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Auto-Bio 1 – A Castle in the Sky

January 4, 2009

I was burned out. I desperately needed a break. I wanted to break free. And I had a flight ticket to India in the pocket which comes in handy when you are about to receive a Call to the Wilderness.

That time university education in Austria was completely free of cost and everybody used to study and work at the same time. So I studied and worked and worked and studied and – oh my, suddenly 10 yrs were gone. What was even worse, I had studied out of interest and not necessarily in a career-orientated way. I was interested in all kind of things and studied Film, Drama & Media Research, German literature, Philosophy and Mass Communication, Ethnology, Comparitive Religious Studies and some Sociology – no wonder I was in such a mess. Meanwhile I worked a year for the biggest mobile theatre of Austria, a company performing ca. 500 shows/yr for children, was part of an Avantgarde puppet theatre group from which I was thrown out, worked 1 1/2 yrs for the most renowned newspaper of Austria and then freelanced for 7 yrs in the production of feature films, TV shows and ads while traveling the world.

I visited India in autumn 1997 for the first time and every visit always seemed too short and during the final months of my M. Ph. I was trying to come up with a good excuse to spend a few years in India. I considered doing my civil service in some orphanage in India, but then decided to do my Ph. D. in Cinema Studies. So beginning of Dec 2003 I sat in a plane with my poet/painter friend Christian heading through the clouds towards the shores of Bharat Mata. My friend and his wife had entrusted their three children to an unique educational institution in the lap of the Himalayas. As I had met the children in their holidays in Austria and found them bubbling with life, dignified and smart, I was quite curious to visit this boarding school called International Sahaj Public School Talnoo located near Dharamshala on 2000 m height. As I walked into the school area with the snow-peaked Himalayas in the background and children from all over the world running all over the place, I was struck by Kama’s arrow. I fell in love with the place.

There it was, my own personal Laputa, the Castle in the Sky. A place to enjoy, to live, breathe, dance and develop my stories for novels, radioplays and feature films. I spent three awesome yrs. in this magical place and was teaching 250 children from 20+ countries German, Sports, Drama and Yoga. From Mar 2004 – Dec 2006 I called Laputa my home and to tell you all the stories about this beautiful school in the crown of the world, the amazing experiences I had and all the lessons I learnt from these kids aged 6-16 would be a blog on its own. Let it just be said that I never even started my Ph. D. course and that I sincerely believe that teaching there did me more good than more years of intellectual discussions could have. There is a documentary made by Finnish TV called “9 months together” which captures many magic moments of our time together. Maybe you can get a hold of that. Let me just say that the soul shines through the eyes of these children who alre fortunate to grwo up in a completely protected, pure and splendid enviroment. Innocence is the most important quality in a human being and a natural gift bestowed on all children by God. This innocence is it which makes children the extremely confident, loving, intelligent, playful, forgiving fast learners that they are. Many great thinkers including Rabindranth Tagore have wondered why children have such an amazing capacity to learn and adults do not have it at all.

Somehow we throw out our innocence somewhere on the side of the road while traveling the road to adulthood, fame and name and life insurance. It is like a burden, a handicap which unnecessarily slows us down and therefore is considered as disposable. But what if not? What if we would not lose our innocence but carry it all the way to the last breath? Would be able to meet God from face to face?

The problem with innocence is that it does not know evil. For innocence everything and everyone is innocent. Everything is good. Evil has not been invented and Adam and Eve are still residing joyfully in the Garden of Eden. Children trust everybody. Love everybody. Cunningness seems therefore more powerful than innocence.

Alas, that is why the Native Americans and Aborginals were slaughtered by the White men pretending to be their friends. That is why wide parts of Africa and Asia fell victim to colonialism and exploitation and why huge masses of hardly educated rural people are used by power-intoxicated politicians as voter-banks in today’s India. Therefore innocence can only be preserved if it gets transformed into wisdom. Wisdom does know the difference between good and evil very clearly and chooses by its own free will the good as it is beneficial to one self as well as beneficial to all.

In Junior Section, age 6-10, we focused therefore on just protecting the children’s innocence while in Senior Section, age 10-16, we tried to support the children in building up their very own wisdom. And – in this magic environment also the results were pretty magic. Some of the most mature and impressive personalities I ever met were among the students of this unique school. Young adults who know who they are, who are capable of making their own choices about what they feel is right and about what they should do with their life. I saw boys and girls, cheeky and fun-loving, but also caring and understanding, both feet firm on the ground and not easily impressed by Brave New World’s shallow promises about the next shortcut to happiness.

To receive your Self-Realization, click here.

International Sahaj Public School Talnoo, Himachal Pradesh, India

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 4, 2009 11:02 am

    hey, ro!
    great new title of the Blog :)))

    keep posting!!!

    • Mad Professor permalink*
      January 6, 2009 9:56 pm

      Learning from blog veterans like u! Internet in India is still quite annoyingly slow compared to what we are used to in the West. Anyway, I will keep blogging, snail pace or not.

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