The Big Paradox by Veronica Pagura
We all live in a frantic world. These are not my own words, but the title of a very important book about mindfulness written by Mark Williams and entitled Finding peace in a frantic world. This title is an obvious statement for all of us. Being a migrant gives me the possibility of seeing how this situation is spreading out everywhere in the world, even in small towns in northern Argentina. Being a teacher delivering mindfulness practices to both students and colleagues allows me to see how overwhelmed and stressed out not only adults but also teenagers and children are. Mindfulness gives us space to breathe, space to reconnect with our own body and in doing so, with the people around us. As a teacher, I have opened areas in my teaching that I was afraid to offer and I found that the impact on my students, but also on my colleagues was, unexpectedly, very positive. There is no magic solution, mindfulness is not a way of escaping reality. More and more, it seems that education is turning its back to the real world when it should help our kids face and solve difficulties by being mindful of oneself and of others.
Mindfulness is about embracing the real world, it’s about stepping out of the “digital-virtual world” we often have to live in. I have nothing against the digital world surrounding us, but we have to be careful not to lose our “human” values in this virtual world where “ethics” seem to be frozen in time or even non-existent. In the concentration camps and in the Argentinian prisons during the military regime, some of the worst things that the prisoners had to undergo was losing their name, becoming a number, being locked in a place without contacts with other human beings and not being able to do simple daily activities like seeing the sun or knowing what the time was.
In our frantic world, although we are surrounded by many people from around the world at all times, we are losing our “humanness”: having a body, a soul, feeling emotions and being who we really are.
To give our students the opportunity to reconnect with their human nature, “to feel” more than “to think” about themselves, is giving them a path for a society that reconnects, that is built on good foundations, good hearts and not just clever brains.
Therefore, we, as adults, are in charge of the decisions made about the best way to support the young generation: we should give them the opportunity to get to know, to experience these areas of their emotional learning. It is great when educational institutions give space for this practice to their students. It is great whenever we all become aware of our own emotional learning.
Veronica Pagura is a Spanish teacher working in an international school in Vienna, Austria. She has practised for many years both yoga and meditation in her private life. She is also a mindfulness practitioner who is using her mindfulness skills in the classroom. Big inspirations for her in this area of mindfulness are Michael Stone (michaelstoneteaching.com), Amy Burke and Kevin Hawkins (www.mindwell-education.com). For more information about mindfulness in education, get in touch with her via firstname.lastname@example.org.