Recognition Ceremony 2

Gathered on the floor of the school gym, the sea of small faces l observe are the embodiment of innocence. These innocents gather here for the age old practice of psychological conditioning – a ceremony unknowingly aiding in the destruction of humility, and the inflation of a child’s recently created ego – a recipe ensuring the continuation of the human condition of conflict and suffering.

I can’t say that the ‘grown-ups’ who brought them here have ill intentions. On the contrary, the adults here believe that what they’re doing is promoting ambition, which by the common standard is a ‘good’ way of establishing the drive needed to set children down the clearly defined path of “success”. These good intentions are the same good intentions of our fathers and forefathers. But what good are good intentions that lead down the same old beaten path? What good is the circular path that guarantees a continuous reenactment of the dull, divisive, and violently painful past of humanity?

(Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

(Photo Credit: Moyan Brenn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Besides, we should ask who created these so called “standards” and where they have led us thus far. Does anyone ever question the “goodness” of the common belief system or even, if I may be so bold, its sanity? Does anyone stop for a moment to consider what we’re actually teaching our children? And what happens to those who can’t fit into society’s narrow and conditioned mold?  I don’t see a single soul here who seems disturbed by any of this (though I hope there is).

I’m feeling upset, but I can’t afford to react emotionally. Each time I attend this quarterly “ceremony” I feel a deep sadness, but walking any further away from the sadness which is here and NOW puts me at great risk of remaining a commoner. Those of you who read this blog know that my life’s priority is to AWAKEN, and not to remain as one of the billions of dead walking the earth.

Das Kapital

We all know the proverb, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” and so it is. Take an honest look at humanity and it’s difficult to escape the fact that mankind, despite all their external advancements, remain savage from within. Our species alone are capable of justifying atrocities in the name of any and all kinds of ideologies. Yet we maintain that through the faculty of thought we are the most intelligent and self aware species on earth. Clearly, there is a contradiction here, and what most call intelligence is nothing more than mimicry and egocentric self-seeking.

As we gather here together I’m very aware of the divisiveness in the room. The more we take part in the utterly destructive practice of comparison, the more divided the people in the room become. Why? – Because children learn that it’s more important to be “right” and “better” and “faster” than it is to be happy. They want to be “beautiful”. They want to be “intelligent” and some even want to be “miserable”. But we seem to think that the question of “why” we want these things is too obvious. Is it? Do you know why?


In any case, let’s at least see the consequence of this kind of ‘education’. In order for me to be “right” someone else must be “wrong”. In order for me to be “beautiful” someone else must be “ugly”. In order for me to be “intelligent” someone else must be “stupid,” and so on.

Can anyone tell me how genuine happiness can ever be dependent upon the failure or success of others? Is that what real happiness is?? In that case, there is plenty of good reason to be competitive, aggressive, and even violent in pursuing one’s “success” in the eyes and standards of others, which have now become one’s own standards, one’s own image of ‘success’.

Coming back here to the school, the sea of faces I observe are those of young children ages 5 through 7 – kindergarten through 2nd grade. They are gathered together under the instruction of their elders for what has been termed a “Recognition Ceremony”. They are going to be ‘recognized’ for their special ‘talents and achievements’ (which indirectly – and this IS intentional – makes them conscious of their ‘under-achievements).

By whose definition of “success” are we concluding that comparing ourselves to others is the only way to “get ahead” (ahead of whom?) By whose measuring stick are these children being gauged, and in measuring them (which is pitting them against each other) will their minds not learn to seek security through cultivating an ‘acceptable’ and ‘respectable’ self image which can only be maintained through an ongoing conflict with others?

Since you are maintaining this competitive way of life, your children and your children’s children will breed further antagonism, envy and war; neither you nor they will have peace. Having been conditioned to this traditional pattern of existence, you are in turn educating your children to accept it; so the world goes on in this sorrowful way. – J. Krishnamurti

Take a child and give him the world to explore and he will explore it. He will play with it, he will build and create and make mistakes and learn from them. HE WILL GROW.

Take a child and drill into his skull the idea of “how” and “who” and “what” he should be (as if he is not enough as he IS). Tell him that success is measured by adherence to the common belief system. Warn him that veering off the beaten path will cause him to look “strange” or “different”, and that defying what is common can even make him an enemy of society. Tell him that the only way he can ever know his true worth is by comparing himself to others.

When he believes that his “success” is dependent upon the “failure” of others what will he become then? Will he be free of conflict – greed, envy, insecurity, anger, hatred and the rest? Will he seek peaceful ways of living and interacting with others? Will he seek knowledge and meaning for its own sake? Will he be open minded and eager to learn from the whole of life with all its potential, or will he conform to the age-old standard of  seeking “success” through the pursuit of power and pleasure as he continues, in his adult life, to compare himself to others in order to maintain a false image of himself which brings him false security?

Recognition Ceremony

Out of some 15 ‘recognition stickers’ some children stood up and waved to their parents 3-5 times, while others stood up once. Please see how divisive this is and how it teaches a child that what matters isn’t learning for its own sake, but for the sake of coming out on top. Will anyone have the courage to set his/her own standard and definition of success and live by that standard alone? Or do we continue with this ancient cycle of “me” versus “you” creating inner and outer conflict, insecurity, fear, ambition, hatred and violence?

I’m upset, but anger is counterproductive as it’s just another form of violence. Feeling emotional or anxious is also utterly useless.

Then what?

I must simply BE and the rest will fall into place. It’s I who must stop all comparison and all judgment. No one can realize the Truth on another’s behalf – it’s MY responsibility to realize that Truth and Love and Peace are the absence of fear and conflict – the absence of comparison and ambition.

It’s said that children are like sponges soaking up everything. But nothing is more powerful than a message delivered in complete silence, through the action of non-reaction, non comparison, and non judgment. The word, which confines us to narrow concepts of life, is not LIFE itself. The Art of Living is freedom from the past, freedom from comparison, freedom from conditioned responses and mechanical reactions. Let’s stop repeating our history NOW, and give our children a chance at a life that is absolutely free from conflict-a life of genuine Peace, Love and Joy.