11/6/07

To Reach and To Touch

Last night was my first night of class for the new block ( a block is 7 weeks of a semester, where the classes are one night a week for five hours). The class is Topics in Behavioral Science: Buddhism vs. Western Psychology.
When Rav was finishing up his degree we were fresh into our relationship & he was taking Social Psychology with the same instructor that I have for this current class. He told me fascinating things like the instructor brings his guitar into class every night and often sings as part of his lecture.
While he was taking the class, we ran into this instructor while we were out & about & he was wearing leather and stones. He had long hair and an air of calm about him. For all intents and purposes - a hippie, crunchy, granola, new-agey. And I was intrigued.

And everyone in the class that I am taking has taken many, many classes with him. They follow him from course to course. Sort of like dead-heads.
And I completely see why they do.

Anyway, the course he makes interesting. He shares his experience with being on the path. He is chockablock full of knowledge. And someone you simply don't mind listening to for 5 hours. We had a period of meditation during the class, followed by another period of meditation while he sang a mantra that was....beautiful.
My favorite thing of the evening, if I had to pick just one, was when he was discussing a conversation he had with a mentor on Buddhism (my instructor began practicing about 9 years ago). And his mentor said Spare people. Don't tell them that you are, your family and friends. Just spare them. No need to tell them. Be a Buddah.
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I was originally scheduled for an Economics class this block and quickly dropped it, after hearing rhetoric that a certain political party spouts. I fought with myself for much of the class and said that I need to stick it out.
I'm so glad I didn't.
I'd be missing out on one hell of a class.
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All of this got me thinking about how lucky I really am.
I work at a place that has a bunch of little munchkins who tell their mommies that Ms. Tabitha is my best friend.
And who have named their baby dolls Tabitha.
I learn just as much from them as they are (hopefully) learning from me.
I work at a place that is abundant with hugs and laughter and sunshine and smiles.
When I show up at a field trip destination my class runs up and hugs me.
I share the knowledge I have of teaching with the heart I now have from being a mommy.
How truly lucky I am to work like this.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I was watching a show on A & E or a similar channel about a parole board & it followed certain inmates for a specific amount of time.
I am fascinated with things like this because I love to watch people's behavior.
I listened to some men who were products of probably some really sadistic things in their pasts, they were mentally ill, and their reality was so far removed from the rest of the world.

One inmate was speaking about something that had happened to him and I don't know why but I thought to myself how horrible it must be to live a life day in and day out - and to never be touched. Whether it be physically or mentally/emotionally.

Days go by and we take for granted that we will come home to the waiting arms of our lovers, spouses, children, housemates, family members, etc.

We are touched by strangers who may walk by and say something nice - a mental hug, if you will.

We have computers and a network of people who offer up virtual hugs.

These things become like the air we breathe. They are so apart of our daily living that we forget that we could have it otherwise.

Imagine a week without one instance of physical contact - not having a heartfelt hug, holding someone's hand, having someone rub your back, etc.
Compound that by months and years.
Could you imagine how locked up, desolate, and lonely you would feel?
I'm not even sure I could go there in my mind.

I guess it is very easy for me to be sympathetic.
I don't work in a correctional facility.
I have not one inkling of what it must be like.
I know Rav would probably have his strong feelings on this.
But I can't push out the idea of that need.
How they need that too.

8 ripples in the pond:

thailandchani said...

Wow! You are a natural teacher! I really like the way you took that one basic principle and gave multiple examples.

I have no doubt what your gift is now! :)

As for your question about touch, emotional or physical: I can tell you exactly what it is like. I've been there. It's not theoretical to me.

Not prison.. but I have been as alone as you describe.

It can go one of two ways. Either we become stronger, more compassionate people, more in touch with our spirituality, or we become shriveled up and embittered.

There is a lesson in everything and while I believe completely that in an ideal world, everyone would have the community we want or desire, my life experience has taught me that things rarely manifest in the ideal.

What we do have is a choice about how we process it and the kind of life we choose to live as a result of it.

Tabba said...

thank you, Chani for your take.
for there are people in their own prisons.

and you're right. it's what we do with it...that makes all of the difference.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This was such a fine post, Tabba. I especially liked the advice not to tell people about being a Buddha but to BE one. Our world could do with less talking and more being.

You are the kind of person who should be teaching children, unlike so many who do so without the light and joy you seem to bring and derive from it. This bears out what I have always believed, that when you are on your right path, everything happens almost effortlessly and there is perfect giving and taking, which is true sharing.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

liv said...

Yes. yes. You encapsulated what I've been thinking about a lot lately: don't tell people who/what you are. show them.

flutter said...

I would want you teaching my children.

deb said...

Everyone needs to be touched, it is a basic human need. Sounds like you're feeling better too, must be all the munchkin hugs:)

kristi said...

This post really hit home with me. I have a nephew who will be in prison for the next 5 years. I try to write him a lot because letters keep them connected to the outside world. And my sister was the crappiest mother ever and I do feel she needs to share the blame for my nephew's bad choices. His story is very, very sad. He lived with me and my husband when he was 17 but he was so emotionally shut off that he was unreachable. (we are only 10 years apart, my nephew and I)

KC said...

The class sounds fascinating, as does the cult-like following of the instructor.

And there's nothing better than loving your job. How perfect things all turned out.