the journey starts here
welcome to the true teachers acknowledgement the True Teachers acknowledges a world wide family of engaged individuals and groups that carry out an undefined, yet unified vision. Their core values are based on a deep care for the future of mankind and its host-organism. Individual and collective action is often driven by fear and anxiety, rather than by the aspiration of what the world could be. Those affiliated with the True Teaches have the courage to swim against the stream of financial greed and the struggle for social status, anchor points in the face of an uncertain future. The True Teachers acknowledges this network of support and inspiration. Many organizations attempt to offer alternatives forms of higher education, and many of them are fairing well. But to bring forth the so-needed deep renewal in education, a global collaborative effort is needed, combining the innovations, talents, and best practice of each involved. The True Teachers wishes to carry that vision, through the direct access, the renewal and the implementation of its the highest future potential. It is driven not by a dream, but by a vision - a potential future in active development.
page 6 | the true teachers: education’s missing half page 10 | session Järna: “Der Worte sind genug gewechselt, lasst mich auch endlich Taten sehn!” page 16 | the Alma Mater: “the good trough truth. the beautiful trough goodness. the true through beauty” page 18 | quick facts
testimonial if you are looking for ready made answers, you are not in the right place. But If you want to work with your burning questions, to find the answers in yourself, it is. If you are willing to join a group of striving individuals, with openness and non-judgement, to look to what is you want; you are in the right place. If you want to create and contribute with your gifts to othersâ€™ learning, you are in the right place. If you are searching for heart-nourishment, this is the right place. I am my true teacher. But there are a lot of true teachers out there: this tree, you, your shadow, my shadow... it is utterly important to communicate with my inner self. These are my tools: to ask questions, to observing, to be present, to open to what is living outside and inside, and to communicate that through forms of expression.
the True Teachers: education’s missing half From the 23rd to the 1st of October, something remarkable happened in Järna. It wasn’t a very visible event - in fact, you’d hardly notice something had happened if you didn’t know what to look for. A group of twelve came together, some of them students at a conventional university, some of them graduates of a ‘new school’, some of them entirely self-educated. The one thing everyone had in common is that an invitation had been extended, a call if you will. Part of it went like this: The “True Teachers” is an educational project. It answers to the feeling of students and learners who at some point during their education feel that it is incomplete, that it is limiting, dogmatic, or simply takes the pleasure out of learning. As a result of this, many students feel after their higher studies (if they decide to go through with them) that they are inadequate and unqualified, as if they have learnt nothing. Or they feel that they have learnt a great deal, but do not know what to do with this knowledge or how to apply it. Many do not even undertake further education anymore, because they realize beforehand that it does not serve their wish to really learn. The educational systems in place are not necessarily ‘wrong’. The point is that our educational systems are teaching us a fragmented, incomplete view of reality. The point is that they are serving a most noble goal (that is, to educate), but that they are doing so from a fragmented and thus incomplete view of reality. The result is visible all around us. We have indeed learnt and perfected our knowledge of the outer world. We have learnt to use tools and manipulate the world around us, to such an extend that we have the possibility to severely harm it, and are indeed doing so. 6
This logically implies that we also have the possibility to use this transformative power to create goodness and beauty. Then why aren't we doing so? It is simply so because we are missing a part of the ‘operation manual’ of the world we find ourselves in. In our education, we are neglecting a part of the map that is needed to navigate the world in a direction we find desirable. This ‘part of the manual' I am referring to is to be found in the subtle realm, the non-physical part of reality, which has its own lawfulness, its own purpose. It is, in fact, the realm out of which knowledges arises to begin with. It has been explored and developed since times ancient, by 'explorers of the intangible', who must have seemed as ancient to Plato and Aristotle as those Greek thinkers seem to us now. So it's been around for a while. But we cannot just ‘teach’ this in the conventional sense of the word. We are not seeking a mere knowledge transfer here. The uncovering of this kind of knowledge starts with the wondering, the questioning about the nature of reality. What the whole map looks like. The inner of things. The real challenge is to renew this form of knowledge for our times. To seek the spirit-side of things, but to do so with the intention of practically putting it to the test and making it useful. So the vision of the True Teachers Project is to bring this, that if we are able to reintegrate this knowledge in our everyday thinking, we can indeed experience, and create, beauty, goodness and truth. How can we even blame ourselves for messing up if we are teaching half of the manual? The reintegration of this holistic knowledge must start in education. That is what the True Teachers Project aims to do. It creates the environment for people to engage in a true way of learning, and to be able to learn from each-other and the True Teacher; guides on the path to inner knowing. It calls on students who feel drawn to this knowing to join in taking on the call to bend their education toward this principle, amongst others, so as to create a new academy, first for themselves, and then for others.
excerpt from a research essay Recent discoveries in physics even led some scientists to describe electrons in terms of possibility, rather then as 'fixions'. The invention of constants and the intervention of language inevitably add a layer of interpretation to what we once considered states of affairs. Moreover, in the process of developing knowledge we add meaning and depth to existing world views and forms of perception. By intentionally engaging in practices that heighten our level of attention, we can qualitatively improve our experience of the present and live into its full potential. The endeavor of making explicit the underlying patterns that shape our (conception of) reality, can be considered as attempts to create a shared understanding of ourselves in relation to everything we perceive as being outside of us (the other, the universe, our own shadow). The longing for answers on the eternal questions of life - what are we here for? the question - How to live in alignment with that purpose? - therefore calls us to come to an agreement on the grounds of existence. That ground might be found outside of time as we know it.
