I had been feeling a little less centered in my heart than usual, a direct effect from facing many challenges in a short period of time. We all go through difficult periods, though navigating our way through them with grace and ease can be slippery. Luckily for me I had the great fortune to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama, once again. Since his inaugural visit to Vancouver in 2004 then again in 2007 my life has gained great inspiration from attending events and talks with H.H. This year I attended Educating the Heart: Creativity and Well-Being and Heart-Mind Education, a part of the Vancouver Peace Summit.
I navigated my way through the morning crowds and the rain Tuesday morning super focused to get to the Orpheum on time and to be receptive to the forum and energy. After being on the verge of having my heart shut down once again it is sufficient to say that all traces of my angst have been dissolved into bliss. Enlightenment is infectious after all.
The morning forum on Creativity and Well-Being started with a half hour presentation by the Blue Man Group. Having gone to one of their inspiring and immensely entertaining performances in NYC I was thrilled to have them present on creativity at this event. Creativity and spirituality are two of my biggest passions that I relentlessly pursue. The Blue Man Group proposed the question worthy of some consideration: What is creativity? Is it a mystery or can some parts of it be understood? The Blue Man Group comically demonstrated how creativity is where we focus our mindset.
Maintaining and connecting to our innocence balances our ever evident hero mentality, they got the entire sold out Orpheum to go back to childhood, and re-connect with the feelings of insecurity, awkwardness, and irrelevance and encouraged us all to focus that awareness on red clown noses handed out to us when we arrived at the venue. With all of those feelings rekindled then channeled on to those clown noses protruding from our faces, we were encouraged to connect and interact with the people around us with their noses on representing that vulnerability. That state can be frequented easily, with or without a clown nose. Don’t suppress it!
As the forum on Creativity and Well-Being progressed I couldn’t help but swell up with warmth and fondness for the Dalai Lama. His presence seems to evoke a spiritual growth spurt every time I see him live. Some key points from the forum for me were in discussing education systems, the emphasis is on reading, writing and arithmetic. The delegates discussed the importance to expand the schools’ focus to adapt 3 other arms: reflection -a skill that enables the brain to keep growing beyond childhood, a skill required to train the mind and to liberate creativity, relationships – a necessary skill to develop in order for there to truly be peace on this planet, and resilience.
…Compassion and creativity are the ultimate in keeping the brain healthy…
Ekhart Tolle was an engaging speaker, as always. He shared a humorous story of a soccer statistic he read in the paper that morning. During a kickoff the player that pauses after the whistle is blown before kicking has a higher likelihood of scoring than the kicker that goes for it right away. This process fortifies the creative process, it redirects our attention to deeper levels of our being, where all power resides. Conceptual elements dissolve and we join forces with the power of stillness. From stillness comes universal power that can be put into form. Stillness was defined as non-conceptual intelligence. Though, relying on tuning into the stillness is not enough, it was noted that it takes 10,000 hours to master something… To get the humorous version, you have to hear Ekhart tell the story, you are not getting it here!
To cultivate creative power you need to ‘do’ something, this enables our imagination to work. Collaboration in schools is commonly considered ‘cheating’. Does this raise an issue of human rights? Has education become de-personalized? In problem formation creative thinking evolves. The school does this for the children, leaving them with an academic focus to solve problems that gives little or no opportunity to develop creativity or strengthen collaborative skills.
So what does teaching to the whole child look like? The Blue Men Group have started a school in NYC, the Blue School, that teaches to the whole child with an emphasis on creativity and compassion. With these conditions in place then the child is empowered to learn and has an innate curiosity that comes from deep within. A world with children that have been raised in this environment would be harmonious and sustainable I am sure.
The Dalai Lama said that the 20th century was a century of bloodshed and violence, millions of people were killed. May the 21st century be the century of peace. Intelligence is a source of conflict as we all fight to defend our views. I am down with focusing my awareness towards my heart rather than my intellect. Are you?
People who are the happiest are the ones who make others happy. Accept children exactly where the are at, do not be controlling and demand that the be successful in the world. To be happy human beings how do we deal with emotions inside such as desperation, fear and anxiety? We all have these emotions and for me I have a mediation practice that keeps that all in check. How do we educate our children to develop these skills? I feel relieved that H.H. addressed 16,000 students after the forum and discussed tolerance. Our children are our future, and they are receiving the empowerment needed to take charge and make this century the century of peace. He talks about how war is outdated. If we all had this message when we were young from a role model such as H.H. how would our planet look now?
By no means am I developing curriculum though the forum gave me renewed energy, motivation, and insights that I can bring home and integrate into my family. My heart is feeling nourished, swollen with inspiration and holds a feeling of gratitude to have had such an inspiring morning.
Vancouver Peace Summit
Nobel Laureates In Dialogue
September 26-29, 2009
For more information on how schools may be killing creativity, check out Delegate Sir. Ken Robinson on TED HERE.