Tuesday, October 14, 2008

School Meetings & Loving Kindness

The administration at our school decided yesterday that we ought to be present for weekly meetings. I think these sorts of meetings, all the teachers and most of the admin, 4:30 - 5:00 on Monday afternoons, are quite common in Korean public schools, and if memory serves, I think it was stipulated in our Gangwon-do EPIK contracts that we must attend staff meetings. We had been excused from them for the last few weeks though, presumably on the grounds that we couldn't understand anything that was said during them, but I think the actual cause was a lack of chairs in the teachers' room, since the onus for reintroducing us seemed to be the delivery of two new chairs to the teachers' room.

So what do you do in a 30 minute meeting when you can't understand anything that's said? Probably much the same things you do in a 30 minute meeting when you can understand everything that's said.

I studied Korean fashion a bit. The three administrators sitting in front of us (#'s 1, 2 and 3, naturally) were wearing ties that were, respectively, pink with a red-white-green candy cane pattern, peach with a thick plaid pattern that could put my 1990's flannel shirts to shame, and purple with what seemed to be liberally applied glitter all over it.

After the fashion inquiry, I noticed there were exactly the same number of teachers wearing glasses and not wearing glasses, I memorized the days the week from the agenda (il, wul, hwa, su, mog, geum, to), and then did some loving-kindness meditation. This is something I learned in Vipassana courses as metta meditation, and had fallen out of the habit of doing since I last left Korea, but having come back to it, I just have to share it with you... it is almost magically powerful.

I simply look at a person and think some variant of 'we are of the same source, I feel deep love and compassion for you and wish for blessings in your life.' At the same time, I try to energetically open my heart to the person, which may sound pretty woowoo, but I suspect if you try it, you'll see that it's not so strange or difficult. When I do this, I notice a number of things, first I do feel a deep love for and connection with the individual I'm focused on, secondly I feel a deep peace and happiness come over me (The first time I did this was on a subway in Korea 2.5 years ago. I remember thinking that I had somehow cheated the emotional circuitry in my brain, because it couldn't possibly be that easy to be so deeply happy). Finally, I also notice that the body language of those surrounding me frequently opens toward me, probably as a result of changes in my body language, though I'm not yet ready to rule out a direct-mental communication that tips people off to my loving intentions. And if that sounds a lot woowoo, well sure, fine. But take fifteen seconds during your next meeting and try this, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.


Alice said...

Cool posting. Neckties and lovingkindness....I'll try it at my first opportunity tomorrow! I suppose it might even work with someone long distance - right?

Anjole said...


I heard on CNN this morning that the supreme court has denied Troy Davis'appeal

Julie said...

I guess language comes in many forms right -- including fashion?