Anahata hosted today beginning with a short meditation, followed by introductions that included sharing, in one or two words, what gifts we have received/or hope to receive from the parents college gatherings.
Brigitte opened with a quote by EB White:
“If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it would be merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.”
We find ourselves in a similar situation regarding the use of technology which cannot be answered in simple either/or terms.
Brigitte suggested we each write on a card a deep intention we have for the future of our child/children. These were then circulated randomly and we each read one other person’s intention out loud. This was a beautiful process and we wanted to share our intentions here:
My desire is to help my children grow into healthy, caring, joyous, loving adults who make free and considered decisions for themselves and the world around them.
My hope for my child is that he know the wisdom of his body, the love of his heart, the intelligence of his mind and the brilliance of his spirit, to live a meaningful, loving and fulfilled life.
I wish for my children to find their passion.
I wish for each of my children that they find their destiny, that they know something of who they are.
I wish for my child to have meaningful, embodied relationships and an embodied belief that the world is a benevolent place and they are trusting, confident, generous and able to give and receive.
What I wish for my children is that they each have the ability to interact, thrive, learn from and be happy with others in the world around them. If they learn how to live well with others everything else will fall into place.
I wish for my children to have the inner health, happiness, stability and humanity to be able to deal with whatever comes to them.
I hope for true awareness and care for the planet and all species and contentment with self. Enjoyment, excitement, love and joy in whatever they choose to do.
My hope is my child is a good person and happy with ability and capacity to reflect and choose.
I hope for fulfilment through artistic expression and the ability to connect with the people around him in a meaningful way.
My hope for my child: to travel their path with wonder, desire for knowledge, balance, love, wisdom and peace.
We then discussed in pairs: “What role do we see technology play in our and our children’s lives in the context of these intentions?”
This was a lively interaction and we brought back various ideas to the whole group. This included the idea that if children know who they are and have some of the qualities we described in our intentions above, then technology will be secondary and used in service of their life path. However, if an individual does not know who they are, is lost in some way, then technology could fill the gap in an unbalanced, unhealthy way.
Brigitte suggested that technology is not just changing what we do but who we are. Our social fabric is changing because we rely less on each other and more on technology. With the increasing use of social media in all areas of life we need to ask ourselves what wise actions to take in order for technology to remain a tool in service of humanity. We delighted in Brigitte’s expression: we need to “train the muscle of choice”.
She talked about interpersonal neurobiology as a tool to understand how we shape culture and how culture shapes us (this includes the culture we create around technology use). Social media cuts out so many aspects of communication, such as eye contact, gestures, postures, tone of voice, timing, intensity and so on. If social media technology is not used within the context of existing healthy human face to face relationships it reduces human interaction and the integration of our senses greatly and puts our health at risk.
Brigitte spoke about the importance of remembering ourselves as relational interconnected beings, that the way forward is to focus on the social field, not just on individual development. We affirmed that discussing this as a group in the parents’ college is helping us to choose what relationship we want to have with technology.
There was a request for further information regarding some of the neuro scientific resources Brigitte mentioned. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a paper with relevant points and links to people and resources.
Notes by Anahata Giri (Edited by Brigitte) May 21 2015
Click here to return to the Parents’ College main page.