Elemental Wisdom and Teacher Training: An Excerpt

Here we are offering five chapters excerpted from the doctoral thesis of Timothy R. Walker, Ph.D., downloadable as individual PDF documents. Click on each title below to download and read the individual chapter.

Chapter 17, “Vajra: The Wisdom Energy of Water”

Indestructible diamond wisdom • Intellect • Delineates boundaries to simplify and clarify • Winter ice, clear and cold • A roaring, torrential river or a clear, deep, reflecting pool • The distance of objectivity • Too close brings irritation-claustrophobia-anger • A cold glare keeps ’em away • Freezing reality into manageable ice cubes that fit and make sense • Impatient, judgmental teachers • I’m right and you’re wrong • Perfectionism • Structure vs. claustrophobia cycle • Wisdom so bright it scares the self • Hell realm • The sharp eye of psychosis • The critical voice • Making friends with one’s own aggressive energy • Noticing how we give birth to ourselves and our world • A deep respect for nature’s structures • Seeing each child freshly in every moment gives them the freedom to be who they are

Chapter 18, “Ratna: The Wisdom Energy of Earth”

A wish-fulfilling jewel • A symphony of smells • Unconditionally rich, secure and generous • A nurturing mother, a healing nurse, an ideal host, an intuitive farmer • Historians who live history • Dionysian, Wagnerian • Equanimity: All seems equally valid and worthwhile • The bountiful earth does not discriminate • Low self-esteem: repressing the voice of the earth within us • Hungry ghosts • More, more, more • Mindfulness of eating strawberries • Greedily slurping a sweet drink of milk and honey • Gathering, collecting, hoarding • King Midas • The fear of insubstantiality • The Three Lords of Materialism • Confidence vs. arrogance • Sensitivity vs. insecurity

Chapter 19, “Padma: The Wisdom Energy of Fire”

A blossom from the muck • A sunset on the West Coast • Highly discriminating perception • Art • A symphony of colours • A tapestry of music and metaphor • Intuitive sense of the harmonious whole • An anomaly in the school system. • Right and wrong answers distort the subtle truth • At worst, distracted and scattered • Daydreamer • Moody • Intense concentration, fusion and loss of boundaries • Reckless hedonism • An answer without proof calls for punishment • The dance of flirtation • Seductive, teasing, playful, coquettish. • Wisdom of our social life • Fire in the loins • Human realm: alternation of pleasure and pain • A traffic jam of thought • ‘The lights go up’ in a manic episode • The utter aloneness in depression • Hollywood glamour • Light and heat = perception and compassion • More light = More heat

Chapter 20, “Karma: The Wisdom Energy of Wind”

Action • Energy to do • Green-eyed monster • Life springs forth to prey upon itself • Joyful activity versus chaos • Juggling • In touch with the pulse • Power • The inner peace of martial arts • Environment, mind, body, and action all smoothly joined • Teacher as classroom warrior • Desynchronization leads to paranoia • Jealous god realm • Othello, Macbeth and the Godfather • Humourless • Thriving on panic • Workaholism • Procrastination and indecision • Teachers need benevolent power, effortless effort, skilful means

Chapter 21, “Buddha: The Wisdom Energy of Space”

Staring into a clear blue sky • Blank sheet anxiety • A moment of openness • Tying our hot air balloon to the stakes of earthly conditions • Freedom to be both engaged and disengaged within the transparent context • Throwing away the map • Students who go unnoticed • The realm of the gods, absorbed in pleasure • The sleepy stupor of denial and the fear of change • No laughs in the animal realm • Clinging to habits • Fear of emotions • Autism and self-stimulation • Useless mind loops • Shifting states • Dream weaving • Daydreaming • Fearlessness • Space to discover self-respect