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Re: sense

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  • Clive Elwell
    Hello Everyone, I forwarded Jinan s document on sense activities to a few acquaintances. Here is one reply I received Clive
    Message 1 of 6 , Nov 8, 2003
      Hello Everyone,

      I forwarded Jinan's document on sense activities to a few acquaintances.
      Here is one reply I received
      Clive
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

      I hope we can share some thoughts on this subject.

      To sensitise the senses is actually something abnormal, isn't it? No animal
      in the world would come upon that idea. Their senses work as they should. So
      what's wrong with us that we apparently have to do sensitivity training
      exercises in order to be good enough to meet life.

      I think that with putting it that way we start from the wrong side. Perhaps
      we could start from this question:
      "What makes us so insensitive?" If we can see what makes us insensitive
      aren't we sensitive already? Is there any need for sensitising the senses
      then?

      I'm not against the exercises that Jinan mentions, far from it. They can be
      nice to do. But when they're done with the motive: "... to make children to
      use their senses more minutely and consciously." (see email 28/10), then I
      think we're doing a wrong action because it seems that we want to improve
      the self.

      First of all, who are we to think that children do not use their senses well
      enough. I have often experienced that children's senses work at a level that
      is sometimes quite amazing. I learn from them. But they don't see it as
      something special, fortunately. They sometimes do not even communicate about
      it because for them it is the most natural thing there is. I think they
      partly lose that sensitivity because we are unable to "share" some of these
      things with them. And they don't make a fuss about it. Only when you listen
      very carefully you may catch a glimpse of their special sensitivities. They
      live with it. They don't "expose" them all the time.

      Secondly, are we really improving sensitivity by focussing on the five
      senses separately, as written in Jinan's outline. How do we know that there
      are only these five senses? And why do we present them separately?
      Could it be so that because we are not sensitive enough in the now that we
      feel the need to invent special exercises. If these "experiments" come up
      spontaneously, in a feeling of wanting to discover what this whole life and
      everything in it is all about, I think it's allright. That's what children
      and young animals are doing all the time.
      But if they're set up with an aim, then I think there is this desire to
      improve the centre.

      And putting too much aims in our life, isn't that one of the factors that
      prevent us from being sensitive in the moment? We're rushing from one
      activity to another in this desparate search for more happiness that we're
      almost totally neglecting what's going on in and around us.

      As I write these sentences I'm watching my young dog watching the drops of
      rain falling on the pavement. She's fascinated by the pattern the wet drops
      leave on the dry ground. She tries to capture them. Suddenly it seems she's
      wondering where these drops are coming from. So she's watching the sky now.
      She feels the raindrops on her head, in her eyes. She's standing up now and
      tries to "taste" the raindrops. What a simple scene and yet, are we so
      fascinated by the rain as this dog? Do we need special activities to make us
      aware of the rain, the ladybird on my finger, the special quality in
      someone's voice, the excitement on a child's face, the bodily sensations you
      feel when sitting close to other people, the gestures of your partner and so
      many other things that happen in one day. Why isn't all that simply enough
      for us.

      I feel what is important, rather than a list of exercises or experiments, is
      the right atmosphere in which teaching and learning can flower. Then so many
      things come up spontaneously. Children are full of experiments. They're all
      the time dealing with the little things of life as if they are the greatest
      things on earth. Why do we kill that fascination by "educating" them along
      very narrow patterns? Everything is here already. We just don't see it. That
      doesn't mean that an exercise here and there from a book or from a friend
      isn't worth trying. It's also part of life. But if it is done with a mind
      full of amazement and wonder rather than with a mind that wants to improve
      itself, then we keep things open.

