“Gandhi called his life “experiments with truth,” and experimenting in the complex field of forces that bear on our lives is how we learn more about our integrity. We learn experimentally that we thrive on some connections and wither with others, that we enhance our integrity by choosing relationships that give us life and violate it by assenting to those that do not.
Experimentation is risky. We rarely know in advance what will give us life and what will sap life away. But if we want to deepen our understanding of our own integrity, experiment we must – and then be willing to make choices as we view the experimental results.
‘All real living is meeting,’ said Martin Buber, and teaching is endless meeting. Staying open to new meetings, trying to distinguish those that have integrity from those that do not, is a tiring and sometimes frightening task. I am often tempted to protect my sense of self behind barricades of status or role, to withhold myself from colleagues or students or ideas and from the collisions we will surely have.
When I succumb to that temptation, my identity and integrity are diminished – and I lose the heart to teach.”
Revisiting one of my favorite books – Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer – and the above spoke to me.