Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Monday 30 July 2007

External and internal learning

Giving, ethics and worldview. For a week, we gathered along with more than 10,000 people from 32 countries to listen to the teachings of the Dalai Lama, in the Rothenbaum Tenniscourt, Hamburg. During the teaching, he touched upon the subject of education a few times. For me the concept of internal learning was an eye-opener. It is a necessary complement to all the technical and social knowledge we seem to focus on for sustainable development. It is also needed to walk- the- talk, more credibly, towards positive change. Finally it adds another dimension to ESD and e.g. Earth Charter Education.

Happy people, happy families and a happy society ultimately rely on our own individual efforts. In the end, a happy society is not about governments, laws, or economics”, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner said. He quoted Santideva, the famous Indian Buddhist philosopher (685-763 CE): “All suffering in this world originates from the wish for oneself to be happy. All happiness in this world originates from the wish to see others happy.

To develop a positive mental attitude, education plays a key role. Not only education about the external world, but also education about our inner world. The Dalai Lama explained, from his own experience, this inner education- a life long process of practicing and familiarizing ourselves, no matter what our religious background is, with basic human values. The most useful, is to focus on three learning areas: giving, ethics and worldview.

Giving relates to the qualities of a warm heart: empathy, deep listening, altruism, sharing and compassion. Ethics relates to the basic values that make our mind stronger, such as non-violence, equity, respect, tolerance, forgiveness, mental discipline. World view relates to a continuous mindfulness of the importance of dialogue, connectivity, holism, interdependence between people, nations and economies. And I'd like to add, ecological footprint!

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