      There's a beautiful paragraph in "On Education" p.123 by J. Krishnamurti

      "Life is a constant process of teaching and learning. To teach and to learn
      is not possible if there is a motive, and when we have a motive the state of
      teaching and learning is not possible. Now, watch this carefully: in the
      very nature of teaching and learning there is humility. You are the teacher
      and you are the taught. So there is no pupil and no teacher; there is only
      teaching and learning which is going on in me. I am learning and I am also
      teaching myself; the whole process is one. That is important. That gives
      vitality, a sense of depth, and that is prevented if I have a motive. As
      teaching-learning is important, everything else becomes secondary and
      therefore, motive disappears. What is important drives away the
      unimportant."

      If we have this feeling that we're insensitive I think two things may be
      important: questioning and sharing, things that are essentially very
      spontaneously.
      How do you feel about all this?

      Kind regards,
      Ann
    • Clive Elwell
      Dear Ann, The problem lies with us, of course, not with the children. However sensitive we were as children, for whatever reasons as we grow up we mostly loose
      Message 2 of 6 , Nov 10, 2003
        Dear Ann,

        The problem lies with us, of course, not with the children.

        However sensitive we were as children, for whatever reasons as we grow up we
        mostly loose it; we become insensitive. Insensitive to the world around us,
        except perhaps to judge if things might be profitable to us or not. And we
        become insensitive to our inner world, to our feelings, in a way insensitive
        to our pain. We become, I'm afraid, "used to things". Things that should
        naturally horrify us, things that should move us to action, become ignored.
        We become hardened - in a word, our lives become dull.

        So what, if anything, might be done about this state of affairs? Both in
        regard to our own state of insensitivity, and the fact that children, as
        they grow up, become insensitive in their turn. (And surely the two things
        are not separate).

        You question if that is a right question at all - you ask if wanting to
        become sensitive is merely greed, is merely another aspect of the self
        wanting to become; wanting to possess something. And you point out this
        incessant desire to become more; to have more, is a major, and perhaps the
        only factor, of our being insensitive.

        What you say appears to be true, accurate, and it is something we need to
        not turn away from.

        You further ask if seeing the nature of insensitivity is not already a state
        of sensitivity - there is nothing more to do. That is beautifully simple.

        Perhaps one of the problems is that we predetermine what we "should" be
        sensitive to. I want to see the beautiful sunset and I fix on that. This
        fixing implies resistance to what else might appear, and resistance is
        conflict, and conflict in any form destroys sensitivity.

        If we are determined to see the sunset, we become insensitive to the factors
        that emerge preventing us from seeing the sunset. Does this imply that it is
        impossible to become sensitive by a deliberate act of will? That in fact
        acts of will are a factor of insensitivity? This does seem to be true - and
        yet isn't this what children are generally encouraged to do, at home and at
        school? "I will become that ", I will achieve this goal", "I will do
        better". Of course you are right in saying what is important is the right
        atmosphere. This right atmosphere is extremely rare in the world we live in.
        But I am sure you are creating such an atmosphere in your educational
        venture.

        My first response to your letter, Ann, was that I was moved, and felt a
        sense of humility. What you say has the ring of pure truth, which drives
        away illusion.

        Kind Regards

        Clive




        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Clive Elwell" <cliveelwell@...>
        To: <alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 8:14 AM
        Subject: [alt-ed-india] Re: sense


