Nature: everpresent, bountiful teacher

“When the teacher is ready, the student will appear”… “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Zen koan

With the end of our academic year beginning to appear on the horizon, it’s not too early to be looking for signs of what the Scholars have accomplished this year.  It’s a little like walking out in your garden in August and eagerly looking at how red the tomatoes are getting.

As part of this morning’s meditation circle and after a discussion about the amazing lessons in nature, we gave the Scholars a few minutes to go out into our natural environment to notice some small part of nature from which they could learn something about themselves… to find the “teacher” waiting for them.

When they came back in to rejoin our circle, the responses were very gratifying, even amazing.

“I noticed the fish in the stream, how they kept swimming against the current to avoid being swept downstream.  It reminded me that I need to resist letting times of anger and frustration sweep me away from the happy person I truly am… and that life IS a swim upstream, but with  a lot of benefits” — Isaac

“I found a rock that someone had painted with colored stripes.  As I sat there looking at it, going from stripe to stripe, I realized that our days are divided into sections. I saw that, as I go through my day and am dealing with a difficult part, I can know that I can flow on to the next ‘stripe,’ moving forward, not dwelling on the tougher parts of my day.” —  Liz

“While looking at some tree bark, I realized that the goodness, strength and beauty that’s inside of someone isn’t always visible on the outside.” — Eren

“I held a small rock in my hand and kept feeling it.  The rough part of the rock reminded me of how I feel when I’m angry, and the smooth part reminded me how nice it feels when I’m calm and happy.  I liked the smooth part better.” —  Ari

“I saw a cluster of maple seeds lying on the ground still hooked together, and I saw that they were a part of a community, all held together. I learned that if they can be together ‘as friends’, I can be together with others as friends also and be a part of a community.”  —  Zach

“I found a small, really smooth stone, and I wondered how it got to be so smooth.  I figured it must have been rubbed by things for so long that all the rough edges finally disappeared.  I learned that things that ‘rub’ us can help smooth us out. And that sometimes that rubbing or smoothing out doesn’t feel comfortable, or it takes a lot of effort, but what happens because of it… is GOOD. —  Reese

“Every single thing in nature, even down to the smallest microorganism, is precious.  Since we’re all a part of nature, we’re all precious.”  —  Leyla

“I stood by a big tree. I couldn’t see most of its roots, but I knew they were there because it was standing tall, strong and healthy. I learned from the tree that I can stand tall and healthy, too, and that I can speak up and be strong because of I have roots, too.”  — Dave

What did we learn this morning in our meditation circle?  Just as in nature, one can’t look at a bush or a tree or a bird and see it actually grow in that minute, but, over the course of time, one notices its accumulated growth.

This morning we learned what a year together can do for our Scholars.  We noticed their maturity, their ability to stop and quietly reflect on their individual qualities, and their ability to recognize and handle their challenging times. We marveled at the progress we were witnessing as each Scholar freely shared his/her feelings, at how they could use nature to learn about themselves, and at how our natural environment can be so abundantly nurturing to all of us, if we’ll just take those moments to allow it to happen…to recognize its ongoing teaching. Anyone who knows our Scholars intimately, will see just how right-on the “lessons” learned were in regards to each student’s present experience and needs. Yet another reminder of how Nature — universal Mind, does indeed reach us all in the ways that we will hear. ..and that we can expect that our children have this same receptivity and can hear these “messages”, too.

Written by Jay and Tien Langlois; Scholars Together Learning Community

“Tomatoes in Hand” photo: Nat Stone; other photos: Jay Langlois

2 thoughts on “Nature: everpresent, bountiful teacher

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