Monday, November 07, 2016

Election mandala

How do you teach during the week of an election like this? Well, for Wednesday's class, encouraged by my co-teacher's gift of prescience, we planned a counterfactual exercise: Suppose Trump had won last night, how would you, as a citizen of The New School, respond? For tomorrow's, which happens in the afternoon before results come in, we'll go through the motions; by unplanned happenstance, the theme is ritual.

But today, in "Buddhism as a Liberal Art," I tried to give each of us a store of peace to weather the upcoming emotional storms... or was it to slow down time? We did something I've done before, took a Thich Nhat Hanh-inspired slow silent group walk around the block. Last time it was Spring, and took twenty minutes. Today night was falling over autumnal scenes, and, with a different person taking charge of the pace for each of the sides of the block between 11th and 10th Streets, Fifth and Sixth Avenues, it took the better part of an hour! It felt like more, and less.

As we made our way clockwise around the block, people and cars passing ever more swiftly but gently by, it didn't take long for me to realize that we were on a sort of kora. Distracted by the streetscape I didn't say it then but I'll say it now: Om mani padme hum.

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