensation of fear is inevitable while we get our bearings within the unfamiliar. For what is growth except expanding oneself into unfamiliar territory? And while I believe we can get a bit more comfortable with our fear, we never really get used to unfamiliarity. If we were used to it, it would have ceased to be unfamiliar.

Living life as a daring adventure is to actually seek out unfamiliarity, understanding that any suffering we experience is of our own making. As we let go of the habit of blaming external events or people for our suffering, peace comes more quickly, and we go straight to explore what we have to learn. Surrender is no longer simply giving up and quitting, but rather migrating to an expanded version of ourselves.

And if we are not prepared to seek out unfamiliarity, life itself will give us a nudge now and then. If our resistance is strong, the current of life will twist and turn us, and eventually we will be thrown overboard. For this we should be thankful, because if life always played out the way we thought it should, we probably wouldn’t learn very much. It’s only when we are made to come to grips with a world that does not conform to our restricted vision that real learning and growth are made possible.

Of course we have a choice. We can always refuse the gift of learning. We can choose to stay in the jail cell of our attachments and blame, gripped by our own need to control, and serve a bit more time. But when we don’t take the gift, when we resist the lesson, it will keep showing up in our lives until we stop resisting what it is trying to tell us. It is fascinating to look back on our lives and see how some patterns repeat themselves over and over and over again. When the lesson is not learned, and we blame circumstances or other people for our suffering, it is inevitably going to recur. When we have had enough and finally decide to get it, we can move on to the next lesson.

This is the flow of life. The current of the river brings us forward into new adventures, and we navigate on our raft with the oar of resistance. All learning is letting go of resistance, of fear, and becoming more skillful at going with the flow. One would think that this would soon become easy for us. But it does not. Rapids and whitewater appear as our Ego Self constantly confounds our attempts to let go of control, employing new tricks to address each new situation. We are vulnerable at any point in our evolution to falling back or getting stuck. This is because our Ego Self is skilled at fooling us into thinking that it represents our true self, even though we learn time and again that it does not.

And so in a way life comes down to learning, and learning comes back to discovering who we are. It’s a perpetual fearing and overcoming, doing and reflecting, closing and opening. The new conversation follows this flow of action and reflection. We are encouraged to reflect on the actions we have taken in the world, and are inspired to act on these reflections. In the space of trust we are able to provide each other with an honest perspective on who we are being, one that is often exceptionally difficult to see on our own. This is what really helps us to move more quickly along the path towards an ever-expanding vision of our self.

 We reach the end of this path when we find ourselves completely open to everyone and everything around us, when everything that is has become fully acceptable and we can find no resistance within ourselves, even if we actively seek it out. How will you know for sure when you have reached the end of your path, and you can finally retire from the trials and tribulations of learning and rest on your laurels? No need for concern. If your heart is still beating, then you can be sure that there’s still another transformative lesson out there waiting for you.

Move on to Chapter 12…

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Consciousness

How I Obtained A Conscientious Exemption From Mask-Wearing At School For My Child

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    I was able to obtain a conscientious exemption from mask-wearing in public school for my 6-year old son.

  • Reflect On:

    Will these Covid measures and the incoming promise of mandatory vaccines serve to push a critical mass of humanity to learn about, and ultimately stand up for, their natural and innate freedom of choice?

I have studied the principles of natural law, and I am clear that the inherent freedom of choice of every individual is the ultimate foundation of life on Earth. How these principles became the basis for real-world action occurred when I heard that my school board had decided, quite of their own accord, while professing to be ‘following the direction’ of the public health office of a neighboring district, that children in grades 1-3 in their schools would also be required to wear masks in school.

I will give you the whole story of my quest for a conscientious exemption from mask-wearing for my son as I am not entirely sure which of my actions actually turned the result in my favor. I do this to empower everyone with a full understanding of what we are dealing with in terms of school mask mandates and the manner in which school boards are trying to implement them. I am in Ontario, Canada so things might be different in different countries, but I believe that the ultimate application of natural law and our natural freedom of choice can and should be pursued anywhere in the world.

