from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Thursday, March 11, 2004


from posting, but my life has been very busy recently.

I am coming to the conclusion that at this point in my life I have little original thought or insight to offer. There was a point in my life where I felt my insights might offer something new. I have now lived so long (almost 58 years) that I have to recognize that any thought that passes through my consciousness is likely to be at best a slight modification of point of view of something I have previously read or heard, especially as widely as I read.

Over the past year I have posted on a number of blogs, and participated in far too many lists. I have been expounding, rarely of anything new. This has come out of the time that would have been available for things of far greater value --- silence, reading, meditation, exercise, and in my case playing the piano. As a result I have been emptying myself. While emptying could be positive, a kenosis, a letting go of attachment, in this case it has been neither.

Last night I made a post and several comments on a new blog run by a former Dean supporter, a blog designed for those deemed to be leaders at the grassroots level. I qualified because of my role in Educators for Dean [which was, after all, largely the accumulation of names for an endorsement statement that was essentially meaningless, and seen by very few people other than some of the endorsees]. I found myself drawn to a position about which I commented, that I really have little interest in the participation in conventional politics, and that I had hoped for something different, absent which I'm not certain how much I wish to participate.

Periodically I find that I want to withdraw, to find the still place, but in how I live externally, and with respect to my inner core. The latter is surely far more important ---one can be externally busy and active while maintaining a sense of focus, of internal stillness. Back in my Orthodox Church days I would have noted how often spiritual teachers of that tradition would comment on such, often pointing towards use of the Jesus prayer as a means of achieving same.

Instead, at best I sometimes achieve external signs of stilllness while still being in turmoil internally. In that sense I would fulfill an image condemned in the Gospel -- I would truly be a "whited sepulcher." For my own sanity I need to be far better rooted in what is real. And for me that includes true silence as a necessary first step to true listening.

Surprisingly, despite my "business" I do not accomplish many of the tasks that I should get done. I would think that were I more focused and not attempting to multitask I would get far more done. That seems counterintuitive, but in fact when I am focused I do things more thoroughly and surprisingly with expenditures of far less time and energy.

My teaching responsibilities potentially can overwhelm me this weekend. I have final projects to correct and grade, perhaps 120 at 5-7 minutes each. That is ten hours of work. I will have quizzes to grade, taking about 2 minutes each, perhaps another 3 hours of work (since I will get more of those than of the projects). And yet, if I do not try to rush the process, I will probably be able to do all of this and still have time for the cats, for silence, for some free readings, and for some necessary work of the householder.

Here I am teaching about paradox as my religion class studies Zen, should not I be far more embracing of paradox myself?

Enough. Students will begin to arrive shortly. This will be my only post today.

Methinks I prefer the mechanics of journaling in a notebook far more than I do these postings.

FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME OFFLINE at kber@earthlink.net Comments, suggestions and even rude remarks are welcomed! Preface any messages with "teacherken" so I know they are not spam.
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