My professional career started with being a high school science teacher. I loved it, I thought it was one of the greatest things ever to be able to positively touch the lives of kids, specifically teenagers, who struggle with so many physical, mental, and emotional challenges. I felt my work had so much meaning and value and I loved interacting with the kids, and am pleased to say, they with me. One of the things I tried to instill in them was the importance of a good education and pursuing the best post-secondary education. I was a product of the system, and I fully bought into that system.

What we call education is nothing but domestication of the human being.”

Don Miguel Ruiz, The 4 Agreements

Then I had several, powerful, personal awakenings that put my life on a completely different course. All of a sudden I saw how the school system that I thought was liberating minds, was actually imprisoning them. All of a sudden I saw my own role in creating this prison. Even though I wanted to explore topics beyond the curriculum and teach kids how to think, instead of what to think, the system has a very strict boundary on what it allows, and I felt those confines start to enclose around me. I knew what I had to do, even though it seemed unfathomable, risky, and scary. I thought I would retire from this job in my elderly years; I thought I had secured a job for life, but because I chose to be true to myself and my higher calling, rather than true to my old beliefs, expectations, or conditioning, I resigned and officially retired from teaching in the school system at the early age of 30.

“When we become aware of how the school system is a conditioning agent to instill in children obedience to authority, passivity, and tolerance to tedium for the sake of external rewards, we begin to question school performance as a metric of well-being. Maybe a healthy child is one who resists schooling and standardization, not one who excels at it.

Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible

Advice to Parents

Today, my advice to parents who are awakening themselves is this: As much as you can, one of the best things you can do for your kids is put them in some kind of alternative schools or homeschool them personally or as part of a homeschooling community that you resonate with. If you choose to homeschool them yourself, just be sure that you are in a good place yourself, where you will not infect them with your own fears and condition them with your own biases. The minds of kids are so precious and fragile, and we should take extreme care with who we allow to fill them and with what kind of indoctrination. The main argument against this, that I have heard from adults in the past, is an expression of fear that their “kids won’t fit well into society” if they don’t go through a traditional, public school system. The irony of that fear is that this could actually be the most positive thing, where the child is not just another puppet for the system to use like a cog in the wheel.

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

Jiddu Krishnamurti

Advice to Students

If you are a high school student or young adult reading this is, take some time to explore who you are and explore life before making any concrete plans. A post-secondary education is no guarantee of success, and even much less of happiness. In fact, in most cases it will stifle your highest growth, creativity, and learning potential. Most importantly, don’t get yourself into debt, or at the very least too much debt trying to get an education. That is part of the trap and one of the biggest entry points to make sure that you are in debt to society and an obedient worker and servant. Debt is the number one reason why people take and stay in jobs they dislike, jobs that are out of alignment with their values and priorities, jobs that suck the life out of them, and jobs that destroy their health, happiness, and relationships.

Lastly, this is your journey and you have to live with your choices; don’t live for the expectations of your parents or society. The price of social acceptance, all too often, is losing ourselves in the process. You will never experience true freedom or happiness if you live based on what others expect of you; the only person you need to make proud and happy is yourself, and if others love you unconditionally, they will not stand in the way of your dreams and passions.

Life is about living. Find out how you can contribute to society in true and authentic ways, while doing what you love and following your passions. Find ways to liberate yourself, while making a life and a living in honest and meaningful ways.

Advice to Teachers

If you are a teacher in any capacity, but especially if you work with kids, youth, or young adults, always remember that teaching someone else and shaping their mind is an immense privilege and responsibility. The more that you can commit yourself to a mindful journey of personal growth and the more open you are to learning, the more valuable and positive will be your impact on the lives of all those whom you call your students. Be sure to stay true and authentic to your own journey as well. I have seen too many teachers who have become disillusioned, short-tempered, cynical, and apathetic. This not only hurts you but all the students in your care, and it can create a negative and lasting effect that shapes their personality, potential, or life in some way. The more power you have over someone, the more care and deliberation should go into how you will interact with them. Never underestimate the power of your words and actions. Love, kindness, patience, and acceptance go a long way.

Liberate the Potential of Your Mind

I walked away from my teaching career not knowing what the next steps would be or what my path would bring, but I took the following words to heart:

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

Joseph Campbell

Next year marks 10 years since I released myself from a life path that no longer represented me, and those words have not failed me once. I learned how to follow my bliss with heart-centered wisdom and mindfulness. Since then, I have found ways to do what I love, be a teacher, and be of service to help others and our world be a better place for all, but do that on my own terms. I want to be a teacher, not a disperser of knowledge to truly liberate and empower others for their own highest good.

The mind of the modern human has been trained to look, verify, and judge in the external world, but it has not been trained to look within, find within, and be aware of the inner dimensions of life.

Swami Rama

When it comes to knowledge, what we think we know about anything external, outside of ourselves, we are merely taught to believe. Knowledge is no measure or reflection of truth or wisdom. Today, most people in our world are busy arguing about facts and histories, not realizing that most of them are completely fabricated and fashioned to provide us with a narrative that continues to keep us enslaved, unaware of who we truly are and our incredible potential.

He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.

George Orwell, 1984

Young or old, rich or poor, may you find ways to liberate yourself with heart-centered wisdom and mindfulness, and come to realize your true nature.