True experiential learning includes what we experience on the inside!
Everything we think, intend, feel and do INSTRUCTS our inner lives. It is inescapable. In fact, our internal balances and stability, our internal health and well-being determine so much more that happens ‘on the outside’ than is generally given credit. So much of the world’s center of gravity revolves around ‘happiness’ found in external things and activities. But true happiness is simply not to be found there. A genuine sense of belonging, of purpose and deep contentedness begins on the inside. We know this!
We know this and yet, our educational bias is to all things observable outside us. We forget to put the observer in the picture! But how we ‘see’ the world, life, relationships, being human… depends on the ‘eyes’ we use. The better we know ourselves, the better we can know the world around us.
So…as educators (and the truth is we are all educators of ourselves by how we react and respond to life), the honor is to find and make the bridge between the external and internal worlds; to make it conscious.
It begins with an awareness and value for the rich and varied inner life of the human; asking not only –what do you see? But why is it so? And what does it cause inside you?
That’s where the true art of fostering multiple intelligences comes in. When children are encouraged this way and given tools to express themselves from inside out, they develop extraordinary insight, understanding and empathy. Emotional intelligence is but one part of this. There are many, many ‘intelligences’ natural to our design…forming a multi-dimensional and multi-leveled mosaic of human possibility.
We admire the courageous and intrepid explorers of our human history. But this is a journey requiring a great deal more courage. It is this frontier that truly awaits our participation and application within the context of our times NOW. Historical precedent will not help. This is new territory for us. We have never been here before.
It’s not about becoming self absorbed. It’s not about WHO you are but WHAT we are as human beings! What does it mean to be human? It is a question we all face together in the context of the 21st century. And the breakthroughs we each make in ourselves give service to others thereby, by contagion.
It begins, of course, by slowing down enough to listen… inside.