Monday, May 13, 2013

Stop Teaching! Let the children learn!

I keep thinking about questions I used ask my parents when I was a child. The questions like:

Why should I go to school?
Why should I study?
Why should I go to college?

The typical answers that I get are :

To get a good job.
To settle down in Life.
To earn money.

I took these answers and moved on. I didn't really question and argue much on these answers.
But now I am a father and these questions have come back in my conscious. What will I answer when my son ask me the same questions? Will I bark on the same answers handed down by generations or should I take re look at the questions and find the actual answers?

So, Why should I send my son to school?

I don't think it is to get admission in a better college and in turn get a better job and eventually earn good money. In the ideal situation it should be to learn, experience and gain knowledge.
It should be to expose my son to various situations so that he experience and learn from the. It should be expose him to various new aspects and concepts of life and world (like animals, birds, trees, geometry, physics , so that he can absorb them in him and use them as and when required.
With this the next question rises.

Are children learning at school or are they being stuffed?

In current scenario the schools are under pressure and competition to show results and the results are measured in the percentage of students who pass the exams. So now the focus of the teachers is to make the children pass the exams and they do every thing they can to achieve. In this era of competition and expectations from parents the schools (and even parents) have misunderstood the meaning of education.

We think that more our children remember the words and information in their textbooks the more knowledgeable they are. The race is now to make sure our kids remember all the stuff that is out in the textbooks. If a child can reproduce what ever is mentioned in the text books or other books more accurately he/she is considered to be more knowledgeable. The more accurately he reproduces the nearer he gets to being labelled a genius.

So now every kid tries his/her level best to reproduce the books that they read or are told to read.

So, does textbooks determine what our children become?

We all know what we think is what we become.
If our children keep reading and reproducing the books, what they will eventually become are copying machines. The ones who are good at it are heroes of the school and ones who are not, well they are ignored.

Now these copying machines are our future. They determine the path that humanity will take and the future humans will follow.

I am really scared and then how come we have survived this culture so far. How come the situation has not become miserable so far. I believe it is because a lot of great people have chosen not to go to schools. If we just look closely  most of the people who have changed history (for good or bad) are the ones who have escaped the photo copying culture of our schools and colleges. They have been dropouts or just uneducated.

These brave-hearts have done great amount of work for the betterment of humanity in-spite of our schools.

So shall we drop our children from schools?

That would not be practical thing to do. I think we should let our children learn, experience and gain knowledge in-spite of their schools. I think we should not give too much importance to some aspects of the education system like exams, results, rankings and let our children enjoy education in a stress free environment.
We should expose our children to more real life experiences than simulated ones.Let them face the world as it is and learn from it, rather than theorizing about it in their minds. It's better if we just let them deal with various real life situations the way they want to deal with them. Let them formulate their one methods and ways of handling different situations.

I think the only thing we should do is to stop teaching and let our children learn.


Please read other children related articles at How To Make Children Listen and Children and Competition

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Drop the Mask!

A story to think about, told by Osho.

It happened that after the murder of Abraham Lincoln... one hundred years had passed, and the whole year was celebrated in his sacred memory. A drama was prepared, which moved all over America all through the year, playing the same drama based on the life of Abraham Lincoln. And it was a rare coincidence that they could find a man who looked like Abraham – he was lean and thin and tall and ugly. Abraham Lincoln was not a very beautiful person, as far as his face is concerned.

As far as his being is concerned, he was one of the most beautiful persons.

When he was fighting in the election for the presidentship, a little girl suggested to him, ”If you grew a small beard, that would make your face look more beautiful,” because he had marks on his face from small pox. First he laughed, but he thanked the girl and he thought it over. And he grew the beard, and with the beard his face took a totally new shape.

This man had the beard, had the same kind of eyes, the same nose, the same height; so he was given the part of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln used to stutter a little once in a while, so he was taught to stutter. He was also a little lame – one leg was a little longer than the other – so they tried to make one of this man’s legs a little longer by traction, pulling it – just a little longer so he started walking like a lame man.

They trained him to speak the way Abraham Lincoln used to speak – one hundred year-old language, words which were in fashion in those days. And he proved to be a perfect actor. Anybody could have misunderstood, seeing him, that he was Abraham Lincoln.

And for one year he was moving around the whole continent playing the same drama, three times a day – in the morning, in the evening, in the night. The poor man got so much obsessed with it that when he came home he still walked the way Abraham Lincoln used to walk; he still talked in one hundred year-old language, and he still stuttered.

His wife, his children, his father and mother all laughed. They said, ”You have done enough – one year – now, drop it. And let your other leg also be lengthened so that you stop this business of walking like a lame man. And there is no need to stutter.”

