A Simple Concept

Essential to the spiritual path and a part of our beginning meditation instruction, we learn to relax and focus on the light. It’s amazing how trained our minds are to look for problems and how our culture, especially educational culture, often supports this focus. Something about that has never felt quite right.

I never felt like I was being my best self as a teacher even if I was able to clearly identify and understand a problem in my classroom. It often left me feeling overwhelmed, like there were always more problems and never the time or resources to handle them all. A feeling all too familiar to the average teacher.

When I finally found Education for Life (EFL) and took my first class, my first thought was, “Where has this been all my life?!”

What really resonated with me was how the other educators talked about children. They considered all aspects of the child’s being and were not only willing but determined, to see the very best in each child. Even the “difficult” ones.

Our assignment between sessions was to “look for the light.” As our instructor explained it, we were to look for moments of “child-likeness” in our students. Moments of natural excitement, enthusiasm and joy.

I quickly found that the more I looked for it, the more I found! I began to enjoy teaching and see and enjoy my students in a way that I never had before.

Focusing, on the Light

When focusing on the light, somehow the problems seemed more manageable. I felt more energized and connected by seeing what was working and what we were doing well. I even found ways to use those strengths to solve some of our problems. Finally, I’d found an approach to education that could show me the way to bring the wisdom of my yoga and meditation practice into my teaching!

Since then I’ve had the privilege to teach at Living Wisdom School (LWS) Portland. That one simple technique of looking for the light has allowed me to become more curious and open to learning from whatever was unfolding in my classes, rather than trying to control the outcome.

I’ve learned more about EFL and how to work with energy in the classroom. How to help each student balance and develop the four main aspects of their being: body, feeling, will and intellect. And it turns out, my class feels much more peaceful and connected as a result.

This Is Education for Life!

When I talk to people about EFL, especially non-educators, there’s a sense of “that’s nice but not for me” that tends to come up at some point. 

Couldn’t we all benefit from looking for the light in this world? Focusing on solutions and seeking the very best in each other and ourselves?

This approach to education really is for life and our mission at LWS Portland is to share this with as many children, families and educators as possible in the hopes of creating a better world!

To find out more about our school, Education for Life and our expansion project visit Living Wisdom School of Beaverton.  

Erin Vinacco, an educator for nearly a decade, has had the opportunity to work with students of all ages and abilities through various non-profits, community organizations, and public and private schools. Erin found Ananda in Rhode Island, then in 2016, moved west to join the Living Wisdom School staff.

She fully believes in the Education for Life approach with its practical application of universal spiritual principles. And is enthusiastic about sharing these uplifting teachings with everyone, to aid in contributing to a better world.

Erin also serves on the development committee for the new LWS Building Expansion Project and offers teacher training, parent education and community outreach.