I have just returned from India, where Jane Hawkes and I have been attending the Global Education Conference, with the title Educating the Heart. The Conference took place at the Sri Sathya Sai University for Human Excellence at Muddenahalli, Karnataka, India.
Besides speaking about Values-based Education and Leadership, as sponsored by the IVET Foundation, I had the honour of speaking from my heart at the Conference’s Inaugural Session. It was important for me to recognise what my heart wanted to express, rather than what my head was urging me to say. In recent years, I have come to realise that it is when I speak from my heart I really connect with other people. As a psychotherapist, Jane explained to me that in this process I let go of ego and speak from the authentic core of my personality.
Among other things, I shared with the audience how a young boy had run up to me, when I was visiting a local Temple. He asked me my name and wanted to chat.
According to his mother he hadn’t seen a white skinned person in the flesh before and wondered why my skin was so pale. We had a great chat, and we made a connection through mutual curiosity, speaking from our hearts. His mother shared with me that she wanted her son to be able to hold up his head and be proud about who he is, able to respect and communicate with others — true education! Telling this simple story profoundly connected me to the audience.
The ability to connect with others is a skill, or perhaps a gift, that I encourage to be nurtured in parents and teachers. Einstein reminded us that, ‘A human being is part of a whole, called by us the Universe…’ He reminded us that we are delusional when we think we are separate from others. Our task is to embrace all in our circles of compassion. What a difference that would make to the quality of our relationships.
Educating the Heart
Speakers at the Conference returned again and again to the theme of educating the heart. I showed this photo below at the beginning of my talk about Values-based Education, which I took when on a boat in the Doubtful Sound in New Zealand. I love it and hope you do too.
How to think of your Heart
I think a way of considering our heart and its properties, is to see that there are three aspects to each heart.
Our three hearts:
Our 3 Hearts Simply Explained:
1. Your physical heart does a great job pumping energy rich blood around your body. It needs looking after so take good care of yourself. Have a good diet, take regular exercise and rest.
2. Your spiritual heart is the constant source of universal wise loving energy, available to all, your centre of peacefulness and compassion.
3. Your emotional heart is full of feelings, emotions and sensations which can change depending on your mood, situation and context. Your emotional heart can be influenced by a range of values which can be enhancing (care) or limiting (selfishness).
Our challenge in life is to work on our emotional heart, so that it can be aligned with our spiritual heart. We may then feel true happiness, win the form of love, peace and contentment. If we don’t take up the challenge, we become motivated by a desire to attach to what we can acquire, which ultimately brings discontentment and an existential vacuum — we lack a meaning and purpose for our lives.
Take Home Message
Thank you to the Conference organisers for a deeply rich experience in India.