But he said, ”I am Abraham Lincoln.”

First they thought he was joking, but soon they realized it was not a joke. He had started believing that he was Abraham Lincoln. They tried in every possible way... but once he had seen the glory of being the President of America and one of the greatest men of history, he was not ready to descend down back to being an ordinary human being.

He was brought to the psychoanalyst, but to no effect; he would behave just like Abraham Lincoln. And he would ask the psychoanalyst, ”What is missing in me that you are so worried? What is the problem? Why am I not accepted as Abraham Lincoln? You show me any fault....” And it was true, there was no fault.

Finally the psychoanalyst said , ”This is beyond... this is not a case of mental derangement. He has become obsessed, and he will understand only when he has been assassinated. But then there will be no point. And if you assassinate him, perhaps he may think that he was right – even dying, he will die exactly like Abraham Lincoln. He has died many times on the stage, although the assassination was false. But he knew how to fall, what to say, what Abraham Lincoln’s last words were. Even if he is assassinated, he will do his act to the very last.”

You will think that this is a rare story, but the fact is, we are all living a personality which has been imposed on us.

So Let's drop our Abraham Linoln Masks immediately or else we will loose ourselves.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

STOP Self Destruction

We (Human Beings) have a very great outlook of ourselves. We have appointed ourselves as the protectors of the Planet, the guardians of the animal kingdom, the saviors of Earth's vegetation, heck we have even declared that even God looks like us (I know, you would say, God created us in his image. But in reality it's us who imagined him in our image).

We have done everything to create a self image of ourselves which almost equals God, but in reality what is the situation.

I have read in an article that, as per scientific studies if all the insects in the planet disappears tomorrow, the living beings in the planet will have only 25 years of life left. All life in the planet, animals, plants, trees, including bacteria and also us the great Human Beings will dies within 25 years of the disappearance of the insects.

Now what will happen if all the Human Beings disappear tomorrow from this planet? 

Well, there will be one big party and the whole animal kingdom, plants, insects and even bacteria will rejoice and our planet will have great sense of relief. There will be no-one affected by our disappearance, in fact life will thrive and Earth will breath easy.

So who is more important, who is the protector of this planet and who is near God?

Human Beings or Insects

I think we should put ourselves in the right place and not over estimate our role on this planet. We might have Romanticized the idea of we being the protectors of Earth, but in realty we are protecting ourselves from our own stupidity. We ourselves are destroying the life on Earth with our stupidity and in-sensitiveness and now we are trying frantically to undo the damage.

There is nothing wrong in all the great effort that people are taking to stop the self destruction, but the way this effort is being projected has not helped. The captions like "Save Earth" "Protect the Planet" doesn't project the reality. These attitudes has helped in differentiating ourselves from the actual source of the problem. We think that we are doing great things to protect the planet and the actual source of the problem is somewhere else. We think we are the solution, but the fact is that we ourselves are the problem.

I think the captions which will convey the situation with clarity are :

"Stop Suicide"
"Stop Killing Your Children"
"Stop Self Destruction"

May be these statement convey the reality more clearly. I believe the change in the outlook of our approach will sensitize our self with nature, with the life on this planet and will make us look at the situation in a more inclusive manner, than in an indifferent way.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Do People Hate You? Fantastic!

A wonderful story told by Osho.

A Sufi Master wrote a small book which was outrageous in many ways to the traditional, orthodox mind. And then he told one of his disciples, ”Go to the IMAM, the greatest priest, and give this book to him as a present from me. And watch, watch carefully what happens. And come and report to me EXACTLY what happens, without any interpretation of your own.”

This was a device, a double-edged sword. It was a device for the disciple to see whether he could report exactly what happened without changing it, coloring it, interpreting it. His commentary was not needed; he had to just be absolutely factual, a pure, detached observer, as if he was not concerned at all.

He went there very alert, he knew that this was a kind of test. He presented the imam the book; he was sitting in the garden. It was a winter morning and he was enjoying the sun. His wife was sitting there.
When he presented the book, the imam asked, ”Who has written this?” 

He told his Master’s name. The imam suddenly became so enraged that he threw the book outside the gate and said, ”This type of nonsense, this type of outrageous, irreligious, sacrilegious thing cannot enter into my house! Get out immediately and never come here again! Your Master is a danger to the society. He is creating chaos, he is destroying our religion!” 

For a moment the disciple was losing his detachment, because great anger was arising in him, but he remembered that the Master had said that he had to be just a reporter; he had not to bring his emotions in, his sentiments in. 

