The Future of Education: To Focus on AI or MI ?

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” ― Albert Einstein

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Right now two starkly different visions of “personalized learning” are being put forward by education reformers around the world. One model has the development of Artificial Intelligence at the center, creating A.I. programs to teach children one-to-one via computers.

Schools and teachers that take the M.I. approach are aligned with how children naturally learn, focusing on developing children’s creative skills and interacting with one’s local community. The goal is to help each child actualize their unique human potential and Multiple Intelligences (a mix of social, emotional, linguistic, mathematical, musical, physical, ecological and visual arts capabilities).

This requires that children sing, dance, paint, communicate, read for pleasure, play freely, collaborate on projects, solve real-world problems, build strong relationships and connect meaningfully with the natural world.

On the other hand (as this BBC video below shows), the A.I. approach being designed by Silicon Valley pioneers provides a way to have students learn primarily from increased screen time with computers. Professional teachers don’t need to be physically present with the children. There is much less social interaction, less art focus, reduced communication and very little group learning.

The A.I. teaching system is expensive to produce but very effective for raising test scores. Students will be observed by cameras. Private data is collected for each learner, to be stored off site and analyzed.

The goal of this model is for tech companies to collect “big data” from children, developing algorithms to construct A.I. that can one day teach millions of students at their own pace, simultaneously. It’s called personalized learning, but actually its not very personal. The students’ main teacher will be a computer program.

The second model of “learner-centered” M.I. education has been in development for hundreds if not thousands of years, rooted in apprenticeship learning approaches. It is more community focused, with more communication and mastery learning alongside adults and peers.

The focus is simultaneously on group learning and each child’s growth and development, helping each learner’s multiple intelligences to grow and thrive while building strong relationships with others.

The M.I. approach is related to the model Maria Montessori pioneered over a century ago, which has shown great success in Finland. Not much technology is needed, as human relationships, self-directed learning and real world interactions are central. Not much data is collected. But children learn to work together creatively, collaborate, grow their skills and experience a sense of community. This video from the Mission Hill project shows how such an approach works.

These two models could be available to all children in the very near future. While very different in approach, both support a transition away from high-stakes testing, along with teacher and text book centered education.

With direct A.I. “hyper-personalized” instruction via computers, testing and data collection will now happen constantly, every day. Children are no longer compared with each other, thereby reducing test taking anxiety. They will probably do well on standardized tests with all that daily practice.

With an M.I. and local community focus tests are not even considered very important. Developing each child’s creativity and unique potential is the focus. Test scores will rise naturally, but many of the skills young people develop can not be easily measured.

Another example of the M.I. approach (video above), Boston Arts Academy provides a mix of academic and arts classes. The high school’s graduates do well on tests, and are valued both by colleges and employers. I worked on a similar project in the early 1990s, at Stanford University.

Unfortunately, for the last two decades most nations have put more emphasis on computers and test scores than creativity, community learning and whole child development. If we want our children to develop their full potential we need to think deeply about the kinds of learning tasks, environments and opportunities we provide for them.

~Christopher Chase


Symphonic Intelligence: The Next Revolution in Learning?  * The Circle of Courage – Native American Model of Education * Real Learning is a Creative Process *  Let a Child’s Spirit Be Free to Unfold – M. Montessori * How Schools Kill Creativity – Ken Robinson * Self-Direction is the Key to Mastery  * Understanding How Our Brains Learn  * Toward a More Creative & Holistic Model of Education * Educational Malpractice – The Child Manufacturing Process * Real Learning is a Creative Process  *

Multiple Intelligences

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システム革命、システム学習 – Systems Revolution in Learning

The systems view of science focuses on relationships, describing a universe where everything moves and flows like a river…


All of the Japanese text here is from this article at the Change Agent website:「学習する学校」レポートより:「学習する組織」のアプローチ.  It is followed by a translation in English.



Over the past 100 years, the view of science has undergone a major shift that can be called the “Systems Revolution”. It originated in feedback theory in engineering, developed in the fields of quantum mechanics and biology of physics, and now permeates cognitive behavioral science and social science. This scientific view is based on the dynamic “living system” theory, not the static “mechanical system theory”.

In the Newtonian view, the world is made up of things. In [the unified] scientific view called “New Science” [or Systems Science], when you know the reality of systems, you pay attention to “relationships” rather than “things”.

