Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga
Truth-seekers: Please Don’t Give Up!
This is where I am, and it’s an exciting time to be alive.
I leap out of bed every morning
BY MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTOR SED DICKERSON
Conversation: Ruth Farmer
Practices: Josh Pollock, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Tiffany Beard, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Bridgette P. La Victoire, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Joanna Tebbs Young, Goddard College IMA scholar
Practices: Sed Dickerson, Goddard College IMA scholar
Website: Goddard’s IMA Worlds of Change Blog
For as long as he can remember, Eric Dalke has been trying to figure out why the voice floating inside his own skull has sounded far more knowledgeable and kind than the condescending sounds leaping out at him from the mouths of others.
Sadly, not only would no one answer his questions as a child, but he found himself being regularly punished for his inquisitiveness. So he has been trying to connect with others ever since, most recently by translating his thoughts into songs and stories via the transformative language arts collective a faulty chromosome.
Even though his sincerity is misconstrued as “weird” (whatever that means?) on a near-daily basis, he continues to try to untangle his tongue while he talks of truth. He doesn’t do yoga, but only because he lives in his head so much that he often forgets that there’s a body attached in the first place.
Sed Dickerson You are a man on a quest. Could you please explain what it is you are setting out to do?
Eric Dalke What I am trying to do is figure out what the best way to fix as many of our planetary messes as possible. The conclusion that I’ve come up with is to focus on how to nourish the consciousness of children. More specifically, I am redefining what child abuse even is (“any force which impedes upon a child’s ability to follow the guidance of their inherent wisdom on their search for truth ” is my current definition, though I will have surely changed it 17 times before this interview is read).
A quest for inner wholeness
Eric (continuing) Based on my own experiences (as well as the experiences of the hundreds of people that I’ve interviewed), it appears that most people been severely abused. But because hardly anyone in positions of authority (parents, psychologists, school boards, advertising executives) are willing to acknowledge that what we endured was abuse, we’re left with this massively oppressed generation stuck in limbo between feeling like victims and not being allowed to accept the reality that we actually are victims, simply because what happened to us doesn’t quite fit into the current definition of abuse.
So given that (often unconscious) disconnect, is it any wonder that so many are desperately searching for coping mechanisms outside of ourselves to feel whole again, often completely ignoring our disjointed insides?
Sed No! It has become an epidemic of people who have been hurt, but are not aware they are hurting or why. They do not see what has happened to them as something out of the ordinary, but yet have this pain inside that they do not know how to deal with.
Eric This is why I’m starting from the very beginning with children, examining the most common ways in which they are currently raised, and redefining each and every structure that has authority over them to determine what is and isn’t healthy to their soul/spirit/consciousness/whatever word anyone would like to use to describe that feeling of inner-wholeness.
I’m examining not just parenting techniques, education, religion and media, but the structure of our entire society (and making a lot of people very annoyed in the process for questioning their “well, that’s just the way it is” or “we’re doing the best we can” stance). Because as far as I can tell, if children continue to be denied access to truth, and aren’t better prepared to be mindful critical thinkers (processing all stimuli through phenomenological filters amidst the incessant onslaught of propaganda that they will face), they will continue at full-speed along this current path toward dooooooooooom!
So my quest right now is to find ways around these consciousness gatekeepers to reach kids with vital information. My first project is an online cartoon series (my brief career in the entertainment industry has assured me that there is no chance anything like this could make it on television). I am also in development talks to make a video game too. These are fairly lofty quests, yes, but I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do? And though I would have been doing this work regardless of being in college or not, Goddard has given me the means to make my own wonderfully supportive, unconditionally loving family (which is something that I’ve never really had, so that has helped quite a lot).
Goddard’s progressive paradigm
Sed I think many in the Goddard community feel that way. You are talking some pretty big issues, but I do believe you can tackle them! You mention you are starting with a cartoon and working on a video game, but how does all of this translate into academic work?
Eric Ahh, but this is the beauty of Goddard! See, they understand that the most important part of learning is not being afraid of the journey (this is crucial for me, and why I chose this school in the first place). Because the second I begin to concern myself with rigid concepts like “academic work” and “semesters” is the second that I begin to collapse onto my carpeting in hopeless exhaustion.
When I dissect the language used, I see that these are merely fancy-pantsy terms that were chosen to appease the accreditation bodies who deem worth to the piece of paper I will receive in two years for all my hard work. “School” is mostly just a silly game to get an imaginary feather in your cap (and to impress the kinds of people who are impressed by embossed pieces of paper!).
Mercifully, the faculty understands this. They are not some sort of foe I must defeat to earn a degree, they’re kindly old sages whispering wisdom in my ear along my way. They know that sometimes following my passions unexpectedly leads me down circuitous paths I had no idea even existed. And they want me to explore those paths with a magnifying glass and a clean pair of eyes, not say “oh, but it doesn’t fit in with my structure, so I’d better get back to abiding by my study plan!”
What I personally did was make a list of every single one of my goals, then write out the steps needed to accomplish them, then organized them into order of importance. All I can really do is check them off one at a time as I accomplish them, making changes as they occur.
Transdisciplinary study means paying close attention every second you’re alive and learning from it. So by annotating all my daily experiences, what I am really doing is not only being conscious and mindful of my learning, but I’m documenting the proof of the journey. And oh, what an epic journey it’s sure to be (and if you’re reading and would like to help, please write to me because I can use all the help I can get!)!!!
Conscious of a passion for mess-fixing
Sed That is the great thing about Goddard’s format and the fact that not only do they not look down upon, but embrace transdiciplinary studies. ( Many word processors and dictionaries do not even recognize transdiciplinary as a word). I like your thinking Eric. One last question: Any advice for other truth seekers and planetary mess fixers out there?
Eric The best advice I can think of is never feel ashamed to say what you feel, social norms be damned!
Yes, depending on your situation, upwards of 97% of those you come in contact with will desperately try to change the topic or run away, some will even get angry with you for making them have to face the ugly truth of our reality (and – in turn – face their own personally-repressed ghosts). But when you find those 3% (and you will! We’re out there, desperately wanting to talk. It’s just that most of us keep quiet from having our ideas rejected for so long, so we’re still learning how to speak up), you will instantly become best friends. And when those friends meet other friends, they form organizations (mine is afaultychromosome.org), and organizations form collectives, and collectives unite to become a movement, and, well, movements change the world.
See, I have been conscious of my passion for mess-fixing since I was 3 years old. Sadly, my mother spanked me when I would disagree with her authority, and my teachers punished me for asking “inappropriate” questions, and my peers called me “weird,” and television tried to sell me toys as distractions, and religion threatened that I’d burn hell for disobeying, and spiritual gurus taught me that in order to attain peace, I shouldn’t focus on the negatives… So I became frustrated and scared and isolated myself, and I accidentally began to believe that I was “crazy” for seeing all that was wrong and thinking that things should be sooooo much better for everyone (not just the privileged few).
It wasn’t until the internet came about that I learned how to express myself without fear and search for others like me. A lot of them were in pretty bad shape from feeling so hopelessly alone for so long (addictions, self-injury, etc..). But the more we shared with each other, the quicker we learned how insane we weren’t!
So to all you truth-seekers out there: please don’t give up. Being brave amidst certain rejection and ridicule is one of the scariest things in the world to do, but each time you do it, you get stronger, and – after a while – you begin to do it naturally without even remembering that you used to be scared of it.
This is where I am, and it’s an exciting time to be alive. I leap out of bed every morning!
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.