My journey began with an internet search of my school board, a phone number of the communications office which undersigned the announcement of the mandate, and my phone call to that office asking how I would apply for a conscientious exemption. Through voice mail the officer said I should be in touch with the principal, who said I should be in touch with the superintendent, who said I should speak to the trustee, who said I should go back to the superintendent. This is a process that went on for two weeks and ultimately gets us to the first day of school and this letter I sent to all the trustees who, it seemed to me, made up the school board and hence collectively made the ultimate decision that was affecting me.

My Letter to the Trustees

Dear Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board Trustees,

Here it is, Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, the day that DPCDSB schools open, and I have not received the information I need to make an informed decision on whether or not I should send my son to school. He is slated to begin the Grade 1 French Immersion program at St. Pio de Pietrelcina.

After initially voicing my concerns about mandatory masking and applying for an exemption on conscientious grounds to a school board representative I was directed to the principal of St. Pio de Pietrelcina. She was polite and took my concerns seriously, but said that she had no latitude to make any decisions on exemptions on conscientious grounds. She suggested I speak to the superintendant.

I spoke first to the superintendant’s assistant, who was polite and took my concerns seriously, and said I would have to speak to the superintendant.

I spoke to the superintendant, who was polite and took my concerns seriously, but said that they had not received any ‘direction’ from health officials about qualification for medical exemptions. When I reiterated the point that I am seeking a conscientious, and not a medical exemption, she said that I should talk to the trustee for my school’s area.

I spoke to the trustee, who was polite and took my concerns seriously, but didn’t feel he was in any position to advance my cause. He referred me back to the superintendant, who, according to him, would contact me to let me know how I can make my request for an exemption to the school board.

I understand that these are trying times and things are changing rapidly, but I still believe you would agree that I’m getting the runaround. And the school year has already started.

So I will simply make my case in this letter, and I hope this letter will be able to cut through the bureaucracy and be read by all DPCDSB trustees, to whom it is addressed. I am requesting an official response undersigned by at least a majority of the school board members, who are directly responsible for the fact that, at present, my son is being forced to wear a mask at school in order to receive a public education.

Request for a Conscientious Exemption for my son from wearing a mask in school  

My fervent belief is that all directives related to ‘mandatory’ mask wearing in Canada are illegal and infringe on the rights of individual Canadians, based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

However, in this letter I will speak specifically to my son’s case. At present, the DPCDSB has decided to unilaterally mandate mask-wearing for Grade 1 students (this particular decision was not imposed upon them by Peel Public Health). And so my son, who is supposed to begin the Grade 1 French Immersion program at St. Pio de Pietrelcina in a few days, is being forced to wear a mask in order to get a public education.

I will cite a small portion of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and explain how it applies in this case:

1.      The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

2.       Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

I believe that forcing my 6-year old son to wear a mask may cause psychological and physical harm to him. Therefore, as his legal guardian, I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen. In mandating mask-wearing for my son, you violate my freedom of conscience as well as my son’s freedom of conscience, as he does not want to wear a mask.

Two more points, while not essential to my argument, serve to highlight my belief that the decision by the DPCDSB to mandate masks for young children in school shows an egregious lack of responsibility and concern for the health and well-being of the children who have been entrusted under their care:

1.       There is NO science, meaning no randomized control trials, which suggest that wearing a mask might have any impact in reducing the spread of a virus. In fact, any studies investigating the ability of masks to stop the spread of a virus have concluded that masks are not effective at all in this regard. (source) Mask mandates are based on the ‘opinions’ of Public Health Officers (political appointees) that ‘mask-wearing may have benefits’, opinions which are not grounded in the science.

2.       The statistics, which clearly show that low infectivity rates and a virtually zero mortality rate among children, would suggest that what would really be in the best interest of children’s health and well-being would be a normal return to school, without masks, distancing, cohorting, sanitizing, and any other measures. This has been the belief of many researchers and scientists in that very field of study whose views have been suppressed or marginalized in the media.

