The word ‘education’ holds a deep meaning for everyone. Parents save money for their kids’ future to ensure that their kids get the best education possible. The leaders of the world emphasize education in all ways possible. Education is truly the top priority of almost every nation. An honest education system will produce bold fearless leaders. On the other hand, any flaw in the system will create leaders of flaws as well. Education is the strongest tool we have to transform the world. The change begins in one’s mind before it becomes a ritual anywhere in the world. Education is the seed of that much needed change.
Education, of course, should not be restricted to just getting good grades and landing a secure, stable job. The essence of a true education lies in its power to educate the person, as a whole. Education, then, is a process by which awareness is achieved, leaders are born, social justice is created and as a result, the global consciousness is raised. Here are a few of my suggestions on the ways in which education can create a new consciousness in the world:
1. Sat-Chit-Ananda: This is a set of three Sanskrit words. Sat means the truth that is timeless and pure. Chit is the pure consciousness. Ananda refers to the bliss which we are born with. If our educational institutions make Sat-Chit-Ananda their motto, we will create a world which is just and honest in its approach. Of course, we don’t need to put these Sanskrit phrases all over the institutions. Rather, it should reflect in the aura of students and their actions.
2. Well-Being sheets: Just like schools hand out the grade sheet showing the academic performance of students, there should be a well-being sheet for every student. There can be various categories such as most enlivening smile, the most peaceful student, the most poetic soul and so on. Each student gets to vote for a student of his or her choice. The students who get chosen should be rewarded to encourage such well-being within their fellow students. These well-being sheets can also be used as an opportunity to create more activities focused on overall well-being, instead of gearing the students towards competition with each other.
3. Self-realization: Self realization, here, simply means that a musician shouldn’t be forced to become a doctor. Can you imagine if someone like Steve Jobs was forced to settle down in a 9 to 5 job? It would be tragic! The goal of education should be to discover the unique purpose of each and every student. We all are here to fulfill a purpose that no one else can fulfill. A mindful education would consist of cultivating the manifestation of self-realization which is already present in every soul. Albert Einstein puts it beautifully, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
ll सा विद्या या विमुक्तये ll
This is a Sanskrit phrase which refers to the education that liberates oneself. I am big believer in an education which helps one to unlearn all that is being forced upon our consciousness. We spend 25-35 years attaining an education and there’s a strong possibility that the rules we learn in our formative school years become a strong part of our conditioned self. Any education system which gives you the freedom to think independently rather than conforming to the old, dead rules of surviving in the world should be encouraged. The idea here is to create a fearless mind who speak the truth, not someone who knows how to memorize and regurgitate information.
5. The poetic self: If there is any fun left in this world, it’s only because of the people who don’t take themselves too seriously. I was at the Chopra Center, for the ‘Journey into Healing’ retreat recently. Deepak Chopra talked a little bit about how we should learn to laugh at ourselves, often. All educational institutions need to highly encourage poetry, music, meditation and various other forms of art which can help the students to remain alive and keep their creativity flowing. The real tragedy today is that the world is sharing stress as a common concern in our day to day life. Let’s work to make happiness, creativity and self-realization as the common goals among all!