Session Järna: Der Worte sind genug gewechselt, lasst mich auch endlich Taten sehn!
two preparatory days Twelve people answered to the call. Many of them had taken away time to from their schools or universities to take part in the project. The question that obviously lived in everyone was, how do we go about this? How do we put the ideals we called forth into practice? The first two days were designed for the participants to come to stillness, to find the essence, and out of that, to get to know each-other. An incomplete structure was offered, so we improvised a lot to create the two days together, which of course was a a conscious effort. This ‘making ourselves at home’ was symbolized by our accommodation facility, since the house in which we would stay was entirely empty when we arrived. During those two days, and even more so during the five days of work, my education as an individual student was essential. I had to be able to sit in the uncomfortableness and the confusion of the group, which was something as had experienced as part of the group of Individual Students. In Otto Scharmer’s terminology, I invited people into a canvas on which a few strokes of paint were put - but no more than that. sitting in uncomfortableness And the point is, of course, that the vagueness present was absolutely necessary for the process to unfold as it did. This is where the prototyping actually happened: through group of 10
people committing to a process, not an outcome. Only in this way can new knowledge arise in the world. Only in this way can a ‘future unveil itself’. As Orland so aptly said: ‘a seeker of certain knowledge will see certain futures’ But to get there, is highly unusual. We often sat in silence. In the not-knowing. Especially for those coming from conventional universities, this took some getting used to. What we had to realize was that silence did not mean something was wrong. But the silence was nevertheless very confronting for a group of people who have met each-other only a few days earlier. Again, it was absolutely necessary, to be able to start listening to something none of us had heard before. In the afternoons, the sessions with Orland would provide fantastic input. Here we could freely share our , while Orland tied everything together and kept pointing out to us what process we were in. Again, it was a challenge to give shape to something that had never been done before, and the play of Orland taking and letting go of the reigns gave us a sense of how difficult it is to take leadership over one’s own education. In the end, two things stood out from Orland’s teaching: the need to come to ‘come to a place from where knowledge arises’ and the absolute necessity to embed a practice in one’s daily life. experiencing the shift the shift that gradually took place was archetypal, yet incredible to experience, as so few meetings succeed in going there. The question present changed from a restless what is the topic of this get-together? to a true inquisition of how do we create an environment and a space in which the topic can emerge freely and reveal itself? This shift required two things: a tolerance for the ambiguity of the why (letting go of needing to have an outlined topic) and an intuitive understanding of why (letting come of the crystallization). After a few days, something incredible started to happen. Without anyone asking, people started to bring their gifts to the group when they felt it to be necessary. The dynamics of the 11
group became everyone’s responsibility. As a facilitator, this was indeed the most difficult part: being able to give up control of process, and trusting that it would be better off because of that. In this empty space, each time, someone stood up to address what needed to be said. Not just that, but people brought their skills to do what needed to be done. I have never experienced this kind of organic growth of students teaching each-other in such a short time. We gradually rose to an incredible attentiveness, presence to whatever was present. We let go of our need to be perceived in a certain way, and started first playing and then dancing with whatever was present. The intuitive quality was indescribable at times. It remains a distinct experience to come to that place where every observation, whether physical or noetic, becomes an entry point into a deeper understanding of the world. I started referring to this as the Goethe-principle, referring to his all to often quoted understanding that every object, well contemplated, opens up new organ of perception within us. Never before have I experienced the meaning of this quotation as strongly as during the True Teachers. the returning threshold At the end of the week, the one question that stood out was: how can I bring this experience back with me to my old environment? How can I relive this experience, or make it useful in my everyday environment? And how do we take this work forward? The first session of the True Teachers became one of those experiences that are impossible to describe. Järna served as a sacred space for this pioneering session to take place. Each morning, after breakfast on Skillebyholm, we read a poem together, and then did a silent walking meditation to the campus. The place Järna is a much defined by its geography as by the people who live there, and again this made Järna the place to hold this first session. It also re-enforces the question of how to bring back the experience. According to Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth, the trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to 12
integrate that wisdom into the everyday life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world. This is usually extremely difficult. The road ahead On saturday, we held an open workshop to which about forty people attended. It was in and of itself a special event, as around ten different institutions of higher education were represented there, including the three Scandinavian ‘new schools’ (YIP, the MSLS and the KaosPilots). With such a large presence, the time we had asked for more structure. First we shared what the session had been like, in an experiential way. But the real agenda was to get some people present that day to realize how much along the same lines many of them were thinking, yet keeping a separate track. There were about eight key ideas present. The point I wanted to make was that everyone was holding a piece of the puzzle. That none of the ideas would be very fruitful lest they’d be combined. That day, some pieces of the larger puzzle clicked. And the complete picture, slowly forming, is that of a new academy.