In other words, going back to section 1 of the Charter, I do not believe these measures have been ‘demonstrably justified.’

That being said, the main point of this letter is to get an answer to my request that my son be permitted to attend school without a mask, based on my conscientious objection. If denied, my son will not be going to school and I will begin to consider notices of liability to those on the DPCDSB responsible for implementing policy, who in my opinion have far overstepped their authority in attempting to enforce mandatory masking in their schools, especially for students in Grades 1-3 which was not imposed upon them by Peel Public Health and was a unilateral decision.

Thank you,

Richard Enos

The Response

Now it becomes interesting, when you are going about the business of standing up for your inherent rights, to wonder what drives otherwise busy and difficult-to-reach people into responding and suddenly having answers.

It was either the same day or the next morning that the vice-principal of the school contacted me and told me he was going to send the exemption form to me and that I should fill it out. I made it clear to him that I was requesting a conscientious and not a medical exemption, and he told me that I should fill it out nonetheless so that the school authority would have on record exactly what kind of exemption I am seeking, and I agreed I would do so.

Meanwhile, one of the trustees forwarded my email to the school board’s director of education, saying that this would end the ‘runaround’ I had been experiencing. And sure enough, the director of education sent me an email the same day, saying the following:

I am aware that the school has recently reached out to you to provide you with the documentation required to request an exemption. Given that you have identified the adverse negative psychological impact of wearing a mask on your child, I would encourage you to request an exemption.

Now I was intrigued by the phrasing ‘you have identified the adverse negative psychological impact…’ given that all I said was that I believed wearing a mask ‘may cause psychological and physical harm to him.’ So in essence, she reframes my conscientious exemption as a medical exemption.

I nonetheless filled out my exemption form, being as explicit as I possibly could that I was filing a conscientious objection. In fact, reading it, I don’t think that anyone can confuse this with a ‘medical’ exemption (the part I wrote is in bold and italics).

My Exemption Request

MASK ACCOMMODATION/EXEMPTION REQUEST FORM

I am requesting an exemption for my child from wearing a non-medical face mask while at school, (which includes indoor during the school day, transportation and in any before and after school program for the following reason(s):

REASON

I believe wearing a mask is potentially harmful to my son’s psychological and physical health. I cannot in good conscience allow my son to be required to wear a mask while in school. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms indicates the following:

  1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
  2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion;

Based on the current science and current statistics I have researched (I do not include them here but would be willing to provide them if requested), I contend that mandating mask-wearing for children in school has not been ‘demonstrably justified,’ thereby liberating me to act in good conscience and demand that my son be exempt from having to wear a mask while in school.

ⅅ I have attached supporting documentation (please note that medical documentation is not required)

The Response

I sent the document and reminded the vice-principal in my email that my son would not be attending school until this exemption had been confirmed.

Lo and behold, this message from the school was in my inbox the next morning:

Hello

Kellen’s mask exemption has been approved.

His first day back at school will be Monday September 14th 2020

But this is not the end of the story. I found this email to be oddly informal for a matter of such obvious importance to me. It was not undersigned by anyone, only the school signature was underneath, and there was no signed copy of the exemption form attached, which on the second page had checkboxes indicating who had been informed of my son’s exemption (teacher, bus driver, librarian, etc.)

This was Wednesday, September 9th, and because of staggered entry my son was only to start the following Monday, having already missed his orientation day. I immediately sent a reply stating that I wanted to know who actually sent me the email, and who had approved the exemption. By Monday I had not heard back from the school, and consequently I kept my son home. The school called and left a message inquiring about my son’s absence. In response, I wrote a rather sharply-worded email explaining that I will not be sending my son to school until my questions were answered.

I received a phone call a few hours later from a very agitated principal. I got her to say that the email was ‘from the school,’ and therefore, yes, ‘from her’. As to who approved the exemption, she said she didn’t know. She said she sent the exemption form to the superintendent and was later sent a curt email that the exemption had been ‘approved’. That’s all she knew. She was not at all happy with the general lack of information she was receiving from the school board. I did my best to help bring a conciliatory tone to the conversation and noted that it seemed like the principal was more a victim than a cause of this confusion.

