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Wisdom Leader and Teacher: Marty Schmidt

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Marty SchmidtMeet Marty Schmidt, a high school Humanities teacher at the Hong Kong International School in China. Marty shares some background and his unique experience introducing students to the Wisdom Tradition and spiritual practice.

You can also read some of Marty’s blog posts that he has shared as resources and reflections HERE.

 

 

Sharing Wisdom and “inner awakening” with students at HKIS:

I have been teaching service learning for many years as a means by which to help my students break out of their achievement-driven, self-focused lifestyle. It is an effective, but insufficient, pedagogy. Having discovered Cynthia’s work in 2010, I have slowly integrated her wisdom approach, including a strong emphasis on spiritual practices, as a way to crack the inner shell of the ego. I’m pleased to say that the work is bearing fruit, and my heart continues to feel enlivened by the possibilities of bringing the Wisdom Tradition to mainstream international education.

I call the the service learning classes “social conscience education,” which was the topic of my research. Since meeting Cynthia, however, I’ve added in “inner awakening” as a goal as well. Right now I’m teaching World Religions and an elective course that I started called, “Service, Society, and the Sacred” that both aim to awaken students to a life that engages the body, mind, and heart simultaneously.

An example of spiritual practice in action:

One of my 14 year olds in World Religion determined in class that she’s a 6 on the Enneagram, and that worry about school is depleting her energy. So, we devised a simple practice where she writes down her worries at night, rips them up, then disposes of them. Then we added a short meditation of letting go of her thoughts as a way to make that physical practice a mental habit. In a short two-week period, she came to be a much happier, less worried, more trusting and positive human being! A small, well-placed intervention can work miracles.

Teaching “Spiritual Explorations”:

Introducing the next generation to Wisdom practices

My colleagues and I are starting a Wellness block curriculum that includes a new course called “Spiritual Explorations” for all 4 years of high school. It’s very ambitious, and I don’t know that such a thing has been tried before. There’s certainly no guarantee that it will be successful, but we begin teaching the yet-to-be-created curriculum in January, 2018. You can find some information about the Wellness block HERE.

Discovering Cynthia and the Wisdom teachings:

Discovering Cynthia’s teachings just after completing my doctorate came at a very opportune moment, and my life direction has been changed. I have slowly integrated her work into my teaching, and it continues to lead me towards a Wisdom path. I have already drafted book chapters for a book tentatively called, “The Wisdom Way of Teaching: Social Conscience and Inner Awakening in the High School Classroom.” You can read more about this turning point in my life, which came to the fore right before I joined a retreat with Cynthia in Assisi in 2012, the first time I had spent an extended period listening to hear teachings HERE.

 

Connecting with Marty:

You can email Marty HERE.

Marty’s blog: martinschmidtinasia.wordpress.com

I also have quite a few blog entries about Cynthia’s work and how I teach my students using her ideas. I’m very happy to share these more specifically, and in some annotated form. Here is a list from the blogs which include Cynthia’s name: martinschmidtinasia.wordpress.com/tag/cynthia-bourgeault

 

Inspiring Words of Wisdom (Community members can share inspirational quotes HERE):

 

From John Welwood, Toward a Psychology of Awakening, 97

If psychological work helps us find ourselves, spiritual work takes a step further, helping us let go of ourselves.

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From Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, 17

In my own efforts to live the gospel I have found that it is virtually impossible to reach and sustain that level of ‘perfect love’ without a practice of contemplative prayer . . .. Ordinary awareness always eventually betrays itself and returns to its usual postures of self-defense and self-justification . . .. Only from the level of spiritual awareness do you see and trust that all is held in the divine Mercy . . .. You can begin to reach out to the world with the same wonderful, generous vulnerability that we see in Christ.

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From Cynthia Bourgeault, Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, 17

Every spiritual tradition that holds a vision of human transformation at its heart also claims that a practice of intentional silence is a non-negotiable. Period. You just have to do it . . . . There is a universal affirmation that this form of spiritual practice is essential to spiritual awakening.

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From William James, Psychology: A Briefer Course

The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.

 

 

 

 

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