Just when he was leaving, the wife of the imam said, ”You could have thrown it out a little later on when the man had gone. There was no need to be so enraged – it doesn't fit you, your status. Or, you have such a big library in which there are all kinds of books – you could have put that book there also. If you don’t want to read it there is no need to read it. And I have seen all kinds of books – religious, irreligious, belonging to our religion, belonging to other religions – in your library, so why can’t this book also be a part of the library?”
Again the disciple felt an emotion arising, that the woman was more compassionate, more loving, more human. But suddenly he became aware that he had not to bring his attitude into it at all; he had just to report. He came back and he just reported, but when he was reporting, at the last moment he forgot and he said, ”One thing I must say, that the imam’s wife is a very nice, beautiful woman, and she even seems to understand you. Maybe one day she can be converted to your path.”

The Master said, ”Wait! Who has asked about your commentary, about your interpretation? You should simply report. And as far as your commentary is concerned, it is absolutely wrong. If you ask me, then I will say this imam is sooner or later going to be trapped by me, but his wife will never be a part of our commune, NEVER, because his wife is indifferent. She says, ’YOU can put it in the library.’ The imam HATES me – hate can be transformed into love – but the wife is just indifferent: she does not love me, she does not hate me. She is not interested in me at all. She says, ’There is no need to throw it out.’ But the way the imam became enraged shows his emotion; soon he will feel that it was not right. And I tell you: go again and see what has happened to the book – the imam must have taken it back into his home, he must be reading it now. A man who becomes so enraged is already interested. He cannot avoid reading it – he HAS to read it.”

And the disciple went again. And wonder of wonders! The Master was right: the imam was reading
the book....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Why Should I Talk?

Almost all the people I know keep complaining to me that I talk very less. The queries keep pouring from all corners, Why don't you talk? How can you not talk for so long? Why don't you say something? and the list goes on.

I wonder what all the fuss is all about. I believe people don't talk for two reasons.
The first being they have a lot to say, they want to talk but don't know how to say it and are afraid of expressing whats inside them. The other being that there is not much inside to come out and there is no genuine reason to talk.  

I belong to the second category. I don't understand why I should talk just for the heck of it. If I have something to say I will definitely say it, but just muttering out something just because my mouth is free doesn't make sense.

When we are together my wife keeps telling me say something, don't be silent. I feel as if two people who know each other just cannot sit together and be silent. When they are silent it feels as if there is an undercurrent of tension between the two and the tension can be broken only by talking to each other. I feel this tension forces us to say something or the other in that situation.

I just wonder is speech the only way to communicate with the people we know. In case of strangers it's understandable that we need to talk to build a relationship, but what about the people whom we know intimately. Even with the people whom we share every thing in life, do we have to talk to express. Can't we just sit together hold hands and just enjoy each other company? Why do we feel uncomfortable when we are together and we don't talk?

One more thing that baffles me is that when two people talk, what I notice is that both are interested in saying something and nobody is interested in listening to what the other person says. It's like when one person talks the other person is preparing himself to say what he wants to say, rather than listen to what the other person is saying. It's not Talk & Listen routine that goes on but Talk & Talk keeps happening. So the end result is that both the persons have talked without listening to one another. I wonder what the heck did they talk? Was it a dialogue between two people or just each person doing his own monologue.

If this is the case that happens most of the time, then whats the point of replying to the other person. I can just keep quite and the other person will say what he wants to say in-spite of me saying anything. So I believe it's just better to keep quite, let the other person finish his speech and move on. There is no point replying him, since he will not listen to me anyway.

So the summary is :
People like to say something
They expect you to listen to them
They expect you to reply back
But they will not listen to your reply and
They will get angry if you don't reply or talk and
They will say YOU DON'T TALK.

Does it make any sense?

For more interesting articles on Human behavior check out my other posts at Confessions of a Family Man blog

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

This Too Will Pass Away!

The most brilliant story old by Osho.

A king was getting old and of course, worried and concerned about death. One day, he could not sleep the whole night long; he was continuously thinking of death. He has killed thousands of people himself; he has been a great conqueror – what has happened to him? Why has he become so cowardly? The death of the other does not matter to you, but your own death matters.

In the morning, he called his wise men and asked them: ”If I fall into a situation where you are not available to advise me and I don’t see any way out, I would like you to make a small suggestion that I can put under the big diamond in my ring.” The ring was made with an opening device, so he could look underneath the diamond and read the message.

They were at a loss. This was something very difficult – just one sentence, for millions of situations. How can there be one answer for all the questions? Only a man like me can say, ”Yes, not only that – there is only one answer for all questions; there cannot be even two.”