And so I was left to assume that the Director of Education must have approved the exemption, since the Superintendent told me that she herself didn’t have the power to approve an exemption based on conscience. I sent an email to the Director of Education, demanding to know who had approved my son’s exemption. You wouldn’t believe what her answer was:

I regret the experience you are having regarding your request for a mask exemption.  The principal is the individual who has the authority to approve a mask exemption.  That said, it is ultimately my responsibility to ensure principals have all the necessary information to carry out the responsibilities we task them with.  I will continue to work to ensure that our principals have a fulsome understanding of the process and support them in implementation.

Where I am at Now

This email was the final nail in the coffin for me. I spoke with my wife and we both agreed that we didn’t feel comfortable having my son in an institution that demonstrated such a lack of accountability from top to bottom. We have pulled our son out of public school and have begun homeschooling him. However, I know this is not an option for many, especially for those whose children indicate that they want to go to school and see their friends. So this article is more for those parents, to come to an understanding of what they are dealing with and what their rights are.

The way I see it, these bureaucrats are all part of a top-down control structure, from the Ministry of Education through the public health offices, and down through the school boards’ director of education, trustees, superintendents, and principals. One of the necessary qualifications for these jobs is a willingness to take and implement orders from above, rather than asserting critical and independent thought. At all levels people know that opposing directives from above based on their independent thought would likely mean termination.

Consequently, I see these people are acting (and reacting) from the state of fear that they have been subjected to. I’m not really interested in continuing to investigate these people to try to figure out who is lying and who might be liable for damages. My experience confirms for me the reality that this whole interlocked, top-down system of education, as with other systems under government control, has a clear and specific agenda to augment their control and to willingly deceive people about their rights and freedoms protected by the charter.

The way they are doing it is by forcing those lower down the ladder to actually assume the legal responsibility for enacting and enforcing these measures, without giving those people any choice as to whether or not they actually believe it is good to implement them. Speaking to all levels of the school board was an exercise in a perpetual ‘passing of the buck’ where I could not find a single person willing to stand behind or take ownership of any of these mandates or the justification for them.

The good news here is that this is a situation ripe for all individuals, and particularly parents of young children, to exercise their rights of conscience and request (read: demand) a conscientious exemption from mask-wearing for their child. Of course it requires courage and persistence, and perhaps even a willingness to keep their child out of school as I did until the matter is resolved. But if you feel within you a burning desire to stand up for your rights under these circumstances, I hope my story has helped to equip you to do just that.

This article was originally published on my own website daocoaching.com.

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Consciousness

It’s Time Children & Teachers Learn About The Power of Emotional Intelligence

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Human emotions effect our physiology, state of mind as well as others around us. Modern day education does not teach children about the importance of emotion and how to regulate and deal with it.

  • Reflect On:

    How are children supposed to be mentally 'fit' as adults if they are not taught how to deal with the various emotions they experience throughout childhood?

What exactly is education? Today, many view it as an opportunity to learn, thrive, and excel in the world. Others see it as a necessary step toward obtaining a piece of paper that ensures one’s entrance into the professional world. Regardless of your take on it, however, one thing is certain: From a very early age we are forced into a system that demands our presence and attention for hours a day and for years of our life. Each child is required to learn an accepted version of reality in order to fit into the specific mould desired by the elite. Just like television, a large part of school is simply programming, and we don’t really learn much about the world — or ourselves.

Perhaps this is why Mark Twain said, “I have never let me education interfere with my intelligence,” or why Einstein told the world to “never confuse education with intelligence,” and that “education is what remains after one has forgotten one has learned in school.” 

School these days seems less about learning and more about rote memorization. Are we critically thinking enough, or questioning enough? Or are we simply being bred to become robots, all of us entering into the same human experience, “educating” ourselves in order to further perpetuate a broken system? We learn concepts and ideas that fit within the current paradigm and structure of society, but not about how to care for ourselves and become well-adjusted adults. Are we really being educated? Or simply groomed to become ‘good’ consumers?