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Substances that make up human hands are completely replaced in a few months, and the human body is also replaced in a few years. It can be said that people are not things, but always a process or ability to continue to regenerate, the human body is like a river, and we are “things” by looking at snapshots of structures that are always flowing.

However, a substance basically results from relationships. For this reason, biologists say that “living systems” are self-generating. “Living systems” all have the ability to create themselves, so that they can self-organize and perceive the environment—where life can find its meaning. It is a process. 

The view of the world of “living systems” does not deny the Newtonian view but includes it. The problem lies in our implicit habit of trying to understand everything through the Newtonian ideas of “things” and “machines”. 




・画一性ではなく、多様性が奨励される―多様な知能(multiple intelligence)や学習スタイル





When we re-examine school education as a “living system”, the learning process comes “alive”.

  • Learner-centered learning occurs, not teacher-centered.
  • Diversity is encouraged, not uniformity—multiple intelligence and learning style.
  • Understand the world as interdependence and change, instead of memorizing “lists of facts and correct answers.”
  • Search for “use theory” (practical logic to be used in reality) of all people involved in the education process.
  • Reintegrate education within a social network of friends, family, and local communities

If you think of school as a “living system”, you can see that it is constantly evolving. It is the question of the learner who participates in helping the evolution.  Also, teachers’ jobs are the same, and it is important to support the learning process that children have naturally.




・ 住民と学校の双方が、学校-地域の相互依存の関係を認識する必要がある。

・ 学校はまた、あらゆる年齢層の学習促進をする格好の場所であり、地域の「生涯学習者」にとっての生涯学習促進の環境を作る役割がある。










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学習する組織は、上記の5つのディシプリンを中核とおくものの、その他の学習コンセプトも取り入れている。例えば、「多様な知性(multiple intelligence)」、「思考の習慣(habits of mind)」などがその例である。


A “learning school” can be considered at the level of at least three systems. 

・Community to learn

・Both residents and schools need to be aware of the interdependence between schools and communities.

・The school is also a good place to promote learning for all ages, and has the role of creating an environment for promoting lifelong learning for local “lifelong learners”.

The concept of “learning organization”, which has already achieved results in the business world, is the backbone of the “learning school” program.

“Learning Organization” is an organizational and human resource development approach integrated by Peter Senge, senior lecturer at MIT Sloan Business School. Ford, GE, Shell, BP, and many other companies around the world Introduced in executive training.

“Learning organization” refers to “an organization that continues to improve the ability and awareness of teams to effectively achieve their goals”. The “5 disciplines” (the total of wisdom and skills to learn and acquire) listed in the learning organization are as follows.

971854_575795465785620_1014001935_n1) Mental model – “Mental model” is the “premise of people and things in the world” that each person has, including mindsets and paradigms. Pay attention to your mental model and its consequences, and if it doesn’t work, look for the defects in your mental model, rather than seeking the cause outside.

2) Team learning / communication – “Team learning” is a process of exploring their mental model and the whole picture of problems through dialogue with people inside and outside the team and organization, and matching the intentions of the parties concerned. Above all, the “dialog” is a series of methods that focus on “speaking with real intentions” and searching the true cause and purpose of the problem by raising the state of awareness in the group.

3) Systems thinking – “Systems thinking” is a way of looking at things as a series of connected elements and focusing on the quality and interaction of the connections. It is often applied as a method for global optimization and complex problem solving. It is also the idea that forms the basis of the “living system” theory.


4) Self-mastery – “Self-mastery” means having a clear vision of “how you want to be” and “what you want to create”, changing the tension between vision and reality into creative power, This is an intrinsic motivation process.

5) Shared vision – “Shared vision” is the process of creating a vision that can be shared and permeated as an organization by superimposing the visions of management and members. Once a vision is shared, it shows the organization’s behavior, results, and learning guidelines as a compass.

Of these five disciplines, 1) and 2) are “capabilities of co-creative dialogue”, 3) are “capabilities of understanding complexity”, and 4) and 5) are “capabilities of nurturing will” In an organized learning organization, it is important to develop these three abilities in a balanced manner.

The learning organization has the above five disciplines at its core, but incorporates other learning concepts. For example, “multiple intelligence”, “habits of mind”, and the like.




