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Learning World: Building Bridges Through Education
The Golden Rule asks us to treat others in the same way that we would like to be treated. If we were to put the Golden Rule into practice, there would be love, harmony, peace, and tranquility in the world.
Unfortunately, even though we have heard of the Golden Rule since childhood, the words have not become an ingrained part of our lives. Even though we have been trained to understand the ethical qualities of kindness and love for all, we have forgotten to put them into practice.
As we consider the kind of moral and educational system we want for our children, let us remember that in addition to instructing students on matters of science, history, geography, math, and language, it is also important that we teach them the ethical principles of nonviolence, truthfulness, compassion, humility, and selfless service; that we help them develop right understanding of who they are and their purpose in this world.
This is because our actions stem from our thoughts and understanding. What, then, is the right understanding we need to have and that we need to help our children develop?
In this regard, there is an interesting Native American legend. Once, a man took a walk and saw an eagle’s egg. He knew there was a baby bird inside the egg, but the mother was gone, and the man could not find her. “Without the mother, how will the egg hatch?” he thought to himself.
He soon encountered a hen sitting on her own eggs, keeping them warm. When the hen wasn’t looking, the man slipped the eagle egg into the hen’s nest so it too would stay warm and hatch properly.
One day, all the eggs hatched and the baby birds emerged. The baby eagle lived with the chicks and began to behave like them. He ate like them, made sounds like them, and walked like them. Over the years, he lived his entire life as if he were a chicken. Many years later when he was older, he saw an eagle soaring in the sky. It would fly up, nosedive, and then soar up again. He asked the other chickens, “What kind of bird is that?”
“That is an eagle,” they told him. “It is the king of the birds.”
The eagle who thought he was a chicken said, “I wish I were like that.”
The others told him, “Don’t even think about it. You are a chicken. You’ve always been and will always be a chicken.” Sadly, the eagle spent the rest of his life never discovering the truth about who he really was.
This is also the human condition. Living at the level of our physical senses, we take ourselves to be the body and mind. Yet we have forgotten that beyond our body, mind, and emotions, we are the spirit or soul, a part of God. The current system of education likewise focuses on helping us keep our body fit, and our mind mentally astute.
We learn about the world we live in through the subjects of history, geography, and the sciences. We also learn the arts such as music, poetry, painting, sculpture, and dance.
The school system also helps us develop emotionally so we can relate to others. As we grow, we find our own niche and gravitate to the area of learning that seems to fit us, and this forms the basis of the kind of life we will lead as we grow up. Time passes by quickly as we focus only on the development of our body and mind.
Great philosophers have said, “Know thyself.” This mandate should be the first thing we pursue as we come into this world. Our foremost purpose should be to discover who we are and what our purpose in life is. Are we a chicken or are we an eagle that can soar up in the sky as the king of the birds?
We are not just our body, mind, and emotions. We are also a soul or spirit. Our true self is conscious at the level of the soul, and the soul is full of the love and Light of God. We can experience our soul and God’s love through meditation.
If our educational system were to encourage children to meditate, they would learn to sit in stillness and realize who they are and what their true purpose is. When the realization dawns that they are soul, a part of God and that God is within them, they also realize that the same soul or part of God is likewise in all others.
They experience that at the level of the soul, everyone is one and the same.
When this realization occurs they practice the Golden Rule innately.
The children of our generation will pave the way to a haven of peace. As they find peace for themselves through meditation, they will positively reflect it in their environment and inspire others to do the same.
Ultimately, bridges from the current moment to future posterity will be built so that our world is more peaceful, harmonious, calm, loving and caring.
Eventually, everyone who lives on this planet—whether they are human beings, animals, fish, birds, or insects—will live in love, peace, and harmony.