Subtle Energy & Wisdom
Across the centuries and around the globe, human beings have paid attention to subtle energy—intuition, inspiration, and extraordinary ways of knowing and perceiving. The double helix form of DNA was gleaned in a dream. When Handel finished composing the Hallelujah chorus, he is reported to have wept, saying “I did think I did see all Heaven before me…” Our project collaborator Ellen Tadd has a favorite quote from Emily Dickinson: “If I feel as though the top of my head is sawed off, I know it is a poem. This is the only way I know.”
Now more than ever it is urgent to listen more deeply, to utilize our full means for knowing and discerning. Though deductive reasoning and standardized curricula are emphasized in American Public education, the ‘school of life’ also requires our unique creativity and ability to make wise decisions through means beyond deduction.
There are concrete ways to make our best decisions, to develop inspired and original thinking, to balance our emotions, use our intuition and acquire self-mastery--and these can be taught through attention to subtle awareness. Mindfulness practices are on the rise in schools, and are helpful for creating an inner state of calm that lends itself to better focus and balance.
Ellen Tadd’s Framework for Wise Education, distinct from Mindfulness, describes the specific functions of each of seven energy centers that impact the actualization of our potential, including the centers of focus, love, inspiration, self-worth, self-discipline, leadership and emotional intuition.
In my experience in the classroom, likely because there has been less time to develop poor habits, young people can grasp the difference between emotional decision making, deductive or analytical reasoning, and what we call “wise decision making” more quickly than many adults. Educators using these tools can help students attend to their own energy, creativity and inner balance in the same way they learned to feed themselves, to communicate, to wash the dishes---as a basic and essential part of a fulfilling life.
We have all witnessed students deeply focus in pursuing an area of passion. Sports, the arts, experiential science, life skills’ classes---all these important arenas can help children to focus as they become engaged. Now we need to go further. We need to teach the mechanics of engagement, so to speak. We need to teach the ability to discern.
To adapt an old analogy, we must to do more than bring food to the hungry townsfolk, more than teach the inhabitants to fish. We must empower people with the discernment to know when to fish, in what body of water, with what equipment, or to know when it’s time to plant a garden and to do that instead.