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The Prison Of Your Mind: Sean Stephenson

“The true prison is not surrounded by barbed wire, or electrical fences, the real prisons do not have guards. The real prison is up here. And we all got it.. True freedom is dropping down out of that mind. And what my wife has taught me is to drop into your hearts..” ~Sean Stephenson

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The following is a transcript of Sean Stephenson‘s Ted Talk The Prison of Your Mind recorded at Ironwood State Prison, in 2014.

I’m trying to compose my blog post for tonight, and I’m thinking it sounds really believable that I went to prison and hugged a bunch of really nice prisoners, while I DJed busy, threw on some records, and Richard Branson told me where I can score some free heroin. True story.

Lesson number 1: Never believe a prediction that doesn’t empower you. When I was born, the doctors told my parents that I would be dead within the first 24 hours of my life.

35 years later, all those doctors are dead and I am the only doctor that remains.

Never believe a prediction that doesn’t empower you. How many predictions have been thrown at you your whole life? If you believe predictions that do not empower you, you will wither away and die, either physically die or your spirit will die as you just walk around the world like a carcass that is just following the masses.

You will be given a lot of titles in your life. You will be told so many different things. You must only listen to that which empowers you. I have a belief that has served me in my life, and that is that everyone is rooting for me to win, even those that do not know it.

And I’m not here today to tell you that I’ve had adversity in my life and so therefore, I know what you are going through. I don’t have a clue what any of you are going through in your lives. I did not grow up in your neighborhoods more than likely. I did not have your set of parents, nor do I live in your body. I’ve not had the events that you’ve had happened to you.

I can tell you I am only an expert on one thing, and that’s how to be me, and I do it well. But it’s not come easily.

I’ve gone through things that I don’t wish upon anyone in this room. I’ve had metal rods pulled out of bone marrow while I was awake. I’ve had jaw infections where teeth had to be extracted and I can no longer chew my own food. I have to get up every day and be showered and cared for physically by another human being. Fortunately, she is a gorgeous woman that I married.

I get stared at everywhere I go, and the moment people meet me, if they don’t know a thing about my résumé, they automatically, just by the human nature, think to themselves: “Oh, it must be so difficult to be that man!”

If somebody pities me, they’re wasting their time, because I have chosen a life of strength, and I am here to help you choose a life of strength, but I’m going to tell you, we’ve talked about drugs here. You know what the worst drug that ever hit the human race is? Pity.

The moment you feel sorry for another person, or the moment you feel sorry for yourself, you’re hosed. You’re totally, completely frozen in potential.

We cannot pity ourselves, we cannot pity you. Yes, I get to go home today. Yes, I get to have what many would call freedom, but I’m going to talk to you about freedom, about what I really choose to see freedom as. Because like I said, you cannot believe predictions that do not empower you.

The second lesson today is: you are not your condition. 

You’re not. I’m not disabled. Sure, I’ll take the handicapped parking privileges but that does not define me as a man. Not able? I’ve been looked at and treated my whole life as if I am not able. I have had to rise above and show people that the only disability is one’s refusal to adapt. You have to adapt to whatever environment you’re in, even if it’s prison.

And what does adaption look like? I think it looks like celebration. Because when you meet people that are celebrating their life, you want to be around them, you want to learn from them, you want to do business with them, you want to hire them.

Look! If you do not want to be seen as a prisoner or a convict when you get out of this, or even while you’re in this, that is an attitude — it is a belief in yourself that you bring value to the human race, no matter what your current condition, title, or stature is.

Because if I believe that I am disabled, I would wither up, I would be shy, I would be insecure, I would be afraid, I would act like I need your help. And the rest of humanity would be OK with that.

But I choose something else. I choose to be strong, I choose to be a leader, I choose to have words to move this planet. I’ll tell you why I was born. And I hope it inspires you to find out why you were born.

I was born to rid this world of insecurity. Because when a human being is insecure, they do stupid stuff. When we feel like we’re not enough, we chase external validation, and external objects to try to tell us we’re enough. Thank you.

You are enough. I’ll tell you I’ve made a pledge as a therapist to love all human beings, no matter what they’ve done. Because deep down inside, I’ve found that every human being just wants to be loved, even if they’re tough, even if they’re scary, even if they’re viscous. You get them in the right position, at the right time, they’ll tell you the truth. They just want to be loved.

Do you know who they want the love from the most? Not their moms, not their dads, not their wardens. None of these people. They want to be able to look in the mirror and love themselves. And if you can figure that out, then you’re going somewhere.

