Engaging with Shibumi

Joining us as a resource person

The adult who wishes to be an educator and colleague in this venture must be deeply concerned with religious enquiry. By this we do not mean the following of a religious tradition or a practice but a rootedness in the observation of one’s daily life and relationships. From this comes a capacity to be aware of the structure and nature of thought and to negate it. We invite adults who are committed to finding out if one can relate in a spirit of total freedom, co-operation and responsibility. This implies that psychological separation and identity has to be ended. Such enquiry demands all of one’s energy and commitment and cannot be a passing interest. The adult also has the responsibility of communicating and awakening the capacity for this enquiry in the young. This movement brings about a mind which is not fragmented. Shibumi is not a place of escape from the travails of the world but a challenging engagement with one’s own complexities and contradictions.

As educators we are committed to:

· Self enquiry
· The Teachings of Krishnamurti
· Education
· Working with each other

We welcome people who share the same commitments, to work with us as full time resource persons.

To the parent

Are you deeply concerned to raise a child who is sane, sensitive, responsible, and capable of relating to the world without succumbing to its pressures and demands? A child who has a sense of the sacred? A child deeply concerned with the environment and living beings, having a global mind, and not identified with any sect or community.

Are you a parent who will take total responsibility in creating the right environment for the child, a parent who will not allow his/her own pressures and anxieties to distort his/her relationship with the child, who has the patience and courage to provide the space and time for the child to grow and mature into being a free individual?

A parent who ensures that fear will not cripple the adventure of life. A parent who is learning and maturing and challenging him/herself so that the dialogue in relationship with the child is rooted in the real and is not in mere strictures and prejudices.

Are you certain that you want the whole package and not just parts?

If I were such a parent what would I want for my child? It goes without saying, that in the present economic system, one must have skills in order to earn one’s livelihood. But earning a livelihood is not an end in itself. One must earn a livelihood in such a way that it is not destructive. This is quite difficult in a society which is driven by ambition and success, and where entertainment seems to play such a large part in helping people escape from rather meaningless lives. Also, since work is such an important part in our lives, one must discover what one loves to do so that work never becomes mechanical, dreary, merely a means to an end, as it unfortunately is for most of us. Unless one is free of ambition, fear and comparison, to find out what one loves to do becomes impossible. All this is part of right education. But there is much more to life than work, however creative it may be. One must also have right relationship with people, animals and with nature. Right relationship is not a matter of following a tradition or living by certain values. Without freedom from self-centredness there cannot be right relationship. So this too becomes part of education, indeed the most significant part of it. Freedom from self-centredness can only happen in self-knowing which is from moment to moment. If one wants to bring up one’s child rightly, all this becomes part of education. Only when the mind is in complete order, which implies all the above, can there be the possibility of coming upon the sacred. It really means that the adults who are responsible for the child must be concerned with all this in their own lives. One cannot want right education for one’s child and continue to live a life of confusion, inattention, greed, ambition, jealousy, fear and loneliness. Hence, the stress at Shibumi is on the coming together of adults for whom self- knowing is central to their lives, and from which everything else flows, including right education of their children.

Admission procedure

To emphasize again, Shibumi’s only concern is to create a space where a group of adults, educators and parents, are educating themselves and other learners of formative ages in a spirit of self enquiry as explored in the teachings of J. Krishnamurti. However, there is no insistence that you should have a familiarity or knowledge of the teachings in order to seek admission.

On reading our website carefully, several responses might follow:

1. You may realize that you are attracted to Shibumi only as an ‘alternative’ learning centre for your children and may be completely uninterested in the intent and what it is pointing to. If so, Shibumi is certainly not the right place for you or your children.

2. You may decide to attend dialogue sessions to have a clearer understanding of the intent. You should request (by EMAIL only) to be informed about the dialogue sessions for prospective parents.

Parents will be required to attend between 12 to 15 dialogue sessions, where the intent is explored in depth. Interested prospective parents will also be encouraged to visit the centre and to talk to Shibumi parents, who are willing to be contacted, to have a clear understanding of the intent and how it translates into a curriculum. Visits to the centre will be organized by us on days where resource people can be available for interaction.

After attending some of these sessions, you may realize that you are not relating to the questions being raised. Then you will have realized for yourselves that the educational programme of Shibumi will not be right for your children.

3. Or this movement of self enquiry may become meaningful and alive in you. Through these dialogues you may begin to discover a radically different way of looking at life and education. This should not be out of persuasion or influence but your own self discovery. Only then is true cooperation between the parents and us in educating the child possible.

