Connecting to Another

Stephan Harding’s “Encountering Another Being”


In this video, Stephan Harding talks about a sense of knowing that is non-conceptual. It is in a sense pre-conceptual. In Buddhism, this sense of knowing is considered to be what is called prajna or knowing that is direct and clear of conceptual baggage. Although this experience of directly seeing and directly connecting with our world is discussed in Buddhism, it certainly is not something exclusive to Buddhists. This type of knowing is accessible to everyone and is, in fact, experienced by us to some degree from time to time. It may happen when we look at a beautiful sunrise or sunset before we start thinking about how beautiful it is. We can encourage this sort of seeing and knowing by just sitting or lying down in whatever kind of environment we are. We can notice the sounds and smells in ever-increasing layers of distance while softly gazing at our environment. If we do this in a forest or meadow, we begin to blend into the environment. The animals start to come out and see us as just another part of the context. And, we are part of the context, but we’ve lost that connection with all of our speediness, aggression, and self-absorption.

This type of knowing needs to be encouraged throughout schooling. From little children to university students, we should be building in regular times for experiencing directly the contexts in which we live. This should have been done a long time ago. Maybe corporations would have taken more responsibility for living within our ecological contexts.


About Jeff Bloom

I'm a Researcher with and am on the Advisory Board of the International Bateson Institute and am a professor emeritus with the Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education, Northern Arizona University.
This entry was posted in Cognition, Connections, Ecology and the Environment, Learning, Schooling, Spirituality, Teaching and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Connecting to Another

  1. Aidan Ward says:

    This so beautifully done, Jeff.
    It is down to us to experience, to balance and to relate our different ways of knowing and being. What nonsense to think anyone can do that for us!

Leave a Reply