But you cannot feel sorry for yourself. When you feel sorry for yourself, you will wither. But there’s a contradiction to feeling sorry for yourself, it’s the opposite of extreme, it’s what I call ‘bullying yourself, beating yourself up, being your own enemy and telling yourself that all those predictions, those negative opinions, they’re true, they’re right, you’re washed up, failure. You’re not going to amount to anything.

Bullying yourself is the most dangerous thing that you could do. You cannot afford to pity yourself, you cannot afford to bully yourself, you have to love yourself.

Because the last lesson that I’m going to share with you today, that is I’m going to teach you what the real prison is. It’s not surrounded by barbed wire, or electrical fences, the real prisons do not have guards. The real prison is up here. And we all got it. We all have a mind that chatters, so often won’t stop chattering.

Do you know where your salvation is? It’s not outside these walls. I’ve met so many people (that are so extremely successful and famous) that are in prison, because they’re stuck in their minds, bullying themselves, pitying themselves.

True freedom is dropping down out of that mind. And what my wife has taught me is to drop into your hearts, into mastering this beating thing that is more than just sending blood to the extremities.

What is it doing? It’s sending emotional possibilities, infinite possibilities of choice in our behavior, in our life, in our attitude. When you love yourself, whether you’re sleeping on a prison cot, or in a mansion, whether you have food in your belly, or you don’t know when your next meal is coming, when you love yourself, when you learn to master your emotions, then and only then are you free.

I love you, each and every one of you, and I wish you freedom within these walls.

God bless!


Posted in Creative Systems Thinking, cultural creatives, Life's Purpose, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

How We Learn to Compartmentalize

“People normally cut reality into compartments, and so are unable to see the interdependence of all phenomena. To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality..” ~Thich Nhat Hanh


“I think the difficulty is this fragmentation. All thought is broken up into bits. Like this nation, this country, this industry, this profession and so on… And they can’t meet. Wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us.” ~David Bohm

Modern educational institutions were designed to train children to see and experience the world divided up into parts, thereby disconnecting them from the unified whole (of nature, community, universe) that in truth we all belong to.

Science, art, history, literature, math, music are presented to children as being completely separate from one another. They don’t learn how these are in truth interdependently connected. Children are tested, measured (and compared with each other) for how well they can remember what they were taught. This creates a further sense of alienation and disconnection.

Over time, our consciousness compartmentalises, so that by adulthood we come to see ourselves as individuals separate from the universe. We learn to experience life and see the world divided up into parts, as fed by the media and taught when we were institutionalized (as children).

Think about that. Let it sink in. Most of us were institutionalized as children.

And so civilization’s people have been trained to disconnect from the wisdom of our bodies, our spirit, our creative intuitions and Nature. Alienated from our deeper selves (and the world around us) many feel dissatisfied, fearful and lonely.

This is how we were programmed to think, act and be. To imitate, regurgitate, fear and obey. Then to fill the void within us by fitting into social molds, doing meaningless work for those with more power (and money) and consuming, endlessly consuming…

Wars, violence, nationalism, ecological destruction, consumerism, racism, suicide, school shootings, religious extremism, widespread addictions to cell phones, pornography, food, drugs, work, guns, superficial sex, career status, alcohol and shopping are all attempts to fill the emptiness in our hearts.

Being out of touch with the interrelated structure of reality creates a spiritual void and perceptual blindness, as Martin Luther King, Jr. has described. It’s a delusion we must awaken from, because, “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.”

Much of the chaos and destruction we see reported in the media is rooted in how billions of compartmentalized human minds are responding to the alienation, standardization, ignorance and division that has become normalized with our high-tech civilization.

People are reacting fearfully to the experience of not being fully whole, not fully connected to our communities, to this incredible Universe and the wider Community of Nature that supports us (and in truth brought each of us into being).

“We live in an age where the delusions and ignorance of modern civilizations have become the global norm.  Most of the problems in our world stem from how “civilized” humans have compartmentalized life in such a way as to hide reality from ourselves and other people. A fantasy view of reality, what Buddhists call samsara, has been packaged, marketed and sold to the masses by those in positions of influence and power.

This has been done on purpose, has been the “operating code” of  hierarchical human civilizations for thousands of years. Our leaders don’t want us to know what is really going on, with anything. This was as true of pharaohs and kings in the past as it is of large corporations, governments, billionaires, military leaders and media elites now.

