Monday, November 02, 2015

shamanic engagement in reality...

Yesterday at our local UU fellowship, one of the members described his experience in the paranormal. What it all comes down to is this: Some people choose to watch for and make use of and find meaning in the coincidental events that happen in all our lives, and some choose to regard such things as meaningless and unworthy of attention.

I was reminded during the shaman's presentation of Froebel, and how a sense of wonder can have profound impact. Schools in which the development of the sense of beauty is not a conscious concern is no school to which I would send kids. The awakening to beauty through study of nature and the creation of form is a gateway to the investigation of the interconnectedness of all things.

Also, yesterday, I took my finishing of boxes out of doors, so that I was applying Danish oil amid falling leaves as our seasons turn.

Like leaves is so easy to fall one way or the other. We can nest in our homes and places of employment oblivious to the beauty that surrounds us, with our minds completely engaged in literal things, or we can embrace the poesis that lurks at the center of our souls. A shamanic framework like that practiced by our presenter in the UU fellowship this Sunday compels one to look for coincidences present in our daily lives and to use those to explore meaning.

The greatest tragedy of modern American education is that educational policy makers have placed the standardized test at the center of it all, when instead, engagement in nature and in the realization of the beauty that surrounds us should by all rights and by all necessity, form that essential core.

Now, even the Republicans who pushed No-Child-Left-Behind legislation in the first place are insisting that too much is too much. The average number of standardized tests taken by American students from pre-school through 12th grades is 112 or 8 per year. This figure does not include practice tests or time spent in test prep.  According to Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, the original legislation was to mandate 17 tests over the course of a student's school career. He blames the Federal Government for having created an accountability system of rewards and punishments that has led states to give students additional tests to prepare for federal tests. Regardless of which party is most to blame for the current state, both parties have a responsibility to bring standardized testing into check.

 If senses and perceptions are open just a crack, one of the things we begin to understand is that things are not always exactly as they appear, and that there are interconnections that lead a man (or woman) to engage in wonder.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning likewise.

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