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The Ecological Heart of Teaching

Radical Tales of Refuge and Renewal for Classrooms and Communities


Edited By Jackie Seidel and David W. Jardine

The Ecological Heart of Teaching is a collection of writings by teachers about their life in classrooms. Reflecting over three years of collective work, it illustrates how teachers, parents, and students can avoid some of the distractions and panic endemic to many schools, allowing them to focus thoughtfully on rigorous, beautiful work. It draws on ecological thinking, Buddhism, and hermeneutics to provide deeper, richer, and more abundant sources for teaching, thinking, and practice, and shows how these three lineages provide keys to decode the current malaise that surrounds schooling. The book will be valuable to beginning and experienced teachers and administrators, as well as to parents and anyone involved in stepping away from the exhausting industrial images and ideas that have turned schooling into an ecological and intellectual disaster. For those interested in interpretive research and life-writing, the book provides a wide array of examples; it is a valuable resource for undergraduate classes in curriculum and teaching, as well as graduate research methods courses interested in new forms of thinking and writing.
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Chapter Forty-Two: From Darkness to Light: Observations From Inside the Linoleum Cavern


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From Darkness TO Light

Observations From Inside the Linoleum Cavern


Meditation [has] the power to reveal and heal.

—THICH NHAT HAHN (1975, P. 60)

And so, these days, he can articulate. He has spent weeks now, alone with himself. Away from me and our life and all the distractions within it. In this space, he has acknowledged his thoughts and feelings as being there. They exist. He exists. He is alive. But his head is spinning. Everything is a barrier—the potential, the possibility. There is so much to overcome, to fail at, to have to do. So much that even though it seems good now could be really bad later, really bad. Or worse! Unknown (with a capital U, yes!), that which cannot be named. Unknown could be really big and horrible and out of his control—you just never know what it can turn itself into. If he allows himself to think too much about it he gets smaller and smaller and is paralyzed. And that isn’t a nice place to be. (I thought meditation was supposed to be relaxing?) He can make Unknown disappear. Don’t think anymore. Stop noticing. Stop inquiring. Stop listening. Stop feeling so much. Stop being still. Turn the lights out on those thoughts.

(But monsters grow in the darkness, you know.)

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