        > Hello Everyone,
        >
        > I forwarded Jinan's document on sense activities to a few acquaintances.
        > Here is one reply I received
        > Clive
        > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        >
        > I hope we can share some thoughts on this subject.
        >
        > To sensitise the senses is actually something abnormal, isn't it? No
        animal
        > in the world would come upon that idea. Their senses work as they should.
        So
        > what's wrong with us that we apparently have to do sensitivity training
        > exercises in order to be good enough to meet life.
        >
        > I think that with putting it that way we start from the wrong side.
        Perhaps
        > we could start from this question:
        > "What makes us so insensitive?" If we can see what makes us insensitive
        > aren't we sensitive already? Is there any need for sensitising the senses
        > then?
        >
        > I'm not against the exercises that Jinan mentions, far from it. They can
        be
        > nice to do. But when they're done with the motive: "... to make children
        to
        > use their senses more minutely and consciously." (see email 28/10), then I
        > think we're doing a wrong action because it seems that we want to improve
        > the self.
        >
        > First of all, who are we to think that children do not use their senses
        well
        > enough. I have often experienced that children's senses work at a level
        that
        > is sometimes quite amazing. I learn from them. But they don't see it as
        > something special, fortunately. They sometimes do not even communicate
        about
        > it because for them it is the most natural thing there is. I think they
        > partly lose that sensitivity because we are unable to "share" some of
        these
        > things with them. And they don't make a fuss about it. Only when you
        listen
        > very carefully you may catch a glimpse of their special sensitivities.
        They
        > live with it. They don't "expose" them all the time.
        >
        > Secondly, are we really improving sensitivity by focussing on the five
        > senses separately, as written in Jinan's outline. How do we know that
        there
        > are only these five senses? And why do we present them separately?
        > Could it be so that because we are not sensitive enough in the now that we
        > feel the need to invent special exercises. If these "experiments" come up
        > spontaneously, in a feeling of wanting to discover what this whole life
        and
        > everything in it is all about, I think it's allright. That's what children
        > and young animals are doing all the time.
        > But if they're set up with an aim, then I think there is this desire to
        > improve the centre.
        >
        > And putting too much aims in our life, isn't that one of the factors that
        > prevent us from being sensitive in the moment? We're rushing from one
        > activity to another in this desparate search for more happiness that
        we're
        > almost totally neglecting what's going on in and around us.
        >
        > As I write these sentences I'm watching my young dog watching the drops of
        > rain falling on the pavement. She's fascinated by the pattern the wet
        drops
        > leave on the dry ground. She tries to capture them. Suddenly it seems
        she's
        > wondering where these drops are coming from. So she's watching the sky
        now.
        > She feels the raindrops on her head, in her eyes. She's standing up now
        and
        > tries to "taste" the raindrops. What a simple scene and yet, are we so
        > fascinated by the rain as this dog? Do we need special activities to make
        us
        > aware of the rain, the ladybird on my finger, the special quality in
        > someone's voice, the excitement on a child's face, the bodily sensations
        you
        > feel when sitting close to other people, the gestures of your partner and
        so
        > many other things that happen in one day. Why isn't all that simply enough
        > for us.
        >
        > I feel what is important, rather than a list of exercises or experiments,
        is
        > the right atmosphere in which teaching and learning can flower. Then so
        many
        > things come up spontaneously. Children are full of experiments. They're
        all
        > the time dealing with the little things of life as if they are the
        greatest
        > things on earth. Why do we kill that fascination by "educating" them along
        > very narrow patterns? Everything is here already. We just don't see it.
        That
        > doesn't mean that an exercise here and there from a book or from a friend
        > isn't worth trying. It's also part of life. But if it is done with a mind
        > full of amazement and wonder rather than with a mind that wants to improve
        > itself, then we keep things open.
        >
        > There's a beautiful paragraph in "On Education" p.123 by J. Krishnamurti
        >
        > "Life is a constant process of teaching and learning. To teach and to
        learn
        > is not possible if there is a motive, and when we have a motive the state
        of
        > teaching and learning is not possible. Now, watch this carefully: in the
        > very nature of teaching and learning there is humility. You are the
        teacher
        > and you are the taught. So there is no pupil and no teacher; there is only
        > teaching and learning which is going on in me. I am learning and I am also
        > teaching myself; the whole process is one. That is important. That gives
        > vitality, a sense of depth, and that is prevented if I have a motive. As
        > teaching-learning is important, everything else becomes secondary and
        > therefore, motive disappears. What is important drives away the
        > unimportant."
        >
        > If we have this feeling that we're insensitive I think two things may be
        > important: questioning and sharing, things that are essentially very
        > spontaneously.
        > How do you feel about all this?
        >
        > Kind regards,
        > Ann
        >
        >
        >
      • HSIM
        Clive, Eloquently written! You might find some resonant chord in the Alexander Technique, in case you aren t already aware of it. I have been taking lessons
        Message 3 of 6 , Nov 12, 2003
          Clive,
           
          Eloquently written!
           