“I don’t want a nation of thinkers, I want a nation of workers.”

– John D. Rockefeller

Another problem with the current education model, as pointed out by world renowned education and creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson, is that it was designed and conceived for a different age. Today, new information and discoveries are constantly emerging in all fields, questioning what we once thought we knew, and that includes how people learn. Unfortunately, unless you have an amazing teacher who is passionate about our world and new information, children suffer in this system.

In fact, prior to the late 1800s, education was a private practice that took place in private institutions or through home schooling. That all changed in 1902 when John D. Rockefeller created the General Education Board in conjunction with Frederick T. Gates, a close friend and business and personal advisor. The General Education Board was responsible for funding the American public school system, and provided over 100 million dollars in 1902 while continuing their support beyond 1902. If we follow the money, it becomes clear the general education board was responsible for the creation of the American public school system. Does education not play a large role in manipulating the consciousness of human beings?

“Knowledge has to come from somewhere, and that can’t be a classroom.”

Edward Snowden

Emotions in School

School is an experience primarily comprised of learning information — rarely questioning it, but rather taking it in as fact. While we learn about many subjects, very few of them have any real impact on our lives. There are absolutely no classes dealing with human emotions, for instance.

According to sociologist Thomas Scheff, a big supporter of emotional education from the University of California, many Western societies simply view emotions as an indulgence or a distraction, and less important than other things. And he’s right — we are often taught to bury our emotions so we can be more productive, and we are made to feel as though our emotions are not as relevant or important; they always seem to come secondary, if at all, especially within an educational setting. Scheff, among many others, believes that emotions provide valuable information, and yet we are taught not to listen to them. “Just as dangerous,” Scheff said, “is the practice of hiding one emotion behind another.” He has found that “men, in particular, tend to hide feelings of shame under anger, aggression and, far too often, violence.”

Many of the issues and problems that arise in our lives stem from the fact that we really have no idea how to process or address our emotions. As a result of this lack in our education, a child who has not paid any attention to their emotional body develops bad habits and behaviours to compensate, until they learn how to properly process their emotions, if they ever do.

How Do We Go About Doing This?

The good thing about teaching emotions is, they can be implemented into any class and any grade. For example, if you were trying to teach emotions in a class with a number of kids who are about to graduate high school, a great starting point might be to illustrate just how much of an effect emotions can have, not just on a mental level, where unresolved emotions lead to negative action, but on a physical level as well.  The Institute of Noetic Sciences is doing some great work in this area, creating more awareness about non-material science and how our thoughts/emotions have an observable effect on physical material reality. The mind-body connection is truly powerful, and we should be teaching people how to harness that power.

An internationally recognized nonprofit research and education organization, the Institute of HeartMath dedicates itself to helping people reduce stress, self-regulate emotions, and build energy and resilience for healthy, happy lives. HeartMath tools, technology, and training teach people to rely on the intelligence of their hearts in concert with that of their minds at home, school, work, and play. They’ve discovered that emotional information is “actually coded and modulated” into the magnetic field that surrounds all living things.

As HeartMath Director of Research Dr. Rolin McCratey tells us, “By learning to shift our emotions, we are changing the information coded into the magnetic fields that are radiated by the heart, and that can impact those around us. We are fundamentally and deeply connected with each other and the planet itself.”

All of these facts, published researched papers, and more can be accessed at heartmath.org.

Related CE Article: What Science is Telling us About The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence

One the most popular programs to begin teaching emotions was developed in 2005 by Marc Brackett, David Caruso, and Robin Stern of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence.

It’s called RULER.

“The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a more effective and compassionate society. The Center conducts research and teaches people of all ages how to develop their emotional intelligence.” 

It’s currently being used in more than 1,000 schools in the U.S., implemented for grades k-8.

