Are You Teachable?

The predominant trend, in my culture at least, appears to be a mindless consumerism in which two thirds of energy used is simply wasted. “More stuff” is how people define their value, which just digs a deeper hole for us all to get out of.

I live rurally for a few, very simple reasons: clean air and water, the space for my extended family, peace and quiet  for meditation and study, and low cost of living. I don’t recommend it for everyone, nor do I recommend city-dwelling.

Everyone ought to have the freedom to pursue their creative individual goals. I wish their goals included health and mindfulness. Indeed, the goals of unlimited material wealth and possessions and meat at every meal are misguided and abusive – in fact are mindlessly creating the cultural nightmare that will almost certainly exhaust the earth’s resources preventing humanity’s descendants from having any comfortable standard of living. If only a brighter future could be a social priority.

My personal goals are to be a model for mindful living, an educator of health and meditation. I hope that others will be willing to listen to the ideas I present and look at my way of life, before assumptively pegging my position and attacking.

Hey, steakhouses are great! I love grass fed beef properly cooked – but anyone can cook a steak, and passing corn-fed beef as gourmet is a cop-out. I’ve encountered very few chefs who can make a vegetarian meal as satisfying and nourishing as a steak dinner – it’s possible, but requires real skill and artistry.

I don’t think of rural living as liberal and tolerant – most of my neighbors think of a shotgun as the great problem-solver. I’ve come face to face (or seed or flower or root) with the things that have to die for me to survive, and I’ve found that we have to get clear on how precious water is as a commodity – it doesn’t just come from a tap.

Is anyone who educates people – teachers, writers, journalists – merely forcing an agenda on unsuspecting heathens? The error here is obvious, I hope: what other way to learn to write or operate a car or any of the millions of nuanced skills you utilize each day other than from someone taking the time to patiently educate others?  To cite personal experience, my students have told me that my classes are enjoyable and meaningful – on subjects from critical thinking, to creative writing, to fermenting foods, to the Eight Principles of Chinese medical theory, to T’ai Chi, to Shiatsu acupressure, and more – these students typically felt that I shared views and skills and let them decide how to use them.

In the case of living lighter and more simply on the earth as a personal path to wellness and resource conservation, I’ve found that when people are educated on the harm that their lifestyle causes, or a path to superior wellness, they typically embrace it.  There is plenty of evidence that western consumer capitalist culture is a dangerous blight to the continued homeostasis of the entire planet, not to mention keep countless humans and animals in slavery just to feed a wasteful habit – and I can point you to some sources if this information comes as news to you.

As one of my teachers, who has most certainly helped many people find more meaning in their lives, has told me: some people are just uneducable.  Presented with truthful information, they reject it or simply argue, typically from a place of ignorance and/or egocentricity.  Certainly I’ve had a couple of these students as well, though I show them as much patience as they have willingness to learn.
I am certain that we are more alike than different – all beings have relatively identical needs, wants, hopes, and fears – but fascinatingly different ways of addressing them.  Humans, it seems, will suck and accumulate resources far beyond need or even comfort, and given the opportunity, will out-compete all other life-forms on earth, and so we find ourselves at the beginning again of this dialogue.