Many of us, as adults, have felt that at some time we lost our connection with our inner lives. We searched desperately, and may still be searching for a way to get back in touch with that essential part of ourselves. We may not even be sure of what it is we are actually looking for, but we do know there is an aspect of ourselves that is more a part of who we really are than just our possessions, appearance, and all the other ways that we usually identify ourselves.We instinctively know that there is some way in which we are connected to the rest of this vast creation, with the essence of life itself, and with a power that sustains it all.
We all have an inner life. Some describe it as spirituality, while others think of it as a “still place within” where we can collect ourselves and gather strenght to meet the next challenge. Some think of the inner life as reverence for the mistery of creation or for a higher power that intelligently guides our lives. But whatever name we give it, the spiritual dimension of life, wich is so natural and obvious to most children, is fully acknowledge in a Living Wisdom School classroom.
For Education for Life spirituality isn’t defined as a particular dogma or creed. Thus, it isn’t “religious instruction” in the traditional sense. Rather, the focus is on the child’s personal, direct experience of universal spiritual truths such as kindness, compassion, empathy, loyalty, honesty, and courage. The key is Self-realization – the individual realization that happiness increases as we expand our awareness to embrace ever-broader realities.
“The children learn to connect with the spirit within, and to find answers within themselves, instead of looking to the world outside to tell them what to do, or to make them okay. The teachers help the children figure out what is going on inside themselves, instead of ignoring it.”
“Children develop an inner source of strength that they can draw on always. They get to discover who they really are.”LWS Parents, Palo Alto
When it seems appropriate, teachers point out that certain attitudes and actions increase the children’s inner sense of weel-being, while others choices take it away. Many parents have told how much they wish they had been encourage to learn these lessons when they were young.
“When our children are too excited or restless, we teach them to breathe properly and remind them of the link between breath control and the calmness of the mind and emotions. We let the children practice breathing that relax them before an important task or a baseball game, and they find out for themselves that it works.” Helen Purcell, Director of the Palo Alto Living Wisdom School, California
“Daily meditation at the school gave us an opportunity to slow down our minds, analyze our thought patterns, and help us get to know ourselves better. Learning the differences between positive and negative thought patterns was extremely valuable.”EFL Alumni
We help the children cultivate an inner life, respecting and supporting their intuitive awakening to a greater reality.
Every morning time should set apart for singing, quiet meditation, affirmations, prayer, yoga postures, and other activities that help the children experience for themselves what it feels like to be in harmony with a higher level of consciousness. In the classroom the students create a universal altar on which are symbols of all the world’s religions, plus objects and decorations the children individually find sacred and meaningful.
“My daughter, all on her own, put an altar in her room. She made it herself and changes it according to her mood. Right now it has on it pieces of colored glass, a little bear, a feather–nothing identifiably religious, just her own special icons. But she seems to understand that altar as a way of focusing her energy and appreciating and loving the world around her.”
LWS Parent, Palo Alto
“Educational authorities deem it impossible to teach spiritual principles in public schools because they confuse them with the variety of conflicting forms of religious faith. But if they concentrate on the universal principles of peace, love, service, tolerance, and faith that govern the spiritual life, and devise methods of practically growing such seeds in the fertile soil of the child’s mind, then the imaginary difficulty is dissolved. It is the greatest mistake to ignore this problem just because it is seemingly difficult.”Paramhansa Yogananda
“The premise that underlies “Education for Life” is that the only real purpose of life is to learn who we really are; and what we really are, beyond the body, the mind and the personality, is the soul, and the nature of the soul is joy.” Helen Purcell, Director of the Living Wisdom School in Palo Alto, California