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Lions Roar : July 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2011 90 place. It’s very rich and nuanced.” Simon sees similar potential in the elec- tronic book. “For years, you listened to au- dio on one device, you watched video on another, you had two-way communica- tion on yet another, and did your reading in still another. Now that whole experi- ence, particularly with books of teachings and instruction, can be contained in one place.” If you want to, she says, you can hear the power of the author’s voice, or see them teach, or even send a question, take part in a discussion, or become part of a community surrounding the book. It is this ability to connect that makes Gordhamer such a fan of the new tech- nologies, and why Wisdom 2.0 cham- pions them—while also warning about their dangers to young people brought up in a digital world. Looking back on his childhood, Gordhamer waxes poetic about long car rides in the wide open spaces of Texas, when he could just look out the window and take in the space. “Now on that car ride, I would be looking at a screen. I know my own son spends a lot of his day looking at screens. I can’t ex- actly criticize that—my friends and I have helped to create it—but we are also con- cerned about the need to foster an inner life for our children.” In response to strong interest—much of it coming from tech leaders who are challenged by how to encourage balance in their own children’s use of technology— Gordhamer has scheduled a conference devoted to how children and teens use technology. It will be called Wisdom 2.0 Youth: Sowing the Seeds, for Parents, Edu- cators, and Teachers, and will take place September 17 in Mountain View. “It’s been exhilarating having this conversation about how to integrate our inner wisdom technologies and our outer technologies,” Gordhamer says. “Now we need to look at the legacy of what we are creating: how do we embody the qualities that we most want to pass on, how do we create a cul- ture, in our schools and our families, that fosters genuine connection rather than distraction and disconnection. I honestly want to know. I have many more questions than answers.” ♦ everything he or she touches with the ben- efits of such awareness. All of those qualities are nourished by a special kind of education, a contempla- tive education. Naropa University gradu- ates are able to work with the raw tensions of the world and the complexities of the human dilemma, ultimately cultivating a fuller human experience. Although we all have our own particular intentions, hopes, and dreams, when we allow our hearts to be open we can best utilize the many gifts and opportunities that come our way. When I look back on the seeds of my life, they were planted during times when I was able to reflect on the deeper questions of life. These many encounters created space in my life, allowing me to gain awareness of myself, the world, and my personal path of informed and compassionate service. With such insight one is able to cultivate community and nourish positive change and personal growth. In such a community, there is always the opportunity for real hu- man interaction and heartfelt connections. Commonalities, rather than differences, take precedence. In the contemplative edu- cational environment at Naropa, students, faculty, and staff can allow the walls around them to dissipate so that they develop au- thenticity. I have seen it time and time again. It’s such a powerful opening of the heart that once awakened, the human connection cannot be severed. When this realization has been achieved, there can never again be anything that stands in the way of the heart and its ability to connect with others. That is contemplative education, and that is how we, as a community, are changing the world. The real question, though, is how can you apply these principles to your life? We all must cultivate our heart’s will- ingness to closely inquire into ourselves, our relationships, and our communities. For the success of our society we must de- mand a rigorous approach to practice and an open investigation into ourselves. Only when grounded in authentic self-aware- ness do we have the capacity to answer the call to serve. ♦ The Call to Serve continued from page 59