They were worried and puzzled, but one old man suggested something and that appealed to them, so they brought it to the king. He was not to see it – the condition was that he was not to see it. He was not to open it just out of curiosity. He was to open it in a real danger, when there is no other possibility for him, when he cannot figure it out, when he’s simply stuck and knows nothing about what to do. Only in such emergencies, when life is at stake should he open the ring and read the message.

And by chance, the time to read it came very soon, just after fifteen days. The neighboring country invaded. They had been invaded by this king many times, defeated many times. They were boiling with anger and violence and humiliation and insult. For ten years, they had been training their people and this time they were determined: ”Either we take over the kingdom of the enemy or we are not going to come back home alive.”
And when somebody, even if he is beaten, has such an idea in the mind, he’s no longer weak. He is far stronger than your strongest people.

They fought as the king had never seen anybody fight... because the king and his soldiers were just fighting to defend, but the enemy was fighting to gain self-respect. They had lost their integrity, and even at the cost of life it had to be regained – even if the whole country dies!

The king lost the war. Somehow he escaped to the mountains on his horse, but the enemies were following. He was alone and he could hear many troops of horses following him and the noise was coming closer and closer. He was running as fast as the poor horse could run, because he was wounded, almost at the point of death. But the greatest difficulty came when they reached the end of the road – that road was not going anywhere! It only came to this spot where tourists used to come. It was a very scenic situation, but it was death to the king – he could not go anywhere.

Underneath, there was a rocky valley thousands of feet deep. If he jumped into it, he would be finished. And he could not return because it was a small road....

Then he suddenly saw the diamond shining in the sun, and remembered, opened the diamond, read the message. The message was very small but very great. The message was: ”This too will pass away.”

Just let the idea sink in your heart: This too will pass away. So there is no need to be worried. In life, there is nothing permanent.

Everything is changing. You could not have thought, fifteen days before, that you would be in this situation. You cannot think what your situation will be after fifteen days. Don’t be worried: This too will pass. Everything passes by.

It had a great effect on the man. He relaxed, he forget all about those people following him. He said, ”I have never come to this spot. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful spots around the capital and I might have missed it if I had not been defeated by the enemy. This beauty is worth losing the whole kingdom for.” He enjoyed the beauty... and after a few minutes he became aware that the noise of the horses and the enemy coming was receding: ”Perhaps they have moved into some other part of the mountains, but certainly they are not on this footpath.”

He gathered his armies, he fought again. He won his kingdom back, and when he was received at the elephant gate of the capital, the whole capital was just festivity. Everybody was rejoicing the victory. Flowers were being thrown on the king from every house, from every place. People were dancing, singing, playing on their instruments. And for a moment the king said, just inside himself, ”It is not so easy to defeat me.” And he saw a subtle ego arising with all this reception and celebration.

Again, the big diamond was shining in the light and he remembered it. He opened it. He read it again: ”This too will pass.” He became silent. His face went through a total change – from the egoist he moved to a state of utter humbleness.

If this too is going to pass, it is not yours.

The defeat was not yours, the victory is not yours.

The death was not yours, the life is not yours.

You are just a watcher. Everything passes by.

For more great stories visit Confessions of a Family Man blog.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Defeat FEAR?

If we list out all the things that people are afraid of, then that list will have all things that exist on this Earth and even beyond. The question of what we afraid of is simply stupid, it would more useful if we ask our self why do get afraid of things?

So let's ponder on what exactly this Fear is. If we list out the characteristics of fear it will be like this.

1. Fear enters us when we don't know what is going to happen
2. Fear enters us when we want something very desperately
3. Fear is always about the future
4. Fear is always about the unknown

If we try and understand our Fears a bit, it will be clear that when we don't know what is going to happen, when we try and get something which we dearly want and we start thinking about the future which is going to happen then fear will surely enter us. We are not really afraid of our past, we are only afraid of our past resulting something bad in our future. It is always our obsession with determining our future that results in Fear.

If we can walk in a dark alley just enjoying the darkness and not thinking what is going come out in front of us the next second, there is no way we will be afraid of darkness. It is not the darkness which makes us afraid, it is our expectation and anticipation of what is going to come out of it, that causes us to be afraid.

The more desperate we are to get something, the more is the chances of we getting afraid of loosing it. We start anticipating our loss even before we try and in-turn invite fear into us. So if we can take our life as a game and enjoy the play and not worry about the result most of the fear inside us will disappear.

So what to we need to do, to defeat fear?

Very simple, Just relax, enjoy every thing, every activity, every emotion, every hardship and every success in  life every moment and just forget about the future. The future will take care of itself.