The name, RULER, is an acronym for its five goals: recognizing emotions in oneself and others; understanding the causes and consequences of emotions; labelling emotional experiences with an accurate and diverse vocabulary; and expressing and regulating emotions in ways that promote growth.

What Exactly Are the Kids Taught? 

RULER teachers kids to to focus on the underlying theme of an emotion they are experiencing rather than wasting energy trying to define it precisely. Grace Rubenstein from Ted.Ideas reports:

When an emotion grips you, explains Stern, understanding its thematic contours can help “name it to tame it.” Even though anger is experienced differently by different people, she explains, “the theme underlying anger is the same. It’s injustice or unfairness. The theme that underlies disappointment is an unmet expectation. The theme that underlies frustration is feeling blocked on your way to a goal. Pinning down the theme can “help a person be seen and understood and met where she is,” says Stern.

Just taking the time to contemplate an emotion when you feel it, and think about why it might be arising, is critical for emotional health. Typing these words here and now, I still find it unbelievable that we have chosen not to deal with such an important aspect of what it means to be a human being. Emotions are something all of us experience, yet we have no guidelines or advice on what we’re supposed to do with them.

Rubenstein offers an example of how RULER functions in the classroom:

RULER’s lessons are woven into all classes and subjects. So, for example, if “elated’ is the emotional vocabulary word under discussion, a teacher would ask students in an American history class to link “elated” to the voyage of Lewis and Clark. Instruction reaches beyond the classroom, too; kids are prompted to talk with their parents or caregivers about when they last felt elated. Researchers at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence has found RULER schools tend to see less-frequent bullying, lower anxiety and depression, more student leadership and higher grades. So why isn’t emotional education the norm rather than the exception?

Emotions are something all of us experience, all the time, every single day. They can be confusing, and hard to navigate, especially when they’re negative. By including emotional education into the school system, I believe future generations would be far less depressed, angry, and confused. They would be better equipped to handle difficult situations in their lives, and find it much easier to express their feelings in a healthy, productive way.

There’s still a long way to go when it comes to understanding human emotions, and how to teach/discuss them in the classroom at different grade levels, but RULER is an amazing step in the right direction and I hope we see more programs like this being developed in the future.

 

 

 

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Consciousness

A Spiritual Perspective On Smoking Cannabis: An Important Viewpoint To Consider

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Sadhguru shares his perspective on smoking marijuana and why it's not truly needed to achieve the feeling one may receive to do it.

  • Reflect On:

    I'm not saying there isn't medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I'm saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up.

I was having a conversation yesterday about something that has always been a reflection point for me. Since I was a kid, I was never drawn to substances, even alcohol. I always felt great, high even, when just being.

As I got older and I finally tried cannabis for the first time, and then a few more times after that as years went on, I started to realize it actually brought my state of being and clarity down. The tough part was trying to explain that to others when having conversations about how these substances don’t produce a true experience of higher consciousness, but more so give you a glimpse in a sense.

Before we go on, I want to bring something up. The challenge with this topic is that we tend to get very emotional and rigid about it. Not only that, but we aggressively try to lump people into FOR or AGAINST cannabis. I’m not here to do that. I’m simply creating a reflection point as my desire is to help shift consciousness and empower us within to create a world where we can truly thrive. So for a moment, set aside your own hard coded beliefs and just be open to what this article is shining light on.

Societal Cannabis Culture

For the most part society either breaks down into people who judge cannabis as a drug that is for ‘stoners’ and are very against it. These people tend to believe there are no positives to cannabis. On the flip side are the people who feel cannabis is an amazing wonder plant that can do no wrong, and that the “highs” it provides expand the mind and we experience peace.

The truth is, cannabis has good aspects and not so good aspects to it. And while the positives can be really helpful for a very small subset of people on this planet, smoking it is one of the worst ways to use cannabis health wise. Not only that, society is using its medical benefits to turn attention away from the addiction many users have to it. This is a tough pill to swallow and makes many people aggressive and angry when I bring it up, but it’s true. In a big way, but not all the time, we are using cannabis as a society to help cope with feelings deep down that we want to shut off or hide from. As a note, we are also using food, TV and other things in the same way, but right now I want to focus on this reflection.

