Our True Nature

The Mother says we are more than our bodies, there are aspects/ planes of us around,  under, above our bodies. Integral education means accompanying each member of the learning group to become aware of his/her body, vital forces, mind, soul and spirit, that s to say of all the planes around, under and above and in our body. In the Integral education is the plan of the divine in each of us at the center of attention and devotion, not the teacher, not the pupil, not the syllabus, not the marks, not the certificate, not the skills and abilities. And what is the divine plan? As far as I understand here people believe that each human being comes into this world with a seed of higher aspirations. Integral education has the task of supporting each pupil in the process of realization of his/ her own higher aspirations as a human being, as a member of humanity and accompanying him/her in the unfolding of his/her own skills, abilities, in the development of the knowledge necessary to accomplish his/ her higher aspirations. Mrs. Montessori using a more medical, natural science language, had the same first intuition, and then the clear conscience, of this higher aspiration plan in each child. She called it the child’s nature. ,the child’s construction plan.  And she believed her task as a doctor and as a teacher was just to give the child the chance, the material, and human environment, to discover and realize his/ her true nature, his/ her own construction plan. These days much is discussed about freedom of thought and speech in the school. I’ve been lucky. I had all my life long teachers, who has been authentic to me and to the class, who has encouraged me to think authentically and try to act authentically, teachers who had been trying to give the best I could ‘ digest’, who shown me ways to perceive interests which I had in my soul, teachers who have never hidden themselves behind a mask. Till some years ago, I had been thinking I had received the best possible education ever. I was proud of the Italian school system, or, I now realize the school and values system of the region on earth in which I ‘ve been born and educated, Fvg. Why am I looking for something else? What is the urge? My experience in Germany and the school destiny of my own children arose many question marks into my mind…..the ‘ special ‘ destiny of the children in the ‘ special’ school in Germany, and especially the special school for social and emotional disorders, for the in Germany so-called learning disabilities, pushed me to search for new answers. I could observe in an oversized scale the emotional suffering of children with specific learning disorders, the social emargination in which they are educated, the separate world n which they are protected from the frustration of a school life full of impossible tasks, from the mockery of their school mates, protected from the real society, which is hard with people who do not fit in. Special schools in which they are trained to live with the frustration of being less- human beings than the others, to be contented with life at the lower level of society, with no access to real education, no chance of a well-paid job. These children have the feeling that they could have reached something, that they can more… and this makes them angry. 

In Italy I crossed dyslexia, dyscalculia, hyperactivity and hyper- sensibility at home. I supported my children with all the abilities and means at my disposal, they received the emotional welcoming, always, of her school mates and the affection of her teachers….but the real understanding was lacking, on my side also. This is one of the thorns in my soul…if I would have known that other possibilities are there if I would have understood how the soul suffers if the learning disorder is not correctly accompanied by the family and the school, if I would have been able to see my children’s real resources, their very special, extraordinary intellectual and human qualities instead of focusing on their difficulties, which were actually simply what they did differently from the other children, trying to make them become a cognitive ‘ normal’ child. Now I know how frustrating it is for a child, for every human being to work all the time at his/ her weak points/different skills. I know what kind of self-image it gives to be helped all the time as if you were not able to do your way yourself and not let be yourself. The oversized scale of the suffering of the children in Germany made me reflect on my experience with my daughter …and with my special needs kids in the Italian school. I realized that also in the small town in which I was working in Italy many children suffered from these specific learning disorders…and they suffered really. A relative of mine, a little older than my daughter, had a very hard, depressed life because of that. I had the intuition that Sri Aurobindo pedagogical and yogic knowledge and the method and the learning materials of Mrs. Montessori, together with her general concept of the natural development of the human being, would have helped me to find some answers. There is no best school system. There are only healthy school systems. A healthy school system is a system in constant development, facing the challenges that society and pupils present to it…looking for answers to new problems. Challenges are not a threat, challenges are chances to remain healthy, to remain alive. If we think of a human being… a human being who is not in transformation is a dead human being. Education is meant to resist death, is meant to to be passed to the new generations, to be a living heritage able to answer to all the future questions, able to digest all the new kind of problems, able to understand and nourish each and all human souls who will knock at its door. 

Haseena Barbana

Leave a Comment