Good News from the International Theosophical Centre in Naarden, the Netherlands

A report sent by Arend Heijbroek, chairman of I.T.C. - Naarden.


Arend Heijbroek

Seminar “Revolution in Education” at ITC, 9 and 10 May 2015

It is hardly possible to summarize this seminar, followed by several days of dialogue on the same subject. The seminar attracted over sixty enthusiastic participants.

Speakers from different backgrounds gave their views on the challenges of education today.

Keynote speaker Prof. P. Krishna from India stressed that education should be engaged with a change in consciousness. Creating a true learning environment implies that the educator and the educated help each other to understand the role of the ego, which corrupts all when we identify with it. Krishna listed eight points as a new vision of education.

Anastasia Dingarten started with the changing views of Greek philosophers on education, which brought her to ideas of Maria Montessori. Important aspects include the inner compass of the child, which is always right, and cosmic education, which implies being connected with the world. Children can only connect with others when they are deeply connected with themselves. For children deep attention is needed in order to connect with knowledge.

Johanna Vermeulen of the Theosophical Society Point Loma gave an interesting introduction of the Raja Yoga Education course for adults. Practical applications of Theosophical concepts support the forces of the heart. Education of children should help them to come out. This includes: always answering their questions, bringing them into contact with universal ideas, as well as fairy tales, drama and songs. Johanna stressed that compassion, knowing we are one with all that lives, implies that we are aware of our privileged environment. This cannot be without consequences.

Hans von Lengerke introduced two documentaries on Krishnamurti schools in India, among the best schools in the country. It was inspiring to witness how teacher and children are actively involved to bring about whole, free and compassionate human beings.

Javier Gómez Rodriguez focussed on the book of life, as explained by J. Krishnamurti. This is the book of time, of consciousness. The art of life is the art of questioning. The content of consciousness was deeply explored, the impact of time, of its drivers, such as fear and the search for pleasure. Stillness was the beginning of school days. Observing the movement of consciousness helps to order thought during school days.  Life is relationship. Noting exists on its own!

Hans Gerding questioned the claim of nowadays universities that they educate for independent thinking. Over time science shifted its focus from the essence of nature towards the construction of nature, supporting the interest of industry and economy. As a result there is an over-valuation of rationality. The way forward should be to complement traditional scientific research with other states of consciousness.

The dialogues allowed us to explore deeper into essential questions, such as what should be right education? How can the human potential flower, unfold? Some remarks:

•    What is the role of (Theosophical or other) concepts; is it a support or a hindrance (when considering “Truth is a pathless land”?
•    How to bring self-knowledge into education? How to help children in this respect? Find out yourself: what is true and what is false. Goodness is based on self-knowledge.
•    Learn how to mend the horse of the ego, but also the challenges of modern technology, communication, such as Iphones.
•    How to awaken the inner compass, intelligence, within the child?
•    Flowering, awakening intelligence requires protection, less influenced by the environment. This is nothing “soft” about that!
•    Start schools on a small scale, with truly dedicated and well-prepared teachers. Start at a young age.
•    Learning in communion with nature. Observing nature it can be a teacher, and makes connections.
•    The religious mind is a learning enquiring mind. A learning mind allows doubt, focussing on the questioner’s questions, always being aware of the limitation of knowledge. Encourage curiosity and questioning.

The joy of working together

The seminar was jointly organised by the Dutch Section of the TS Adyar, the International Theosophical Centre Naarden, and Krishnamurti Information Centre Bilthoven. Members of the Theosophical Society Point Loma were actively involved during the seminar and part of the dialogues.

It is inspiring to note what we have in common, but also where we differ. The latter is of equal importance. It also makes our own role, our identity, much clearer, which is a good basis for further cooperation.

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