The advertisement promised that a person with credentials that they respect would give a lecture. Academic degrees from well-know universities, professorships, books, and awards promised that the talk would be full of authoritative knowledge. So people came to the talk to hear my knowledge and wisdom, hoping that it might do them some good. But what actually happened?
I think that I did my best to pass on what I am learning. And from the responses of people who spoke with me afterwards, I believe that I did some good. They thanked me for helping to lighten their load, to feel like going on, to want to live better lives, and to feel more able to do that. I felt so grateful for the opportunity I had been given to be with these people. As I was leaving, one person held my hands warmly and said that she felt more joyful.
In a sense, I had prepared for this moment my whole life – studying, living, and learning. I had spent a long time making a presentation that would fit their needs. And I had worked for several hours in delivering it in the best possible manner. I felt satisfaction in a job well done.
But I also think that something more important happened. I believe that many were surprised to find that they learned so much from the others with whom they shared a moment in time. I was the only one on the announcement – it didn’t say that if they came they would learn from others. However, that is what happened.
We connected with each other as fellow human beings, coming together for a brief moment. Being aware that this is ichi-go, ichi-e,(once in a lifetime occurrence) we were attentive and appreciative of the opportunities we received. Embracing a synergy paradigm in which the wisdom generated was greater than the sum of its parts, we came together in a healing community, each contributing and receiving to the best of their ability.
This is my life work –facilitating these encounters and studying, practicing, and writing about them. I know that I personally can contribute only a tiny amount in this world. But if I can bring forth the knowledge of others I can do a great deal more. People will gather in my name, and I can use this power to empower others through their connected knowing, designing spaces that bring out the best in all. And this is what education is, as the Latin root educeremeans to lead forth.
The song Pilgrim’s Progress ends with these words.
The words have all been writ by ones before me.
We’re taking turns in trying to pass them on.
I see my role as passing on the wisdom of those before me. What I can do is understand and express knowledge and wisdom in my own special way. And to transmit it to the beautiful people I am fortunate to meet.