          You might find some resonant chord in the Alexander Technique, in case you aren't already aware of it.  I have been taking lessons on and off over the past year.  Well - I had to make the effort to GO to class, but I don't know how that ties in.  A bit of doing, to learn about non-doing.
           
          Whew!  Sometimes language is insufficient to express what goes on within.
           
          -Neela.

          Clive Elwell <cliveelwell@...> wrote:
          Dear Ann,

          The problem lies with us, of course, not with the children.

          However sensitive we were as children, for whatever reasons as we grow up we
          mostly loose it; we become insensitive. Insensitive to the world around us,
          except perhaps to judge if things might be profitable to us or not. And we
          become insensitive to our inner world, to our feelings, in a way insensitive
          to our pain. We become, I'm afraid, "used to things". Things that should
          naturally horrify us, things that should move us to action, become ignored.
          We become hardened - in a word, our lives become dull.

          So what, if anything, might be done about this state of affairs? Both in
          regard to our own state of insensitivity, and the fact that children, as
          they grow up, become insensitive in their turn. (And surely the two things
          are not separate).

          You question if that is a right question at all - you ask if  wanting to
          become sensitive is merely greed, is merely another aspect of the self
          wanting to become; wanting to possess something. And you point out this
          incessant desire to become more; to have more, is a major, and perhaps the
          only factor, of our being insensitive.

          What you say appears to be true, accurate, and it is something we need to
          not turn away from.

          You further ask if seeing the nature of insensitivity is not already a state
          of sensitivity - there is nothing more to do. That is beautifully simple.

          Perhaps one of the problems is that we predetermine what we "should" be
          sensitive to. I want to see the beautiful sunset and I fix on that. This
          fixing implies resistance to what else might appear, and resistance is
          conflict, and conflict in any form destroys sensitivity.

          If we are determined to see the sunset, we become insensitive to the factors
          that emerge preventing us from seeing the sunset. Does this imply that it is
          impossible to become sensitive by a deliberate act of will? That in fact
          acts of will are a factor of insensitivity? This does seem to be true - and
          yet isn't this what children are generally encouraged to do, at home and at
          school? "I will become that ", I will achieve this goal", "I will do
          better". Of course you are right in saying what is important is the right
          atmosphere. This right atmosphere is extremely rare in the world we live in.
          But I am sure you are creating such an atmosphere in your educational
          venture.

          My first response to your letter, Ann, was that I was moved, and felt a
          sense of humility. What you say has the ring of pure truth, which drives
          away illusion.

          Kind Regards

          Clive




          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Clive Elwell" <cliveelwell@...>
          To: <alt-ed-india@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, November 09, 2003 8:14 AM
          Subject: [alt-ed-india] Re: sense


