for the Classroom 1
by Michael Berman
the Native American tradition, the Burden Basket was hung
outside the Tipi as a reminder to guests to leave their personal
complaints or problems outside before entering. The custom
was honoured or the visitor was permanently barred from returning
again because entering another person's home with a black
cloud of worry or neediness was considered to be very bad
in the present moment and being willing to be a welcome guest
requires strength of character. If everyone considered the
Sacred Space of others before speaking or acting, balance
would more easily be maintained in all communal living conditions.
compassion for the burdens of others and yet not taking those
burdens on as our own, requires strength too. Inner strength
is created through trusting our own personal knowledge and
only seeking help when we have exhausted all other paths.
The symbol of the Burden Basket teaches us not to dump our
problems on others and this is what the tales in this section
are intended to deal with.
we get older we moan and groan about becoming more forgetful.
Sometimes, however, having a selective memory can be something
positive as in the traditional Chinese tale that follows:
Tzu of the state of Sung suffered from a loss of memory
in his middle years. Whatever he took in the morning
was forgotten b y the evening and whatever he gave in
the evening was forgotten by the morning. On the road
he would forget to move ahead and indoors he would forget
to sit down. Here and now, he has forgotten then and
later he will not remember the here and now.
consulted an astrologer, but divination provided no
answer. Then he sought the help of a medium, but prayer
could not control the problem either. Finally he visited
a doctor, but once again the treatment brought no relief.
the state of Lu there was a Confucian scholar who claimed
that he could cure the disease, and Hua Tzu's wife paid
him half their estate to do it. "No sign or omen,"
said the Confucian, "can solve this. No prayer
can preserve him and no medicine will work. I must try
to transform his mind, alter his way of thinking, and
then there may be hope." The scholar stripped Hua
Tzu, and the naked man demanded clothes. The scholar
starved Hua Tzu, and he demanded food. He locked Hua
Tzu in a dark room, and he demanded light.
illness can be cured," the Confucian advised Hua
Tzu's son. "But my remedy is a secret handed down
for generations, a secret that has never been revealed
to anyone outside our family. I must ask you to dismiss
all your father's attendants so that he can live alone
with me for seven days." The son agreed.
knows what methods the scholar used, but Hua Tzu's ailment
of many years miraculously cleared up. When Hua Tzu
realized that he was cured, he went into a tremendous
rage. He chastised his wife, punished his son, and drove
off the Confucian with weapons. People seized Hua Tzu
and asked him the reason for his strange behaviour.
my forgetfulness I was a free man, unaware if heaven
and earth even existed or not," said Hua Tzu. "But
now I remember all that has passed, all that remains
or has perished, all that was gained or lost, all that
brought sorrow or joy, all that was loved or hated -
the ten thousand problems that have plagued my life.
And I fear that these same things will disturb my mind
no less in times to come. Where shall I find another
moment's peace? That's the reason why."
Pre-listening: The story is about a man who suffers
from loss of memory Who do you thinks succeeds in helping
him overcome the problem - an astrologer, a medium, a doctor
or a Confucian scholar? Now listen to the story to find out
if your predictions were correct or not.
Now for a contemporary tale. Our fast-paced daily lives make
it difficult to be fully present at any one moment. We are
always thinking about what is going to happen next and there
is no time for quiet or reflection. But sometimes we need
to step outside this web we weave ourselves into and to reconnect
with our inner resources and that is what The Clock is all
had been his grandfather's - a battered old travelling
alarm-clock that had to be wound up every twenty four
hours and always lost time, a regular ten minutes a
day. And although modern replacements were available
cheaply that were clearly much more convenient to operate,
there was no way he could bring himself to part with
it. The clock was the one possession his grandfather
had left him that Daniel felt he could make use of and
that's why, despite its obvious limitations, he chose
to hang on to it.
whatever time he set the clock for, the bell would ring
ten minutes earlier. The problem was exacerbated by
his own in-built clock, which conditioned him to wake
up ten minutes before the bell actually went off. However,
this suited Daniel just fine as he had a fixation with
had an answer for just about everything except the one
question he always dreaded - when people asked him if
he was happy. How can anyone truly say they're happy
given the state the world is in? This would be his stock
reply. However, in reality, the concept of happiness
was beyond his comprehension. For Daniel's only concern
in life was not to waste any precious time and nothing
else really mattered.
