Spiritual Education for Sustainability in Women With Reference to Autobiographies

Spiritual Education for Sustainability in Women With Reference to Autobiographies

Papiya Chatterjee (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, India) and Deepanjali Mishra (Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9893-0.ch007

Abstract

Spirituality is more or less measured with religion and morality, where both these words are emotional and deal with the public and private life. If education as widely accepted, is learning to see with new eyes then agreeably attending to spirituality is consciousness of the self and learning. Spirituality is a way of life where a person acquires greater understanding of himself and the outer world. People with spiritual education and awakening, possess a completely different view of the self and the world and further possess greater virtues and good behavioral traits. The chapter further throws light on the need and importance of spiritual education and learning in the lives of women.
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Introduction

Education is acquiring knowledge of the unknown, to apply it to the known an unknown to bring out clear understanding of matter and manner is what knowledge is. Many authors have presented many views on spiritualism, their varied definitions and perspectives have led to present a clear picture on what spirituality does and what spiritual education is. Spirituality is more or less measured with religion and morality, where both these words are emotional and deals with the public and private life and practice of the beings. If education as widely accepted, is “learning to see with new eyes” then agreeably attending to spirituality is consciousness of the self and learning. It gets beautifully defined by Steven Glazer as sacredness. According to him:

So, then, what is sacredness? Sacredness is the practice of wholeness and awareness. It is approaching, greeting, and meeting the world with basic respect. What is sacredness as the ground of learning? It is rooting education in the practices of openness, attentiveness to experience, and sensitivity to the world. Spirituality in education begins with questions: What is my experience? What is my effect? What are the interrelationships between myself and others? Are these being attended to? (pp. 11-12)

Spiritual education is a kind of transcendent teaching as stated by Nash. He uses the Greek word epektasis to elaborate the most vital part of spirituality, “a straining forward toward mystery, toward a luminous darkness, toward an insatiated desire for a meaning beyond meaning” (p. 18). He terms spiritual education and teaching as an inward journey together with an ultimate destination to a deeper personal response to the mystery of existence (p. 168). Whereas Joan Halifax, anthropologist and teacher brought this truth out about spiritual education that:

Spirituality is difficult for us to touch because it flows to and from the invisible, from love and the mystery of death . . . . It flows from the ground of our relationship, not only between human beings, but also between all beings, including mountains and rivers . . . . It evokes within us compassion, which allows us to see through the eyes of innumerable beings (1998, pp. 44-45).

Spirituality is a way of life where a person acquires greater understanding of himself and the outer world. People with spiritual education and awakening possess a different view of the self and the world by becoming humble, peace loving, compassionate and considerate. Spirituality is a new connection leading us to our home evidently meaning our own self and equally when at home it strings us to the world we live in. human beings can turn to be “healers in a wounded world” (p. 2).

Although spirituality has multifaceted areas of definition, it is generally associated to religion and religious practices but there has been plethora of authors holding a general consensus that spirituality has nothing to do with religion, nor it is set of ethics which is a study of right and wrong in human conduct. Thus what spirituality deals with and what it does and doesn’t mean is logically expressed by Robert Nash who has presented a distinction between the two terms.

‘Religion’ he exclaims, ‘is the institution; spirituality is the personal. Religion is what we do with others; spirituality is what we do within ourselves. Public vs. private faith. Religion is head; spirituality is heart’ (p. 166).

Spirituality in education refers to the compassion that a human being acquires as Denise Tolliver (cited in Tisdell, 2003) presented clearly that spiritual education “raise consciousness, stimulate awareness, foster creativity and imagination, connect us with grander issues of purpose and meaning, and facilitate connection with that which animates us” (p. 199). One of the everlasting impacts of spiritual education is the driving force and the motive it brings in the life of the person. It fills the life of a person with joy and love for every other being thus by making him more forgiving and compassionate. It is logically presented by Parker Palmer:

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