Devotion to an object a person or a principle denies this freedom. Diligence is attention which brings about naturally infinite care, concern and the freshness of affection. All this demands great sensitivity.
Classic Series: Volume 1 – Beginning Basics for the Piano
One is sensitive to one's own desires or psychological wounds, or one is sensitive to a particular person, watching his desires and responding quickly to his needs; but this kind of sensitivity is limited and can hardly be called sensitive. The quality of sensitivity of which we are talking comes about naturally when there is total responsibility which is love. Diligence has this quality. Negligence is indifference, sloth; indifference towards the physical organism, towards the psychological state and indifference to others. In indifference there is callousness.
In this stage the mind becomes sluggish, the activity of thought slows down, quickness of perception is denied and sensitivity is a thing that is incomprehensible. Most of us are sometimes diligent but most often negligent. They are not really opposites.
If they were, diligence would still be negligence. Is diligence the outcome of negligence? If it is, it is still part of negligence and therefore not truly diligent. Most people are diligent in their own self-interest, whether that self-interest is identified with the family, with a particular group, sect, or nation. In this self-interest there is the seed of negligence although there is constant preoccupation with oneself.
Classic Series: Volume 1 – Beginning Basics for the Piano
This preoccupation is limited and so it is negligence This preoccupation is energy held within a narrow boundary. Diligence is the freedom from self-occupation and brings an abundance of energy. When one understands the nature of negligence the other comes into being without any struggle. When this is fully understood - not just the verbal definitions of negligence and diligence - then the highest excellence in our thought, action, behaviour will manifest itself.
But unfortunately we never demand of ourselves the highest quality of thought, action and behaviour. We hardly ever challenge ourselves and if we ever do, we have various excuses for not responding fully. This indicates does it not, an indolence of mind, the feeble activity of thought? The body can be lazy but never the mind with its quickness of thought and subtlety. Laziness of the body can easily be understood. This laziness may be because one is overworked or over-indulged, or has played games too hard.
So the body requires rest which may be considered laziness though it is not. The watchful mind, being alert, sensitive, knows when the organism needs rest and care. In our schools it is important to understand that the quality of energy which is diligence requires the right kind of food, the right kind of exercise, and enough sleep. Habit, routine, is the enemy of diligence - the habit of thought, of action, of conduct.
Thought itself creates its own pattern and lives within it. When that pattern is challenged either it is disregarded or thought creates another pattern of security.
Interesting variations of this trope:
This is the movement of thought - from one pattern to another, from one conclusion, one belief, to another. This is the very negligence of thought. The mind that is diligent has no habit; it has no pattern of response. It is endless movement, never coalescing into habit, never caught in conclusions. Movement has great depth and volume when it has no boundary brought about by the negligence of thought.
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As we are now concerned with education, in what manner can the teacher convey this diligence with its sensitivity, with its abundant care in which laziness of the spirit has no place? Of course it is understood that the educator concerned with this question and sees the importance of diligence throughout the days of his life.
If he is, then how will he set about cultivating this flower of diligence? Is he deeply concerned with the student? Does he really take the total responsibility for these young people who are in his charge? Or is he merely there to earn a livelihood, caught in the misery of having little? As we pointed out in previous letters, teaching is the highest capacity of man.
You are there and you have the students before you. Is it that you are indifferent? Is it that your own personal troubles at home are wasting your energy? To carry psychological problems from day to day is an utter waste of time and energy, indicating negligence. A diligent mind meets the problem as it arises, observes the nature of it and resolves it immediately. The carrying over of a psychological problem does not resolve the problem. It is a wastage of energy and the spirit. When you solve the problems as they arise, then you will find there are no problems at all.
So we must come back to the question: as an educator in these or any other schools, can you cultivate this diligence? It is only in this that the flowering of goodness comes into being. It is your total, irrevocable responsibility, and in it is this love which will naturally find a way of helping the student. It is important that the teacher should feel secure both economically and psychologically in these schools.
Some teachers may be willing to teach without much concern for their economic position; they may have come for the teachings and for psychological reasons, but every teacher should feel secure in the sense of being at home, cared for, without financial worries. If the teacher himself does not feel secure and therefore not free to give attention to the student and his security, he will not be able to be totally responsible.
If the teacher is not in himself happy, his attention will be divided and he will be incapable of exercising his entire capacity. So it becomes important that we choose the right teachers, inviting each one to stay for some time at our schools to find out whether he or she can happily join in what is being done. This must be mutual. Then the teacher, being happy, secure, feeling that he is at home, can create in the student this quality of security, this feeling that the school is his home.
Feeling at home implies, that there is no sense of fear, that he is protected physically, cared for and free? Protection, though the student may object to the idea of being protected, guarded, does not mean that he is held in a prison, confined and critically watched. Freedom obviously does not mean to do what one likes and it is equally obvious that one can never totally do what one likes.
The attempt to do what one likes - so called individual freedom, which is to choose a course of action according to one's desire - has brought about social and economic confusion in the world.
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The reaction to this confusion is totalitarianism. Freedom is a very complex affair. One must approach it with utmost attention, for freedom is not the opposite of bondage or an escape from the circumstances in which one is caught. It is not from something, or avoidance of constraint. The very understanding of the nature of freedom is the awakening of intelligence. If the teacher does not understand the nature of freedom he will only impose his prejudices, his limitations, his conclusions on the student.
Thus the student will naturally resist or accept through fear, becoming a conventional human being, whether timid or aggressive. It is only in the understanding of this freedom of living - not the idea of it or the verbal acceptance of it which becomes a slogan - that the mind is free to learn. A school, after all, is a place where the student is basically happy, not bullied, not frightened by examinations, not compelled to act according to a pattern, a system. It is a place where the art of learning is being taught.
If the student is not happy he is incapable of learning this art.
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Memorizing, recording information, is considered learning. This brings about a mind that is limited and therefore heavily conditioned. The art of learning is to give the right place to information, to act skilfully according to what is learned, but at the same time not to be psychologically bound by the limitations of knowledge and the images or symbols that thought creates. Art implies putting everything in its right place, not according to some ideal. The understanding of the mechanism of ideals and conclusions is to learn the art of observation.
A concept put together by thought, either in the future or according to the past, is an ideal - an idea projected or a remembrance. It is a shadow-play, making an abstraction of the actual. This abstraction is an avoidance of what is happening now.
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