a born worrier, he was in constant fear of being late
and not making the most of the time he had. Even at
weekends he could never manage to lie in like other
people seemed to do. On Friday nights, to please his
long-suffering wife, he would break his weekday habit
of setting the clock. However, he knew that only too
well, his in-built clock would never fail him and that
he would still wake up the same time as usual.
reality, the policy was counter-productive as most of
the time he was so overtired that he was unable to produce
any work of value or to appreciate the extra time that
he did have. In fact, the problem got worse and worse,
until eventually his nerves became totally frayed and
it was apparent to all around him, and even Daniel himself,
that he was in desperate need of help.
when the clock decided to take over. One morning despite
the usual preparations Daniel had made to wind up the
clock and set the alarm the night before, it chose not
to go off. Moreover, his in-built clock chose not to
operate too. It was as if the two clocks were in league
with each other. And so Daniel slept blissfully on until
lunchtime. And instead of waking up guilt-ridden and
in a panic, he woke up refreshed and revitalised.
far as Daniel was concerned, it was the first morning
of spring. And the first thing he did once he'd got
dressed was to go outside into the garden and to dig
a hole. There he buried the clock, which had served
its purpose, and from that moment on he never looked
back. For Daniel had rediscovered his birthright - how
to truly enjoy the life he'd been blessed with. And
from that day on Daniel had no trouble answering the
question that had previously so perplexed him. For the
sound of the ticking that had so plagued him had finally
Pre-Listening: The story you're going to hear is about
a clock. What sort of clock do you suppose it is and what's
special about it? Now listen to the tale to find out whether
your predictions were accurate or not.
story deals with a person who suffers from stress. As a follow-up
activity you might like to make use of the questionnaire below.
stressed out are you?
How do you react when something upsets you or winds
a. You think about it for a day or two.
b. You can't get it out of your head for a week or more.
c. Your thoughts quickly turn to other things.
2. How do you feel when you think about all the jobs
you have to do during the day?
a. You usually feel you can cope well despite the pressures.
b. You feel wound up but expect to get through it.
c. You feel overwhelmed and think you'll never be able
to do them.
3. How does your body feel on a typical day?
a. Tense across the neck and shoulders.
b. Relaxed. Your breathing is always easy and slow.
c. Very stiff in the neck and shoulders and you're prone
to frequent headaches.
4. How do you react to the situations you find yourself
in feel during the course of an average day?
a. You tend to lose your temper over unimportant things.
b. You get more irritated by things going wrong then
you would like.
c. You cope calmly with life's usual setbacks.
5. What's your sleeping pattern like?
a. You have no problems sleeping.
b. You wake up frequently during the night and often
feel tired the next day.
c. You get odd nights of bad sleep but can usually make
up for them.
6. How do you react when you think of what other people
expect from you in life?
a. You panic and feel inadequate.
b. You can keep a sense of perspective. You know there
are lots of things you can't do, and that's fine.
c. You take their opinions seriously but you don't lose
any sleep over them.
a-2 b-3 c-1
2 a-1 b-2 c-3
3 a-2 b-1 c-3
4 a-3 b-2 c-1
5 a-1 b-3 c-2
6 a-3 b-1 c-2
your score means:
- 18 You clearly feel stressed out and need to do something
about it. Make sure you do some regular exercise or
take up meditation or yoga.. Reduce your intake of stimulants
such as nicotine and caffeine. Eat non-fatty, wholesome
starchy foods and avoid sugars. And, most important
of all, learn how to say no.
- 14 Your stress levels are about average, but you should
do what you can to lower them so read the tips above.
- 9 You're doing well and have nothing to worry about.
We live in a stressful world but it's obvious you can
cope. You can set a good example for those around you
to follow so they can learn how to keep their stress
levels under control too.
part two of the article
article 'Warrior, Settler or Nomad?'
'A Beginner's Guide To Storytelling lesson plan'
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