The Centre Hole
We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the centre hole
that makes the wagon move.
We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.
We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.
We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
(Tao Te Ching, chapter 11, translation by Stephen Mitchell)
We are living in an age of synthesis. The greatest synthesis of all is the bridging of the inner and outer worlds – the worlds of spirit and matter. The individual of the future, the one who will be the gift that we wish to receive in the world, will be the whole human-being. A being capable of sourcing their actions from the inner world of their intuition, communication from the understanding within their heart, knowledge from the knowing wisdom centre of their mind and presence from the connection to their soul.
How do we create this possibility in our youth? They already come with this possibility, but their limitations must be cast aside. They must be seen with ‘eyes that can see and with ears that can hear’ the budding potential yearning to bloom. This is the true meaning of ‘education”, to educe, to draw out what is latent within and allow it to be molded by the inspiration and experiences of the individual soul. I have come to see that this work is a greater responsibility than I have ever imagined – it is a spiritual work that asks us to be midwives of a consciously evolving being.
This is not the mandate that has been adopted by our mainstream institutions. Rather than ‘draw-out’ our educational systems work to ‘put-in’, and their time at school, at home, and in-between is responsible for forging a personality that unconsciously adapts itself to survive in an environment that it perceives either as hostile or conditionally accepting. In due time the child loses touch with who he or she is and begins to live out the ideas, desires and fears of society (even its rebellion is conditioned). Yet, behind this personality is the seed of a whole being with a genius, a unique pattern of expression, that can gift the world through the manifestation of its heart’s desires.
Our youth do not need to be told that they are ‘special’, nor that they are ‘inadequate’, they merely need to come into contact with who they are and recognize their beauty. Then they have to learn how to stay connected – how to understand the workings of their body, the nature of their mind, the voice of their heart, and the dimensions of the soul. By learning to come into contact with the “centre hole that makes the wagon move”, they can join together the spokes of their life into a wheel that carries them towards the fulfillment of both the outer and inner of their potential. In this way, they learn how to lead a balanced life.
This is a great work, not something that can be accomplished in a weekend, or even a week, it’s an education for life. However, once the ‘feeling’ is caught, life then becomes the great Teacher – the greatest one of all. Each person will call into life all the experiences they need in order to learn the lessons they came here to learn and to give the gifts they came here to offer. Once they get a sense of the mechanics behind how this whole process works, it’s up to them to grow in awareness and ability to become conscious creators of their lives.
The questions that is ever-evolving for me in this work is: How do we hold space for this to occur? How do we become masters of this process? What are the community technologies for emergence that support the journey of becoming? Once we understand this we have the keys to something that can unlock a source of energy and creativity that is absolutely crucial to the transformation of our social, economic and cultural systems. This may be the essential task of our time and one that will be heralded by our current and future generations of youth. For we are stewards of living gifts in the form of young beings who are unaware of the precious opportunity that they have been given – the gift of life – and what they do with it is their gift back to life itself.
May we all be spokes together to form a wheel that will carry us into the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible, all the while honouring that centre hole, that invisible force that holds it all together and transcends our differences, our limitations, and our ideas of the way things have to be.