I woke up early, with a word in my head. Counter-intuitive. It just stuck there and didn’t leave me alone until I got up, opened up Evernote and started trying to get this down. Let me rewind a bit. I had a chat with my guru last night. Some of you will know I have a history of being spiritually minded, my guru has been part of my life for the last 20 years. This relationship has undergone some evolution during that time, from very sentimental to very formulaic to very distant to very searching to a place where we are now quite open with each other … well I know that that’s what I would like it to be, however a good relationship needs the pupil asking the right questions. I’m working on that bit.
In any case. My guru has been working as a university lecturer for the last 6 years, in places like Oxford, Hong Kong, Gainsville… He has used moodle as part of his work and has now started a moodle group for discussing the Gita with his disciples and friends. The discussions so far are following a model of rhetorical discussion which I’ve never been comfortable with, not just when it was about Sanskrit literature but I find the same thing now – why discuss any subject academically, when we can dive in and do something practical? (Funny that I had the same discussion with a professor studying Social Media in my home university in Rostock, who doesn’t use twitter. He finally gave in and did say I knew what I was talking about, after reading my German blog.) Maybe, especially when discussing high-level spiritual literature, I want to know how the people I listen to live their lives. I need to see some credibility before I listen to anyone. I’ve seen plenty of people being very good at looking really clever, learning Sanskrit verses and throwing learned words around, while being complete arses (excuse my French) in their spare time. I’m sorry, that’s just not good enough anymore. So in our discussion with my guru yesterday I said to him, I was the first person to join the moodle group but I am not likely to join the rhetorical discussions. He replied (obviously, he has known me for a while) that that’s fine, and I wouldn’t need to contribute. I must have been ruminating on that all night because it seemed counter-intuitive. Why join a forum and not be expected to contribute? I’m not a lurker by nature! I AM interested in people. What they have been up to, how they are living their lives. Not least because that shows me how they really understand the Gita with their hearts, not just their brains. Hiding away in a temple because you’re scared of confrontation doesn’t mean you understand anything. So. Here’s a new concept. Can we encourage people to speak about themselves, rather than throw learned words around? Can we get people to use the blog part of the moodle platform?