Posted: 02/11/2012 by zandtao in Insight, ONE planet

I have just moved to a new house. It is a richer house than I want, but I don’t refuse it on those grounds – my rent is not excessive. Sometimes you read of writers living in remote areas able to focus on their craft – even if they don’t. It is that sort of place. I sit outside and there is the dirt road but I cannot see a brick.

As a consequence of this remoteness I was forced into a rethink. It has taken three weeks to get the internet. It was a condition of my moving, but apart from agreeing to the condition the landlady has done nothing. But with effort I got it in. But meanwhile I was thinking about the internet, my websites my blogs. I doubt whether I will ever contribute to the world significantly in the areas that most matter to me. Throughout my adult life – sporadically – I have written scifi, my website has books:-

Wai Zandtao

Since retiring my spiritual work has led me to write the Treatise on Zandtao. This book is mostly finished containing what I want to say about where I am at.

When I retired from teaching I wrote Matriellez about the failures of education as an attempt to highlight what is needed in education if people can ever wrestle control away from the corporations.

It is these writings that are the legacy of my life, they are the parts of the tradition that I have maintained and become aware of during my life. It is these that matter now.

But what do I do mostly? Write blogs. Therapeutic but meaningful? Our world is sound byte-oriented, so if your blog is short enough and hard-hitting enough people will read it, but the truth is much deeper and it takes time to contemplate – hopefully better, meditate. If you put meditational experience in blogs then that takes too much time for the majority to internalise. Their minds race, run from one thought to another often dragging their bodies with them. A tradition requires contemplation; and whilst there is much better available, contemplating what I have written will take many people forward in terms of understanding.

Whilst I have recently started part-time teaching again, this is not that meaningful. I am doing a bit but what I am really offering in the latter years of my life is not teaching children – a valid activity – but my limited understanding through my writing.

Things have gone wrong, I suppose – I don’t know, maybe Karma does. I am a teacher but I don’t teach what matters. I am able to write but I am not a creative writer even though I have written “creative scifi” books. My writing is my expression of my understanding even in the scifi books, my expression in writing is my expression of what I have learnt, but really at this stage of my life, especially as I am a teacher by profession, I should be passing that understanding on educationally. That’s where it is wrong because I am not.

As I am not able to pass it on through teaching I need to perfect what I can and will be spending more time on my website. I meditate, an insight comes, and I rush to blog. I might still blog but the purpose will be adding flesh to the bones of the insight with a view to increasing the little understanding I hope my website offers.

There is a tradition in Thailand – the reusii – hermit. I met one, an American guy. He was being trained up to be a source of the tradition of healing. I am now working to the tradition of Zandtao, I hope it is worth it for someone. Living remotely is not always easy with amenities – especially the water, hopefully my remote issues are worth it for someone. Whatever I will enjoy being up here!

Update 22/9/13:- This was a discussion of my writing but I decided to collate my blogs better as well. To do this I am using categories and tags much better, and have brought in the earlier blogs into this process. On each of the blogs the about page describes my writing. For this blog read this

  1. naivelysage says:

    This raised a few thoughts about teaching and writing. Not to challenge what you said but mainly as notes to myself that I will probably copy to my own blog.

    I was never really taught to teach. Maybe I missed something but when I was at teacher training college we never really discussed the business of teaching in terms of insights, methodologies, logistics. There was abstract stuff about child psychology and there was teaching practice and that was about it. No reflection or focus on my own growth as a person or as a teacher. Maybe that’s changed. I do some work as a non-managerial supervisor for the YMCA degree course on Informal Education and there some emphasis on the things I mentioned plus a commitment to ‘reflective practice’. We often forget that teaching is not about the transfer of knowledge but about the development of a capacity for learning and the ability to use that learning.

    In many traditions of spiritual teaching there seems to be the same hierarchical approach to learning that we find in academic institutions. While this works for those with the discipline the majority don’t buy into it and it is not necessarily the approach most conducive for learning how to be a creative and independent thinker. What is best is a collegiate approach where the teacher and learner share an investigative, exploratory approach to learning and where the teacher’s skill is to facilitate this exploration rather than to act as a knowledge bank.

    The potential of blogging as opposed to writing a book is that it can be an exercise in collective learning. When we author a book it is our experience and insight presented as a kind of knowledge edifice. A blog is much more fluid and alive, it links to other blogs, contains comments and is part of a dialogue. The teacher is no longer up there but down with everyone else sharing information, knowledge and wisdom as part of a kind of ‘hacker culture’ extended to spiritual learning.

    The motto I use on my blog: “Enlightenment is Open Source” hints at this approach. We need to encourage the ‘hacker attitude’ and to take traditions, old and new and ‘hack the code’ so we understand it, adapt it and improve it.

    • zandtao says:

      I don’t think you can say you were never taught to teach, you attended teacher training for one or three years so you must have picked up something. Many of the ideas that you are touching on I went into detail when I wrote Matriellez, and as these are your notes I won’t go into them – it is up to you. The situation with Matriellez and yourself is typical. Many of the ideas that I subscribe to you or others might find of interest, but people choose interactive blogging as a means of learning. This of course is their choice but when people spend time writing books there is far more depth.

      Western culture has spent a long time denigrating teachers, in the UK this was a political strategy because education became a political platform under Thatcher. As a result respect for teachers disappeared. Along with it went respect for knowledge and those that know, I do not equate that with all teachers. You must also remember that teachers do not control their environment, they only do what they are told.

      In my piece I never discussed teaching methodology, perhaps you made assumptions as to what I meant as a spiritual teacher or perhaps no assumptions were made – I don’t know. What I was referring to in general is that for many people involved in spirituality, it is the connections they make rather than the knowledge and understanding that gets them in situ. As with anything else it is usually people who are less threatening to the establishment are given what crumbs there are on offer.

      As for blogging there is the interactive side. On occasions they have been informative, but that is not a patch on good interaction with a teacher. Of course that is not always practical but sadly nowadays both with the politics that attack teachers, the addiction to the internet and for many safety concerns about leaving known environments there is a lack of respect for the teaching situation. Having worked in environments where students have respect and those that don’t, there is no doubt which gives greater learning, lacking respect is a barrier to learning. People turn to alternative methodologies not because they are better but because it is so hard to fight the indoctrination against the traditional ways.

      Having said all this I am extremely critical of Eastern ways which often repress creative thinking. In many ways I understand this especially when the students are westerners. Western students’ minds are full, their attitudes to learning is often combative holding to their own knowledge as a fortress, and many Eastern teachers recognise this and require the discipline first. Sometimes this is appropriate, but the teaching methodology depends on the situation. Unfortunately many westerners want to dictate that methodology when surely it is the person of knowledge whose privelege that is.

      I note a contemporary approach to what you describe. Whilst there is much in such contemporariness, rejecting tradition is not always the best way. Unfortunately many who work within the contemporary learning approaches have lost the skill sets and discipline to learn in the traditional ways, this is what I am mainly getting at when I talk of sound-byte culture. You can write this poetically in paragraphs such as your last one, but a miseducated generation are suffering because they lack the traditional discipline.

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