Another perspective on the Emerson symposium…

I was probably the only person present who isn’t, or wasn’t once, some
kind of teacher. So I’m either a gate-crasher, or a fly-on-the-wall,
or both.:-)

For me it was an excellent inaugural meeting of a group of people with
widely different backgrounds and values who met in an atmosphere of
genuine interest in each other and in this “thing” that we share – a
passion for self-knowledge, for ourselves and for those with whom we
are involved.

Caroline has already commented on the restorative influence of the
meeting and its venue – “of being rejuvenated and discovering fresh
commitment to what I value.” When the founding group met in September
in London, I went along hoping to learn about those “values” that
ACMHE members cleave to. I learned enough to want to learn more, more
about this wonderfully fluid term “contemplative enquiry”, and more
about why it is important to those who practice it; because
contemplative pedagogy is, for me at least, contemplative enquiry in
the sphere of education.

So while I really appreciated the excellent, and sadly too brief,
expositions of method by Jennifer and by Robert-Louis, I feel we have
only just begun to scratch the surface of sharing how exactly we each
understand contemplative enquiry as a path of knowledge and of
self-knowledge. Jennifer placed this question clearly in our midst
when she asked, in effect, “Who am I” as a teacher, and also I presume,
as a human being. For me, this was a crucial point in the day, and
pointed to this, dare I say it, presence, asking us to pursue the path
that can help us to answer the question.

The atmosphere spoke volumes of the “goodness” that this path brings
with it; almost everyone – Christopher Clouder most explicitly – spoke
somehow or other of the liberating feeling such an approach confers;
the clowning brought this to manifest expression. In the midst of the
humour and pathos, the funny hats provided a kind of romance, almost

And I suppose like all holiday romances, if the relationship is to
survive, then the hard work starts now.


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