(Drawn from Matthew Fox’s book The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human)
(1) Contemplation (p.108):
Contemplation should be the first C because the lesson should begin (as all lessons from this day on) with specific healing art practice of the class. Students should understand the basic meaning and purpose of contemplation and meditation, as well as the philosophy and cosmology underpinning the practice.
•What does contemplation mean?
•Basic philosophy of Chi Gung (some basics about the body in Chinese cosmology)
•Basic Philosophy of Yoga practice (seven chakras [p.141] and eight limbs)
(The seven chakras of yoga practice moves right into the next “C”.)
(2) Character and Chakra Development (p.138):
In order to see the interconnectedness, the contemplative practice should move right into a discussion of Character. Contemplative practice serves not only to find inner peace, but to cultivate one’s character in facing the world. What are the attributes that make up a person’s character? Use a diagram of the human with the seven chakras. Begin with the students’ ideas about what constitutes a whole person and good character. From that list, place appropriate ideas on the diagram and describe the attributes of each chakra. (p.141)
(3) Cosmology & Ecology (p.104):
The human body, as discussed in the first two Cs, is not separate from the world, but part of an interconnected community of beings. The chakra system, as in many cultures, shows the human body as a microcosm of the Universe. (The Seven Chakras are paralleled by the seven cosmic spheres). While both cosmology and ecology will be studied extensively, students should understand some basic definitions at this point:
•Ecology comes from the Greek “Oikos” meaning “home.” It refers to the living community that is our true home.
•Cosmology comes from the Greek “Cosmos” meaning both “beauty” and “order.” It refers to the study of the Universe and how we can find a meaningful and unique place in it. Cosmology is how we see our connections to one another and the world.
(4) Chaos & Darkness (p.115):
Chaos provides the balance for Cosmos. Students should recognize the difference between opposites (eg good and evil) and the dynamic tension of concepts like chaos and cosmos (or yin and yang, which is particularly important if students are using a contemplative practice based on the Chinese system). It refers to “disorder” now, but comes from a Greek word meaning “void” or emptiness. At this point, students should become familiar with both of these definitions. To begin with, ask the students what associations they make with chaos and darkness. If students come up with negative associations, encourage them to begin to think of how they can be seen positively.
(5) Compassion (p.121):
Students should understand the meaning of compassion. It literally means “to feel with” (Latin com=with/pathos=feel). This is different from feeling sorry for someone or even to do what one thinks is fair. An emphasis can be placed how compassion is linked with a mother’s care for a child. Students will be encouraged, as YELLAWE proceeds, to see how they can live their lives more compassionately.
(6) Community (p.130):
In many ways, one’s capacity for compassion has to do with how community is defined. At this stage, the students should simply define what their community is. Students should be encouraged to think of community in ways that move beyond physical proximity.
(7) Critical Consciousness & Judgment (p.126):
What does it mean to think critically? When we are given information, do we always accept it? Whom do we trust? Friends? Parents? Peers?
(8) Courage (p.124):
“Compassion is not possible if we lack courage”. And our Critical Consciousness doesn’t do us much good without courage, either. As the students for examples of courageous people.
9) Creativity (p.111):
Students should understand that the third phase of the program is creative, and that they are expected to create something based upon the class. In addition, students should recognize how the YELLAWE pedagogy is different in its emphasis on the student’s creativity. Instead of being given information to learn, the students become teachers as they integrate lessons and experiences and express them in their own, unique way. It is also helpful to ask the students what creative talents and interests they bring to the program.
(10) Ceremony, Celebration, & Ritual (p.136): Questions for discussion:
•What rituals do you have in your lives?
•Why is ritual important for people of every culture and how does it build community?
•What happens to a society that has lost its rituals? An example: gang initiations that have arisen in the absence of traditional rites of passage.
Note that the students will have a ceremony as a way to share with the community and integrate what they have learned.