          > Hello Everyone,
          >
          > I forwarded Jinan's document on sense activities to a few acquaintances.
          > Here is one reply I received
          > Clive
          > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
          >
          > I hope we can share some thoughts on this subject.
          >
          > To sensitise the senses is actually something abnormal, isn't it? No
          animal
          > in the world would come upon that idea. Their senses work as they should.
          So
          > what's wrong with us that we apparently have to do sensitivity training
          > exercises in order to be good enough to meet life.
          >
          > I think that with putting it that way we start from the wrong side.
          Perhaps
          > we could start from this question:
          > "What makes us so insensitive?" If we can see what makes us insensitive
          > aren't we sensitive already? Is there any need for sensitising the senses
          > then?
          >
          > I'm not against the exercises that Jinan mentions, far from it. They can
          be
          > nice to do. But when they're done with the motive: "... to make children
          to
          > use their senses more minutely and consciously." (see email 28/10), then I
          > think we're doing a wrong action because it seems that we want to improve
          > the self.
          >
          > First of all, who are we to think that children do not use their senses
          well
          > enough. I have often experienced that children's senses work at a level
          that
          > is sometimes quite amazing. I learn from them. But they don't see it as
          > something special, fortunately. They sometimes do not even communicate
          about
          > it because for them it is the most natural thing there is. I think they
          > partly lose that sensitivity because we are unable to "share" some of
          these
          > things with them. And they don't make a fuss about it. Only when you
          listen
          > very carefully you may catch a glimpse of their special sensitivities.
          They
          > live with it. They don't "expose" them all the time.
          >
          > Secondly, are we really improving sensitivity by focussing on the five
          > senses separately, as written in Jinan's outline. How do we know that
          there
          > are only these five senses? And why do we present them separately?
          > Could it be so that because we are not sensitive enough in the now that we
          > feel the need to invent special exercises. If these "experiments" come up
          > spontaneously, in a feeling of wanting to discover what this whole life
          and
          > everything in it is all about, I think it's allright. That's what children
          > and young animals are doing all the time.
          > But if they're set up with an aim, then I think there is this desire to
          > improve the centre.
          >
          > And putting too much aims in our life, isn't that one of the factors that
          > prevent us from being sensitive in the moment? We're rushing from one
          > activity to another in this desparate search for  more happiness that
          we're
          > almost totally neglecting what's going on in and around us.
          >
          > As I write these sentences I'm watching my young dog watching the drops of
          > rain falling on the pavement. She's fascinated by the pattern the wet
          drops
          > leave on the dry ground. She tries to capture them. Suddenly it seems
          she's
          > wondering where these drops are coming from. So she's watching the sky
          now.
          > She feels the raindrops on her head, in her eyes. She's standing up now
          and
          > tries to "taste" the raindrops. What a simple scene and yet, are we so
          > fascinated by the rain as this dog? Do we need special activities to make
          us
          > aware of the rain, the ladybird on my finger, the special quality in
          > someone's voice, the excitement on a child's face, the bodily sensations
          you
          > feel when sitting close to other people, the gestures of your partner and
          so
          > many other things that happen in one day. Why isn't all that simply enough
          > for us.
          >
          > I feel what is important, rather than a list of exercises or experiments,
          is
          > the right atmosphere in which teaching and learning can flower. Then so
          many
          > things come up spontaneously. Children are full of experiments. They're
          all
          > the time dealing with the little things of life as if they are the
          greatest
          > things on earth. Why do we kill that fascination by "educating" them along
          > very narrow patterns? Everything is here already. We just don't see it.
          That
          > doesn't mean that an exercise here and there from a book or from a friend
          > isn't worth trying. It's also part of life. But if it is done with a mind
          > full of amazement and wonder rather than with a mind that wants to improve
          > itself, then we keep things open.
          >
          > There's a beautiful paragraph in "On Education" p.123 by J. Krishnamurti
          >
          > "Life is a constant process of teaching and learning. To teach and to
          learn
          > is not possible if there is a motive, and when we have a motive the state
          of
          > teaching and learning is not possible. Now, watch this carefully: in the
          > very nature of teaching and learning there is humility. You are the
          teacher
          > and you are the taught. So there is no pupil and no teacher; there is only
          > teaching and learning which is going on in me. I am learning and I am also
          > teaching myself; the whole process is one. That is important. That gives
          > vitality, a sense of depth, and that is prevented if I have a motive. As
          > teaching-learning is important, everything else becomes secondary and
          > therefore, motive disappears. What is important drives away the
          > unimportant."
          >
          > If we have this feeling that we're insensitive I think two things may be
          > important: questioning and sharing, things that are essentially very
          > spontaneously.
          > How do you feel about all this?
          >
          > Kind regards,
          > Ann
          >
          >
          >




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