Yesterday, the Dutch Secretary of Education, Culture and Science Sander Dekker spoke on education in 2032 in a television show. He asked the residents of the Netherlands to contribute ideas on how education could be better. What new material there is to be offered to stay in touch with the times. One of the responses to his question was a tip to give more space to mindfulness in education in any form whatsoever. Space for attention, reflection, depth, consciousness, ‘being there’. At a time when diagnoses such as ADHD, depression and burnout only increase, this seems not a luxury.
To my surprise, the Secretary did not know what the meaning of mindfulness was. Indeed, the other four people at the table didn’t know as well. That is possible of course, that you don’t know. But when Mr. Dekker proclaimed that he used to see the term sometimes in the Saturday supplement of his favorite newspaper and then quickly leafed, I found it quite shocking. Sobering.
Mindfulness comes from Buddhism and is practiced worldwide for thousands of years. Many clinical studies even show that practitioners of mindfulness meditation experience less anxiety, depression and pain. This meditation form has similar effects as antidepressants in cases of mild depression.
I feel rising anger. These are the people who will then shape the future from an inspiring, comprehensive vision? These are the people in control? To what extent do the personal likes and dislikes of the Secretary of State play a role in shaping education? And, what is the ultimate foundation of the vision? That, which you deeply believe in?
In addition to anger and disbelief I also feel strength. It is in my hands to pay attention to things that I find worthwhile. Which for me are valuable within my consciousness development. Together with the people who find this important as well.
Attention gives depth. Depth gives experience. Experience provides connection. Connection provides substantial contact. In more ways than just during claptrap. And do not get me wrong, I love talking nonsense, very much so, but not exclusively. It should also be meaningful, exchanging experiences and feelings.
About life. And what are you doing here. And I. And what we have here. And enjoy all the wonderful things. The scent of a beautiful summer evening. A warm piece of bread. A generous laugh. And death.
About cold sweat, injuries and pain. Because we do not always have to stay strong. About uncontrollably laughing with people you really do not know so well. About the depth of silence. About peace and ‘being there’.
Yes. And therefore I organize silence walks. And I like to cook tasty for my guests. To celebrate life and connecting. From my own strength and responsibility.