It is one of the best aspects of our work. At EZV, we imagine a certain kind of education that we call ‘Living Well’ education. Broadly speaking, we hope that such an education will allow individuals to discover and hone their potential while cultivating the qualities required for citizenship that is guided by informed and ethical behaviour. I should perhaps write more about this, but it wouldn’t be an understatement if I said that we imagine a better world, and the way we think we can get there is through education. By its very nature, our goal may be a far cry – given the yawning gap between ‘what ought to be’ and ‘what is’. Therefore, one can imagine that any impact that we make, however small or seemingly insignificant, has far-reaching consequences. So when a school leader changes her attitude towards her teachers and how she leads them, we feel we may have moved one step closer. Or, when after a workshop, a teacher tells us that she ‘feels liberated’, as one of them shared with me recently, we feel hopeful. At such moments, we taste victory, so to speak.
It can also be one of the worst aspects of our work. At least for me, some times. When the mind focuses on the status quo, it can inspire us to work harder. But sometimes, it can also bog us down, as it does to me. It makes me cynical, and wonder if we could even make a tiny dent. At other times, it makes me sad, that the people responsible for educating our children are being ignorant at best, and callous at worst. There may be times when I am irritated at the refusal of people – leaders, teachers and even parents – to see the need for change. And then there are instances when I am filled with unbridled rage, when we come across people who see it but refuse to change, for whatever reasons. As much as work at EZV can be uplifting, it can also lead to a feeling of despondency if one is not careful. The key is to ensure that any negative feeling only spurs us towards action. It would be easy to just criticise things and turn cynical.
Either ways, I realise that it is my own ego that contributes to such feelings – of apparent victory or despondency. It reminds me of a verse from the 3rd Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita –
प्रकृतेः क्रियमाणानि गुणैः कर्माणि सर्वशः।
अहङ्कारविमूढात्मा कर्ताहमिति मन्यते॥
I am thankful to EZV for allowing me the opportunity to work with schools. Despite a reminder to myself, to keep the ego at check, it may be the school that holds some hope whatsoever for all those of us dreaming of a better tomorrow for this world and for all of us in it.