Cannabis can assist people with autism, people who have seizures, and in some cases it may have helped people cure cancer. There are benefits that can come from this plant being used in a proper medicinal way, but we must remember to look at the downsides that come from regular cannabis use that many simply don’t want to acknowledge.

A Note On Legalization

First off, I do not believe the plant ever needed to be illegal to begin with. In fact I’ve done much research on how it became illegal and it really had more to do with protecting an industry more than anything else.

That said, there is something to consider here that many of us aren’t looking at too clearly when it comes to what legalization really means. It means that powerful people are going to be the ones who profit most from it, that’s why it’s becoming legal. Not only that, but the reason it is taking so long is so they can get in place the many aspects required to make sure they achieve what they want: stripping medicinal aspects out of the plant profiles, controlling the seeds, and ultimately feeding society cannabis focused solely on creating a THC based ‘high’. This is no different than controlling alcohol and feeding it to society in the ways we currently do.

The cannabis industry is worth over $40 billion, making it the second-most-valuable crop in the U.S. after corn. As stated in a powerful article by GQ, “And even though weed is still federally forbidden, it sounded like whoever was behind BioTech Institute had spent the past several years surreptitiously maneuvering to grab every marijuana farmer, vendor, and scientist in the country by the balls, so that once the drug became legal, all they’d have to do to collect payment is squeeze.”

Humans should be able to make choices as to what they want to do to themselves and their bodies i.e. smoke cannabis or consume alcohol, but I believe greater education needs to be placed behind both and ultimately: we must start looking at the real reasons as to why we use both of these substances so often.

Looking At Cannabis Differently

I see that in many ways the use of cannabis is making the average user numb, in the same way alcohol does. I’ve used cannabis before, in a number of ways -smoking, edibles etc. I’m not saying the feeling is the same for every single user, but I’ve also been around thousands of cannabis users in my lifetime while they were high and you notice the same ‘vibe’ virtually every time. Perhaps there are varying degrees, but for the most part it numbs us out and sometimes quiets the thoughts to create a calmness. Is this like meditation? No, but it can be confused as that. I know, I’ve been there too.

Below is a video of a perspective on cannabis I feel is very important for us to consider. Let me be clear, I’m not saying there isn’t medicinal value and that we should outlaw this plant, I’m saying we have a very large societal challenge, just like with alcohol, where we are not facing our inner challenges and are using substances to cover them up. I am inspired to help create a world where we can truly empower ourselves form within, move beyond our mind and egoic challenges that help us grow and do just that – grow. But if we continually bury our challenges in substance, we won’t.

I believe it’s time we come to the uncomfortable truth and face the fact that as a society we have not done the greatest job in encouraging one another to truly explore, express and move beyond many of the emotional challenges life’s experiences have provided us, that are there for our growth. Think about it, do we want to just cope through life? Or do we want to truly move beyond our stuff? There is SO much suffering we can prevent by making it a societal norm to work through our challenges on a deep level. This is where I believe we must go.

Note: You can try meditation to help calm the mind and move more clearly through challenges. Here are more tools as well.

Lost relationships, divorces, losing jobs, feeling unloved, lack of confidence, depression etc. All of these things are not here so that we can use bandaids everyday to cover them up and get through them, they are here for us to learn more about ourselves, grow and evolve as people and as a society. To create a world where we can truly thrive. To get there, we must begin to face our challenges.

I made this choice 10 years ago when I started to discover meditation and inner reflection, and although I wasn’t a user of substances like alcohol or cannabis, I would use food to cover up my emotions or I would distract myself with TV, whatever worked. But I can share from experience, the incredible changes that come from shifting those stories within and gaining true empowerment will change everything in your life, and everyone can do it.

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Collective Evolution is one of the world's fastest-growing conscious media and education companies providing news and tools to raise collective consciousness. Get inside access to Collective Evolution by becoming a member of CETV.

Stream content 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, documentaries and guided programs.

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