It’s Time to Grow Out, Part Two

Written by Master Charles Cannon, Will Wilkinson


“What is gained by perceiving education as a way to enhance even further the runaway consumption that threatens the earth, the air, and the water of our planet?”
–John Taylor Gatto, from Dumbing Us Down

Surely the only worthwhile education in the 21st Century begins with facing the predicament we humans have brought on ourselves. As Einstein said, which I quoted in the first blog of this series, “Problems created by one way of thinking can’t be solved by the same way of thinking.”

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Human beings are, if anything, stubborn. As the saying goes,“All we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.” And, as Gatto continues in his inspiring takedown of compulsory schooling (which educates nothing about the challenges of the real world today),“Should we continue to teach people that they can buy happiness in the face of a tidal wave of evidence that they cannot? Shall we ignore the evidence that drug addiction, alcoholism, teenage suicide, divorce, and other despairs are pathologies of the prosperous much more than they are of the poor?” 1

Simply put, we seem determined to ignore the long proven fact that money can’t buy happiness, that the pursuit of happiness is destroying our home environment, and that we are sacrificing our very lives in the process. The alternative, apparently of interest to those still reading, is a road less traveled, namely, to consciously explore the wealth that cannot be owned, that must be shared… the portfolio of “the poor.”

And what is that wealth? Here’s a poetic articulation from writer Richard Jefferies, describing the experience we may gain on this neglected path: “I wish that the men now serving the great polished wheels, and works in iron and steel and brass, could somehow be spared an hour to sit under this ancient oak in Thardover South Wood, and come to know from the actual touch of its rugged bark that the past is living now, that Time is no older, that Nature still exists as full as ever,… That they might gather to themselves some of the leaves — mental and spiritual leaves — of the ancient forest, feeling nearer to the truth and soul, as it were, that lives on in it. They would feel as if they had got back to their original existence, and had become themselves.” 2

cherry tree branch time to grow out 2

“When was the last time you touched a tree? For some people, incredibly, the answer is never.”

What a compelling vision that touches all our senses. “…to know from the actual touch of its rugged bark that the past is living now.” When was the last time you touched a tree? For some people, incredibly, the answer is never. That world “out there” remains out there, a barely observed necessity surrounding a life of industry and abstraction. “The world” has become a concept; it’s no longer an organism. And it’s certainly no longer the place where we feel we truly belong, where we become ourselves. The wilderness? Dangerous and unproductive. And our modern response? As Joni Mitchell sang, “Pave paradise, put up a parking lot.”

There’s a haunting line from Kabir, completing one of his amazing poems: “… as the river gives itself into the ocean, what is inside me moves inside you.” 3 How tender, how compelling, how revealing of this great secret we are exploring, the rewards for growing out beyond our isolation, to connect with each other and with all that we are in the larger sense. “No man is an island,” the saying goes, yet we have forgotten even the land beneath the waves that joins us. Imagine regaining the actual experience of that, of being connected, of actually flowing together with each other in life, where “each other” includes all others, all people, and all species, including the invisible and the bizarre. What an invitation to life’s banquet!

Its Time To Grow Out 2 Img 2

“They would feel as if they had got back to their original existence, and had become themselves.” Back to our original existence, and back to the sense of belonging and the happiness that money can never buy. Being ourselves: just writing / reading those words brings a moment of relief from the hectic panic of civilized life. Oh that this moment of exploration, education, and joy might continue…

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1. Dumbing Us Down, The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, John Taylor Gatto, page 60

2. Tongues in Trees, Kaplin, by Richard Jefferies

3. The Kabir Book, Kabir (versions by Robert Bly)

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About the Author

Master Charles Cannon

Master Charles Cannon

Master Charles Cannon is a modern spiritual teacher, founder of Synchronicity Foundation for Modern Spirituality, and developer of the High-Tech Meditation and Holistic Lifestyle experience. His work over the past 40 years has helped transform the lives of millions worldwide who respect him as one of the truly innovative spiritual teachers of our time.

Will Wilkinson

Will Wilkinson

Will Wilkinson has been a professional collaborative writer for decades. He has two of his own non-fiction books In print, a novel on the verge and two more non-fiction books in final edit stages. Meanwhile, he collaborates with contemporary wisdom keepers, helping them discover and refine their voice.