133: BACK TO SCHOOL
SAT 10 SEP 10:39 - This month's moon howl registering for the curriculum of LOVE....
It's that time of year when our deeply ingrained longing for fresh exercise books and new sets of colouring crayons finds its voice. And why resist the subconscious new term's call? A new academic year brings with it the chance of a clean slate, the prospects of new beginnings and friendships - the opportunity to reinvent ourselves and our life experience into something closer to our aspirations. And, of course, to learn new stuff, occasionally wearing a weird uniform. ....Now, if you've quite finished chattering, settle down, face the front and read the next paragraph to yourself.
….I SAID…TO…YOUR…SELF!! If handled sensitively, the creative influence of this Pisces Full Moon can help unlock the stationery cupboard of our dreams and start us on a new page. The next fortnight provides welcome respite to ongoing restrictions and frustrations as the power structures and institutions in our lives struggle to adapt to the rapidly changing world around us. This would be a good fortnight to start challenging outdated, negative mental constructs by employing a school satchel full of positivity whilst exploring new possibilities. ....It's not that I think that what you've done so far is bad, it's just that I think you can do better. With imaginative Pisces influence to the fore, we can walk through our personal school gates each morning and aspire to an openhearted, creative approach to new circumstances that accommodates, adjusts and adapts for the good of All, not just our own selfish motives. We might seek to change habitual, negative thinking and behaviour from within our institutionalized, excessively labeled walls of self-definition. Internal (rather than external) validation will be key. ....If not, it's only your time you're wasting, no one else's! Here in the UK a new prime minister has just been chosen by the Conservative Party faithful. The choice made by approximately 160,000 political party members has determined the most powerful governmental role in a country with an electorate of 48 million! Regardless of the understandable clamour for closer scrutiny of British political party democracy, the new incumbent of the post, Liz Truss, will be approaching her new term with excitement and trepidation. We wish her well as she approaches her challenging course of study. Let’s hope she is genuinely willing to listen and learn. Moreover, let’s pray that she doesn't end up as the UK school bully, lying, cheating, throwing her authoritative weight around abusively or exploiting the vulnerable for her own selfish and divisive ends. The last thing our school of international relations currently needs is yet another agitating oppressor. ….Do that again and I’ll send you out! And who has written the rule book of the educational establishment we attend on a daily basis? Who determines the punishments handed out for disobedience in the corridors and cloakrooms that we appear to police ourselves? How might a little well considered, personally tailored homework inform and redefine our learning? Who devises the examinations by which we chart our success? Whose is the mark book that dispenses failure? It is advisable to acknowledge our part in the answers to all of these questions. ....You will ALL suffer if you don't tell me who did it. If we had to attend a school today what would we want it to look like? For what would we be studying and testing? Learning skills to compete and prevail in the marketplace or exploring ideas and understandings of our planet, people and the significant effect we have on both? Would there be a place for an ethos of consistently reasoned allowance, encouragement and inclusion rather than dependence on a rigid, ideological rule book, full of more don’ts than do’s, more losers than winners? Would a failure to abide by the school rules lead to alienation and eventual exclusion, or could a curriculum be shaped that cares for the needs of all it serves? ….Otherwise, you will have let the school down, you will have let your friends and parents down but, more importantly, you will have let yourself down. We are all creatures of cultural convention and our educational establishments naturally reflect this. We have been schooled since we were infants to judge ourselves in grossly simplified binary terms: boy/girl; ugly/pretty; introvert/extrovert; successful/failure; likeable/disagreeable; winner/loser; important/dispensable (the list is as long as human misperception) none of which are actually true. We are the amalgamation of every living shade of creative diversity that makes us the unique spark of perfection we embody. There is no grain of sand, no ant, no leaf, no snowflake, no human that is the same. Each is its own individuated perfect form and a vital part of the whole. ….You’ve all been brilliant so far, don't spoil it now....CONCENTRATE! And yet, in all our myriad, colourful differences, the spark that infuses and animates us is the same expansive force that infuses all existence, from the rain drop to an imploding supernova. The same in the One and the many, it is the unifying, all encompassing, binding life force. To name it in order to ignore it seems a peculiarly human trait, but some may know it as Love.
....I suppose you think that's funny, do you?
The disparities and inequities of human experience arise only when human ideas are laid over and dominate that which already intelligently exists in natural harmony and balance.
....I don't care who started it, stop it, NOW!
Might our core curriculum concentrate instead on realignment with life's natural harmony and balance, an alignment of unified understanding that nothing lives separate from anything else? In short, to hurt another is to hurt the self. To love another is to love the Self. To love the Self is to love all there is.....for truly, there is no 'other'.
….Is that understood?
We are all learners in life's classroom. Do we currently have confidence in the parameters of that learning experience? If not, this might be a propitious moon under which to consciously define our own. Whether aware of it or not, by our thoughts, words and actions, we design the classroom, the rule book, curriculum and examinations of our own learning. This Pisces Full Moon offers an opportunity to open a new notebook, to turn a new leaf and consciously determine the significance of every lesson and examination for which we turn up to register our presence.
….Am I making myself absolutely clear?
As always at full moon, our emotions and instinctive behaviour (conditioned responses) are set to hit their peak - whacked up to 11 in the sensitive sign of Pisces. Let's harness any available empathetic awareness to create a memorable start of term for everyone. Let's finally recalibrate our modern language curriculum to the vocabulary of Love.