the True Teachers’ way of learning
Truth seek we both — Thou in the life without thee and around; I in the heart within. By both can Truth alike be found. The healthy eye can through the world the great Creator track; The healthy heart is but the glass which gives Creation back.
the Alma Mater: the good trough truth, the beautiful trough goodness, the true through beauty
The True Teachers initiative is ultimately linked to a vision for a new academy. I imagine it to be a true ‘school of initiation’ (again referring to the Monolyth principle or Heroes Journey developed by Joseph Campbell). The goal is to become a Master in managing to stand between the two worlds of the ideal, non-dual and the world as it is perceived in the everyday consciousness of the collective. The goal is to teach students how to go to the place from which true knowledge emerges, where ideas are perceived. And then to have them work it all the way through into there ‘Integral Life’, putting it in service of ‘Truth, Goodness and Beauty’. From Self-directed Education to an Integral Life. At the same time, through the curriculum, mastering a discipline. Passion, a particular field of interest, for which love can be developed. This is the necessary act for new faculty to emerge. This, for me, I felt no more explicit as when I recently started studying, for the first time, Steiner’s “philosophy of Freedom”. In the original preface of 1894, he writes that ‘A truth which comes to us from outside always bears the the stamp of uncertainty. We can believe only what appears to each one of us in our own hearts as truth. Only the truth can give us assurance in developing our individual powers. Whoever is tortured by doubts finds his powers lamed. In a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his creative energies. [...] Again, we do not want any knowledge of the kind that has become frozen once and for all into rigid academic rules, preserved in encyclopaedias valid for all time. Each of us claims the right to start from the facts that lie nearest to hand, from is own immediate experiences, and 16
thence to ascend to a knowledge of the whole universe. We strive after certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.â€™ A vision, in my understanding of the word, is a potential future which presents itself. The potential of this academy continues to present itself to me with more clarity, so I have accepted to call. With an open mind to how it wishes to reveal itself, yet with calm, determined will. This will manifest with the creation of an ideell fĂśrening to design and execute a roadmap for the coming years.
quick facts the mission of the True Teachers Project is to empower full-time students to take matters into their own hands and start developing their own education. The steps to realize this mission are » to organize international meetings to prototype their new schooling path » to connect to other initiatives looking at the same horizon, (so as to) » crystalize the ideal principles underlying the new schooling path (and) » to found a new academy based on these ideal principles, with the purpose of empowering others. the twelve pioneering participants were Andre Benaím (Brazil), Christina Gmelin (Germany), Jara von Luëpke (Germany), Jessica Collins (South Africa), Matisse Van Damme (Belgium), Matthieu Vétois (France), Shira Nov (Israel), Thijs Moonen (Belgium), Tord Ranheim (Sweden), Vera Freitag (Germany) and Zinzi Wits (Holland). The project was documented by Wayne Avanson (United Kingdom) and Maarja Urb (Estonia) upcoming events are (most recent information): • nov-28 Alma Mater | founding of the föreningen Alma Mater, with a birthday fundraising effort • dec-01 Session Järna | TTP Session with Prof. W.J. Wouter, the Learning Lab, e.o. • apr-2012 Initiative Forum | Meeting on True Teachers so far, preparation for the Amherst Session • may-2012 Session Amherst | TTP Session with Arthur Zajonc (potential merge with the Presencing Forum) • jun-2012 Session Berlin | Potential TTP Session during the 2nd Global Presencing Forum
a True Teacher is hard to find, and hard to define. The original meaning is something like this: ‘a True Teacher is someone who has transcended their own field of knowledge, and is able to access, apply and guide others to the insights of the ideal realm, from which new knowledge arises’. 18
excerpt from our poem before silent walking meditation From this hour I ordain myself, loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, Going where I list, my own master, total and absolute, Listening to others, and considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me. I inhale great draughts of space; The east and the west are mine, and the north and the south are mine. I am larger, better than I thought; I did not know I held so much goodness. All seems beautiful to me; I can repeat over to men and women, You have done such good to me, I would do the same to you. I will recruit for myself and you as I go; I will scatter myself among men and women as I go; I will toss the new gladness and roughness among them; Whoever denies me, it shall not trouble me; Whoever accepts me, he or she shall be blessed, and shall bless me.
from this hour I ordain myself, loosâ€™d of limits and imaginary lines