The above procedure is to ensure that prospective parents align with the intent, in freedom, as their participation in it is critical for the right education of the child.  They will then be required to fill up an admission form followed by a meeting. If it is clear, to both the parents and Shibumi, that Shibumi is the right place, their names will be entered on the admission list and a place will be offered, as soon as it is available. NOTE: This may take up to a year or more. This, rather elaborate procedure, is necessary, because the number of children we can truly look after is limited by the number of fully committed resource persons

Frequently asked questions

Will my child have a secure career at the end?

Shibumi’s deepest concern is to bring up learners who are free, responsible and concerned with the whole of life. The intent is not to help learners find security through material comfort or by conforming to the current values and ambitions of society. It is, rather, to help them be free of fear and able to act sensitively in a world that is destructive and degenerating.

To be independent and to earn a livelihood is one aspect of being responsible. Shibumi is not merely adhering to some idea or philosophy at the expense of the children; nurturing each learner is our deepest concern. As a natural part of this concern, we shall equip young people with the skills to earn a livelihood. More importantly, Shibumi would like to help them discover what they love to do, and enable them to do it with all their heart.

Right education is to help you to find out for yourself what you really, with all your heart, love to do. It does not matter what it is, whether it is to cook, or to be a gardener, but is something in which you have put your mind, your heart. - J. Krishnamurti

It is difficult for this to happen if we, as adults, are constantly pressurising and limiting our children in our own fear and anxiety about the future. It is important for us to continually question the conclusions we have about security and success, and to be deeply examining our own fears and prejudices. Without this we shall not have the clarity to give the child the space and time to grow into a free individual.

Moreover, the relationship with Shibumi does not end with young persons being left to fend for themselves, in a harsh world. The centre will continue to help the alumnus whenever needed.

After such an education, will my child be able to fit into the real world?

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. -J. Krishnamurti

In fact, it would be a mistake to separate the world that the learner is part of, from the ‘real’ world. At any point of time, the surroundings that the learner is in, is his world, and we would like him to function with clarity wherever he is. At Shibumi, though protected from the brutality he may encounter outside, a learner will not in any way be isolated from the world that is rampant with deprivation and suffering. And with sensitivity and confidence, we would like a learner to be able to question and step out of the violent, deadening systems of the world. We would like him to respond to the world wholly, with affection and awareness, instead of being preoccupied in trying to fit in and find a secure space for himself. It is this fearful preoccupation that makes the world as harsh and violent as it is today. We would like to bring into the world children who can stand up against society with clarity, a sense of freedom, and deep affection.

At Shibumi our intent is to encourage the learner to explore areas of interest so that s/he may discover what s/he really loves to do. They will be equipped with the skills to earn a livelihood. More important, our intent is to help them come upon the clarity and confidence to face life’s complex challenges. At Shibumi, learners will be part of decision making, learning to take responsibility for the community and for themselves. When they go out into the adult world with that sense of responsibility, we hope they will be able to respond sensitively to whatever comes their way.

Once my child is admitted to Shibumi, does that mean s/he can stay at the centre till the end of high-school qualifications?

Learners are individuals and many factors go into shaping their responses and reactions. When they are young, they are content if the environment is one of love and security. However, as they grow older, this might not be the case. They are looking at the world around; they are comparing themselves with other children of their own age. They are constantly being bombarded with media messages. All these can influence their thinking and attitude. There is no way to isolate them and protect them from all this. It may not even be healthy to attempt to do it. If any learner shows that he is not responding in a spirit of freedom and cooperation to the environment that Shibumi attempts to sustain, we will request the parents to put him or her in a school which is more suited to his or her temperaments.

We have noticed that these movements can be perceived from the age of 12 upwards. Generally, we find that we can work constructively with learners till at least the age of the normal school-leaving examinations of the 10th standard.

Only those who have no resistance to dialogues and self enquiry and the quiet life style that the centre offers will remain with us for their A levels or beyond the age of 17.

The second reason for possibly requesting a learner to leave the centre may be because the parents no longer genuinely agree with the education that Shibumi offers. Normally, such parents would withdraw their child on their own, but sometimes this is not a very clear step because many factors may play a role in a decision to keep the learner at Shibumi. We are committed to having thorough dialogues in such situations to clear up all misunderstandings and ensure that there is harmony in the way we adults, parents and teachers, are looking at education and the atmosphere that Shibumi offers. However, if it is seen that such harmony is not possible, we might request that the learner be withdrawn.