Mediation v. Meditation

Mediation v. Meditation

Every time I see the word mediation I think it says meditation. Seeing the word mediation often gives me a little smile at an inappropriate moment, because the reason for mediation is usually grave.

Lately, that word has been thrown around in regards to a teacher strike at my old school district in Gresham, Oregon. I’ve heard some crazy stories about not only pay freezes, but having to pay back money already given, many class sizes above 30, a librarian teaching 37 classes a week in addition to running the library, staff cuts, days cut from the school year, and this just in: 50% of the staff will be moved to another school the next year. What is going on?

What is going on with public school education in the US in general? ‘Pink Slime’ refused by McDonalds, but is OK for school lunches? High levels of obesity and cuts to PE? No Child Left Behind testing kids on how well they take a test and basing school/teacher success on that? Cutting funding everywhere in US education, especially the arts at a time when creativity and innovation are key to success?

What I really don’t understand is why when there has been so much research into what the best practices are in teaching, the policymakers in US education take that information and throw it out the window. They know what’s good for students, yet do everything possible to prevent it from happening. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why are there continual cuts for US education yet more funding for war and oil companies? Why?!

OK, enough soap box, but believe me that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I really just don’t get it though. The one thing I did get is that I was too small to fight it and I got tired of trying. I do not know how to solve problems that big. I wish the best for the teachers who are still fighting the fight. You are all brave and worthy souls and I thank you for your valiant efforts every day. Your students are lucky to have you.

When I think I see the word meditation at Panyaden School, it is meditation. We actually meditate at school. Taking time to calm the mind, now that does make sense to me. We take time to thank the teachers who came before us, that also makes sense. Teachers in the US, please know I think of you and send metta loving kindness to you all on a daily basis.

When it comes to education, I’ll say no to mediation and stick with meditation for now.

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3 thoughts on “Mediation v. Meditation

  1. I agree that we could use a LOT more meditation in US schools. We could follow the wonderful example of your school. How often to you meditate? Do you meditate with students or is it staff only? How does it change your day? So much of my work is related to meditation, we just use paint rather than zafu and I am really interested in how others use it!

  2. Hi Naomi, Thanks for the comment. Did you mean how often do I personally meditate, or how often we do at school? Yes, we do meditate with our students, even the little ones, only for a few minutes, but it makes a difference. There is one particular student who knows it helps him focus, so he has even suggested meditation a few times. I’d love to hear about how you use meditation with paint. Did I answer your questions?

  3. You gave great answers to my questions! I love the idea of a Buddhist school. IT sounds like an amazing place. I look forward to reading more posts about what you do.
    How do we use meditation in painting? It’s similar to walking meditation. We ask our students to focus on the strokes they are making in the moment. If you take care of placing paint one stroke at a time, the painting takes care of itself, right? Then making art becomes about authenticity rather than “Making A Painting” or “Creating.” It is just another manifestation of being. I love it!!!

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