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Chapter 12 - Education is to free the mind of the limited energy of the "me".
It seems that human beings have enormous amounts of energy. They have been to the moon, have climbed the highest peaks of the earth. They have had prodigious energy for wars, for the instruments of war, and great energy for technological development. Mankind has had energy to accumulate vast knowledge, to build the pyramids, to explore the atom, and to work every day. When one considers all this, it is striking to realize the energy expended. This energy has gone into the investigation of external things, but man has given very little energy to inquire into the whole psychological structure of himself. Energy is needed, both externally and inwardly to act-or to be totally silent.
Action and non-action require great energy. We have used "positive" energy in wars, in writing books, in performing surgery, and to work beneath the seas. Non-action requires far more than the so-called positive action. Positive action is to control, to support, to escape. Non- action is the total attention of observation. In this observation, that which is being observed undergoes a transformation. This silent observation demands not only physical energy, but also deep psychological energy. We are used to the former, and this conditioning limits our energy. In a complete, silent observation, which is non-action, there is no expenditure of energy, and so energy is limitless.
Non-action is not the opposite of action. Going to work daily, year after year for so many years, which may be necessary as things are, does limit; but not-working does not mean you will have boundless energy. The very slothfulness of the mind is a waste of energy, as is the laziness of the body. Our education in every field narrows down this energy. Our way of life, which is a constant struggle to become or not to become, is the dissipation of energy.
Energy is timeless and is not to be measured, but our actions are measurable, and so we bring down this limitless energy to the narrow circle of the "me". Having confined it, we then search for the immeasurable. This searching is part of positive action, and is therefore a waste of psychological energy. So there is a never-ending movement within the archives of the "me".
What we are concerned with in education is to free the mind of the "me". As we have said on several occasions in these letters, it is our function to bring about a new generation free of this limited energy which is called the "me". It must be repeated again that these schools exist to bring this about.
In a previous letter we talked about the corruption of the mind. The root of this corruption is the "me". The "me" is the image, the picture, the world that is passed from generation to generation; and one has to contend with the weight of tradition of the "me". It is the fact that is to be observed, not the consequence of the fact or how the fact has come into being; the latter are fairly easy to explain, but to observe the fact with all its reactions, without motive which distorts the fact, is negative action. This then transforms the fact. It is important to understand this very deeply-not to act upon the fact, but to observe what is.
Every human being is wounded both psychologically and physically. It is comparatively easy to deal with the physical pain, but the psychological pain remains hidden. The consequence of the psychological wound is to build a wall around oneself, to resist further pain and so become fearful or withdraw into isolation. The wound has been caused by the image of the "me" with its limited energy. Because it is limited, it is hurt. That which is not measurable can never be damaged, can never be corrupted. Anything that is limited can be hurt, but that which is whole is beyond the reach of thought.
Can the educator help the student never to be psychologically wounded, not only while he is part of the school but throughout his life? If the educator sees the great damage that comes from this wounding, then how will he educate the student? What will he actually do to see that the student is never hurt throughout his life? The student comes to the school already having been hurt. Probably he is unaware of this hurt. The teacher, by observing the student's reactions, his fears and aggressiveness, will discover the damage that has been done. So he has two problems: to free the student from past damage and prevent future wounds.
Is this your concern? Or do you merely read this letter, understand it intellectually, which is no understanding at all, and so are not concerned with the student? If you are concerned, as you should be, what will you do with the fact that he is wounded and that you must prevent at all costs any further hurts? How do you approach this problem? What is the state of your mind when you face this problem? It is also your problem, not only the student's. You are hurt and so is the student. So you are both concerned, it is not a one-sided problem; you are as much involved as the student. This involvement is the central factor that you must face, observe. Merely to have a desire to be free of your past wounds, and to hope never to be hurt again, is a waste of energy. Complete attention, the observation of this fact, will not only tell the story of the wound itself, but the very attention dispels, wipes away the hurt. So attention is the vast energy which can never be wounded or corrupted.
Please do not accept what is said in these letters. Acceptance is the destruction of truth. Test it, not at some future date, but test it as you read this letter. When you test it, not casually but with all your heart and being, then you will discover for yourself the truth of the matter. And then only will you be able to help the student to wipe away the past and have a mind that is incapable of being hurt.