The compartmentalization of knowledge and intentional hiding of facts is how those in power maintain control. They hide how food is produced, how wars create future terrorists (and civilian casualties), how education is being intentionally dumbed down, how the earth’s ecosystems are being destroyed, how politicians are corrupt, how democracy has been rigged, how debt enslaves people and wealth is accumulated unfairly.” Source: Awakening from the Cult of Ignorance

How then to awaken from this compartmentalization of our consciousness? How to more deeply experience the beauty of our existence, understanding how we are embedded in a miraculous ever evolving and living cosmos?

How to become wiser as a species? How to creatively transform our institutions and cultures, so as to solve our problems and teach our children the deeper truth of their wholeness?

THIS is the challenge of our times.

~Christopher Chase~


 “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.” ~Albert Einstein

“A basic principle of the indigenous world view is that all things in the universe are connected.  We believe that we are a part of everything and that everything in the natural world is alive—conscious—even the stones, the Earth, the stars. Westerners seem to isolate themselves and think they are separate from their environment. They believe that portions of creation can be isolated from other parts; that one set of people is separate from another set; or that people are different from the animals. In the Western view, it doesn’t matter what happens to animals because we’re apart from them; superior, actually. In the indigenous world view—or what I would call “reality”—we are all a part of creation. The universe is unified.  It’s inaccurate to think you can separate pieces out. Human beings are the only species who have forgotten that.  When we remember, we live in balance and strive for harmony with all things. That is the most fundamental difference between the Western and indigenous world view. ~Spencer Martin (Se Olum)

Nature Family


Posted in Creative Systems Thinking, education reform, Learner-centered education, nondual awareness, zen | 9 Comments

War is a Racket – Major General Butler, 1935

war racket
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street.
I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.
Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.” [1]
“WAR is a racket. It always has been.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War I a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few — the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.
And what is this bill?
This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.
For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out..” [2]
War is a Racket, 1935 
Smedley Darlington Butler (July 30, 1881 – June 21, 1940) was a United States Marine Corps major general, the highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. During his 34-year career as a Marine, he participated in military actions in the Philippines, China, in Central America and the Caribbean during the Banana Wars, and France in World War I. Butler later became an outspoken critic of U.S. wars and their consequences, as well as exposing the Business Plot, an alleged plan to overthrow the U.S. government.
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What Chelsea Clinton Saw in Haiti 8 Years Ago

“The incompetence is mind numbing,” Chelsea Clinton told her parents. “The UN people I encountered were frequently out of touch … anachronistic in their thinking at best and arrogant and incompetent at worst.. There is NO accountability in the UN system or international humanitarian system.”

Looking back now, the US-led response to Haiti’s earthquake on January 12, 2010 was a disaster from which Haitians have never recovered. But at the time the U.S. media presented it as a great success.
That perception was not by accident. In 2015, secret e-mails released by the Obama State Department revealed that top officials had mounted a successful media campaign to counter negative stories, while a brutally honest review by Secretary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea was kept quiet…
Excerpt from 2015 Politico article:
“We waged a very successful campaign against the negative stories concerning our involvement in Haiti,” Judith McHale, the under-secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, wrote on February 26, 2010…
But one person even closer to [Secretary of State Clinton] was singing a different tune—very, very quietly. On February 22, after a four-day visit to the quake zone, Chelsea Clinton authored a seven-page memo which she addressed to “Dad, Mom,” and copied their chief aides…
Chelsea Clinton was blunt in her report, confident the recipients would respect her request in the memo’s introduction to remain an “invisible soldier.”
She had first come to the quake zone six days after the disaster with her father and then-fiancé, Mark Mezvinsky. Now she was returning with the medical aid group Partners in Health, whose co-founder, Dr. Paul Farmer, was her father’s deputy in his Office of the UN Special Envoy for Haiti. What she saw profoundly disturbed her.
Five weeks after the earthquake, international responders were still in relief mode: U.S. soldiers roamed Port-au-Prince streets on alert for signs of social breakdown, while aid groups held daily coordination meetings inside a heavily guarded UN compound ordinary Haitian couldn’t enter.
But Haitians had long since moved on into their own recovery mode, many in displacement camps they had set up themselves, as responders who rarely even spoke the language, Kreyòl, worked around them, oblivious to their efforts.
“The incompetence is mind numbing,” she told her parents. “The UN people I encountered were frequently out of touch … anachronistic in their thinking at best and arrogant and incompetent at worst.” “There is NO accountability in the UN system or international humanitarian system.”
The weak Haitian government, which had lost buildings and staff in the disaster, had something of a plan, she noted. Yet because it had failed to articulate its wishes quickly enough, foreigners rushed forward with a “proliferation of ad hoc efforts by the UN and INGOs [international nongovernmental organizations] to ‘help,’ some of which have helped … some of which have hurt … and some which have not happened at all.”
The former first daughter recognized something that scores of other foreigners had missed: that Haitians were not just sitting around waiting for others to do the work.
“Haitians in the settlements are very much organizing themselves … Fairly nuanced settlement governance structures have already developed,” she wrote, giving the example of camp home to 40,000 displaced quake survivors who had established a governing committee and a series of sub-committees overseeing security, sanitation, women’s needs and other issues.
“They wanted to help themselves, and they wanted reliability and accountability from their partners,” Chelsea Clinton wrote. But that help was not coming. The aid groups had ignored requests for T-shirts, flashlights and pay for the security committee, and the U.S. military had apparently passed on the committee’s back-up plan that they provide security themselves.
“The settlements’ governing bodies—as they shared with me—are beginning to experience UN/INGO fatigue given how often they articulate their needs, willingness to work—and how little is coming their way.”
That analysis went beyond what some observers have taken years to understand, and many others still haven’t: that disaster survivors are best positioned to take charge of their own recovery, yet often get pushed aside by outside authorities who think, wrongly, that they know better…

