Finding our Center – Apprentice #3

After our familiar game of dodgeball this morning, Captain Preetham introduced a new game to us: Eedor. This team sport hails from New Zealand. After a bit of trial-and-error, we were hooked. As usual, just as were getting sucked into the spirit of the competition, we were called to breathe.

This time, we updated the existing movements, leading us to crisscross our arms in front of us and then open up in a wide arc over our heads while taking a deep breath in, simultaneously stretching on our toes to match the rhythm of our breath; every inhale we would rise up on our toes and every exhale we would settle back on our feet. It was a dance with breathing.

We wound up our breathing session by standing still (as best as we could) for a few minutes. (The imaginary tiger in the centre of the circle ensured our motionless moments.)

Our thoughts and words turned to the pledge that we regularly recite – to learn with a will and with joy as new topics unfold during our day.

However, before we began our indoor learning session, Captain Preetham got us acquainted with Vipassana meditation. The traditionally ten-day program of reflection was condensed to ten minutes of silence for our convenience. We each chose a spot to stand/sit while we tried our best to achieve at least a few minutes of noble stillness. As is with all activities, time is relative; for some of us the ten minutes stretched on far too long and for others it practically flew. All in all, we did our best to bring our attention back to an object of focus every time our mind wandered. It was a challenge to be objectively observant for that set duration, but I’m convinced that as days go by and we stick to this practice, the ability to resist the urge to move unnecessarily will strengthen and, consequently, improve our skill to focus (not to mention benefitting from all the other positive side-effects of this activity.)

Once our time was up, Captain Preetham signalled for us to head inside where a new allegory was presented during the sharing circle: a story of well-dressed man riding a horse and a curious old man. We pitched forth our ideas, altering and evolving its symbolic representation, while also changing the outcome of the story itself.

We did a quick recap of yesterday’s events, sharing our views and opinions of what we had experienced and giving feedback of the trip. It was unanimously declared that plenty of extra time was requisite to another visit to the bookstore.

Discussions with the Apprentices

We spent the rest of the day figuring out rules and consequences for our interactions together and outlining a timetable for the subjects we were interested in learning. Each of us took turns to chalk out our interests on the board, which was then put to a vote by the remaining learners – after considerable discussion on the usefulness and general approval of each topic.

We reached a consensus at the end of the day. Our timetable would revolve around crafts, cooking, games, trips, theatre, movies, reading, writing, music and an umbrella of challenges. A daily puzzle/riddle would be printed on the board for all of us to unlock and a total of six photographs has to be taken by each of us on a daily basis. These are just a couple of endeavours to trigger creative thinking and wake our minds up.

Nothing whets the intelligence than a passionate curiosity and that’s what we intend to cultivate during our time together.

Mentor | Skills Beyond Education

Apprentice Education Program

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