Accordingly, we offer a few do's and don'ts conveyed in an appropriate classroom vernacular that might yet translate this receptive Pisces Full Moon into a truly creative, educational semester.
....Do I have to repeat myself?
DO get out in the playground. Make new friends; allow yourself to enjoy those with whom you previously might not have bothered.
DON'T keep yourself to yourself. You have a perfect part to play in every social situation and every conversation - even if it is just to listen.
....Oh, you can listen and talk at the same time can you?
DO learn something new. Try some new activities - maybe enroll in a beginners language class or take up a new hobby or sporting activity.
DON'T think an old dog can't learn new tricks. That's nonsense and an excuse for passivity. We just get less used to learning the older we get. Learning is a skill like any other and needs to be practiced for good mental health. Use it or lose it.
….Practice makes perfect!
DO open a new notebook. Literally. Treat yourself to some new stationery, pens, glue stick and pencils.
DON'T make do with an old jotter. Buy yourself something with a hard cover and some decent quality paper that makes whatever you do in it look special. It's a good way to build confidence as you explore your creativity.
….There's a detention waiting for anyone that doesn't bring the right equipment to their next lesson.
DO some copying of stuff you like. Your own version will be just as valid (and probably more interesting) than the original. Write out a poem; song lyrics or copy a painting/drawing you like. Copy a photo you have on your phone. Doodle. Stick something in your notebook every day: article headlines, interesting bottle labels; scraps of colour that you pick up on your travels. As your confidence builds, start to work from your own ideas with the stuff you've collated. Fill the pages as you see fit. The more the merrier. NO RULES!
DON'T be bashful. This notebook is just for you, something of a personal visual diary. No one else needs to see what you're up to in there. It's your personal classroom and playground in which you tutor yourself to greater confidence of expression, purpose and fun.
….Just try your best please.
DO compile some well considered wishlists - particularly in the run up to the next new moon (Sept 25 in Libra). What do you want your world to look like? Throw in your own written thoughts, nothing is irrelevant. Come to see the notebook as an observable extension of your thought process.
DON'T underestimate the power of creativity in whatever form it takes. Creativity is at the heart of all existence and to align with it, even in a notebook, is to follow the illuminating curriculum of Love.
....But, if you're going to continue with your incessant chatter, I'll have no choice but to make you sit on your own.
DO switch off the telly and work the notebook into your daily routine (advanced students might be able to multitask with their screens running).
....Which part of that sentence do you not understand?
7/10 Could try harder?
1 merit for perseverance?
And, as the potential teachers of future generations, let us share our knowledge openly with those in front of whom we stand by speaking our truth. It's a time honoured, expansive way in which Love continues its unlimited journey of learning.....about itself.
“Whoever would be a teacher of men, let him begin by teaching himself before teaching others; and let him teach by example before teaching by word. For he who teaches himself and rectifies his own ways is more deserving of respect and reverence than he who would teach others and rectify their ways” Kahlil Gibran
watercolour 12 X 10cm 2020
A few people have asked me to include a practical, step by step guide to mindfulness/meditation. I maintain that the process is very simple. The stumbling block for most folks is not how to do it but how to maintain the discipline to really attain full benefit. Regular practice, even for 5 minutes morning and evening will bring almost instant results. Further progress naturally comes with further discipline - a few extra minutes each day as feels comfortable.
Recommended as you first rise in the morning or just before you retire to bed in the evening...or both.
Switch off the devices - no distractions.
If necessary, let others in your household know that you do not wish to be disturbed for a short while.
Create a quiet, relaxed space with a chair in which you can sit comfortably with a straight back (option to light a candle/incense should you wish. Wrap yourself in a blanket if it feels right).
Sit with a straight back and concentrate solely on your breathing until your thoughts start to slow down.
Don't beat yourself up if your uncontrolled thoughts keep distracting you - just acknowledge those thoughts, observe their origins and swiftly return your concentration to the breath....quite literally the physical sensations of breathing in and out and only this.
When the mind finally calms (5 -10 mins), i.e. when the gaps between thoughts get noticeably longer, a spaciousness may be experienced.
Where are you in relation to that space?
Listen carefully for any words, messages or feelings that may (or may not) arise in the space.
Relax and dwell in the spaciousness as long as feels comfortable, returning concentration to the breath when thought intermittently arises.
To finish, gratefully acknowledge that spaciousness as your own: a safe, happy, healthy and, above all, peaceful space to which you can return at any time simply by focusing on your breath.
Return to the awareness of your body, surroundings and your day to day activities, hopefully imbued with peace.
You have begun to enjoy and picture "a love of already satisfied desire." (Albert Einstein)
It's better than telly.
DO give this practice a regular spot in your daily digital diary.
DO make a quick note of anything unusual you experienced during the meditation (always have a notebook nearby).
DON'T fret if you miss a few days. Just return to the practice as soon as possible and reaffirm your commitment to the positive change it brings.
JUST SO YOU KNOW....
Versions of these writings are sometimes available on the website www.markweighton.com. Your comments and kind support are always welcome. Don't hesitate to get in touch should you feel the urge. Collaborations and commissions always considered...apart from portraits of pets and children.