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Moving Beyond Meditation

“Meditation is a lie. When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don’t see the innate perfection of the present moment.” ~Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
Tibetan Buddhist teacher Mingyur Rinpoche (shown in photo above) shares a profound teaching that he learned while visiting his father Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
“For the next few months I continued to visit my father every day, and he taught me more about the Great Perfection. Often times we wouldn’t talk at all as we sat together. My father (Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche) would simply sit in front of the large window and gaze off into the sky as I sat quietly by his side and tried to meditate.
I desperately wanted his approval, so I always did my best imitation of what I thought a good meditator should do. I sat bolt upright and tried to make it look like I was absorbed in some deep experience, while in actuality I was just repeating a mantra in my mind and trying not to get lost in thought.
Occasionally, I would open my eyes and peek up at my father, hoping that he had noticed my good meditation posture and ability to sit still for so long.
One day, as we sat together in silence, I glanced up at him in the middle of my meditation and was surprised to find him gazing down at me. “Are you meditating, son?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” I said proudly, filled with joy that he had finally noticed. My answer seemed to amuse him greatly. He paused for a few moments and then said gently, “Don’t meditate.”
My pride vanished. For months, I’d been doing my best to copy all the other meditators who came to be with my father. I learned some short prayers, sat in the right posture, and tried hard to still my turbulent mind. “I thought I was supposed to meditate,” I said with a shaky voice.
“Meditation is a lie,” he said. “When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don’t see the innate perfection of the present moment.”
Pointing out through the window, he continued, “Look out into the blue sky. Pure awareness is like space, boundless and open. It’s always here. You don’t have to make it up. All you have to do is rest in that.”

TUR Maya Andreas (1)
For a moment, all of my hopes and expectations about meditation dropped away and I experienced a glimpse of timeless awareness.
A few minutes later he continued, “Once you’ve recognised awareness, there’s nothing to do. You don’t have to meditate or try to change your mind in any way.”
“If there’s nothing to do,” I asked, “Does that mean that we don’t have to practice?”
“Although there’s nothing to do, you do need to familiarise yourself with this recognition. You also need to cultivate bodhichitta and devotion, and always seal your practice by dedicating the merit so that all beings may recognise their own true nature too.
The reason we still need to practice is that at first we only have an understanding of the mind’s true nature. By familiarising ourselves with this understanding again and again, however, it eventually transforms into direct experience.
Yet even then we still need to practice. Experience is unstable, so if we don’t continue to familiarise ourselves with pure awareness we can lose sight of it and get caught up in our thoughts and emotions again.
On the other hand, if we are diligent in practice, this experience will transform into a realisation that can never be lost. This is the path of the Great Perfection.”
With these words, he stopped talking and we both continued to rest in pure awareness, gazing off into the deep blue sky above the Kathmandu Valley.”

CNR TUR Nagi (1)
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