Many years ago when I had made the transition from being an educator to being an administrator my life became beset with a lot of worries. Every hour of the day I was being confronted with one big problem after another related to the many aspects and personnel of the school body.
Noticing my hair suddenly going prematurely gray, my caring wife surprised me with the gift of a small but well-built sailboat and set me out to sea – the perfect way on late afternoons and weekends to get away from the troubling onslaught of people and phone calls.
It was then I became aware of the wondrously real while invisible wind. One cannot see the wind – only know its presence by its effects: seeing it move the leaves of a tree, the clouds of the sky. Feeling it touching your cheek, gently blowing the hairs on your arm. Filling the outstretched white canvas of your little boat and sending you sailing! Just as the existentialist philosopher Sartre observed: “There is no such thing as ‘love’ – only proofs of love.”
I was delighting in the proof that the wind is truly there though invisible by experiencing it doing things with me and for me – it was enabling me to sail! My little boat had no meaning without the invisible wind, but with the wind it became alive and brought me great joy.
Now here comes my point. Just like the invisible wind, loving-kindness can only be known when it fills the outstretched mind/heart/soul of someone and moves him or her into a life of caring action. Loving-kindness must become personified if it is to be known in the real world of here and now. The purpose of our existence is to move – like that of a wooden sailboat – to catch hold of the spirit of loving-kindness and by so doing become a person who cares – who sails through our real world as a positive force.
By the way, I named my little sailboat Spiritus, which is the ancient Latin word meaning “wind” or “breath” or, of course, “soul.” There are people who say the human soul does not exist because you cannot see it. I say when the spirit of loving-kindness is personified, you will know it by its effect on you. Just like becoming one with the wind when sailing, personified loving-kindness will move you and your children and will in real time change the world too.
Gandhi saw this and wrote:
“…if we are to reach real peace in this world …we shall have to begin with children and if they will grow up in their natural innocence, … we shall go from love to love and peace to peace, until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which, consciously or unconsciously, the whole world is hungering.”
Paul Clement Czaja, Ph.D., has been involved in the Montessori movement of alternative education for more than 50 years. Dr. Czaja was on the founding faculty and, eventually, headmaster at the famous Whitby School, The American Montessori Center, in Greenwich, Connecticut, from 1960 until 1979. He has been involved in Montessori teacher training for many years, and has worked with Montessori public charter schools as well as independent schools. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.