Judging by the huge increase in 'the self-development', 'Mind-Body-Spirit' and such sections in most high-street bookshops over the last few decades, the desire of humans to 'improve' themselves is growing. This should not surprise us, since there seems within us a inner need to 'grow', to fulfil our unique, individual, potential. Such, it is argued, is our reason for existing: an effect of the evolutionary imperative. The holographic principle ('as above, so below', as illustrated by 'Fractals', for example), also suggests that the collective development of mankind as a species reflects and is reflected in the personal, self-development, of individuals.
The more involved I have become in education, at whatever level, the more convinced I have become that the place of education is to fulfil the above role: to enable each unique human-being to find their place in the world and to reach their potential. Maslow called it self-actualization, Paramahansa Yogananda called it Self-Realization, but to label it or attempt to pin it down in detailed theory is to miss the point: to feel that life is worthwhile we each need to respond to the inner need within us to grow as a human being. Just as importantly, just as we are each unique, with different potentials, so our journey to fulfil that potential is also unique. When it comes to 'personal growth' there is no 'one size fits all' method, lesson or syllabus.
As each leaf on each tree seeks to fulfil its potential,
so each human does the same.
No two are the same.
Whether we call it spiritual seeking or whether it is a quest for happiness, relief from a medical condition or justified in some other way, the inner need within all of us is increasingly making itself know: not least now, at the start of the 21st Century, as the effects of climate change begin to take effect, as financial structures show the strain and human health concerns grow. Medicine has its place, but without a mind at peace with itself and the world, how can we truly feel healthy or happy? Which, begs the question: what do we mean by happiness?
Matthieu Ricard in his wonderful Happiness; A guide to developing life's most important skill says
"Enlightenment is genuinely within reach insofar as we all carry within us the potential of our true nature"
(Ricard 2003, p264)
Thus, seeking our true nature is what makes life worth living. My job as teacher, guide, mentor, healer, is merely to assist the process.
Copyright 2012 by Keith Beasley