When the child’s body is naturally supple and relaxed, their learning ability runs at maximum speed.
Muscular spasms are somatizations of mental or emotional blockages; they betray psychic tension, or a psychic complex.
This is why children always profit from massage and soft sports such as swimming or table tennis, while hard sports such as football, boxing or tennis actually are counterproductive in that they raise and stock up bodily tension and can in the extreme case lead to mental retardation or psychosomatic ailments. In my honest view, hard sports have to be completely avoided in consciousness-based education.
In the natural condition, body, mind and emotions are swinging together creatively, and they feedback each other; they also are in a state of natural harmony, which means they are balancing each other. When the body is supple, the mind is flexible and open, and emotions are flowing and peaceful; when the body is hard, when there are muscular spasms, the mind is not open for learning, and the child displays symptoms of learning handicap; emotions, then, tend to be sudden, and unpredictable, often out of context, and difficult to handle.
When nature is not interfered with, children have a supple body, an open mind, learn easily and joyfully, and are very balanced emotionally. The hateful child is closed-minded and lives in a hard inflexible body that was tightened up by shock and fear, and often also early trauma and abuse. It is therefore indispensable to help children maintain the natural suppleness of their bodies and give them often the opportunity for relaxation, first of all through sufficient and deep sleep, and second through a spaced learning method that builds in psychosomatic activities such as massage, sauna, jacuzzi, or swimming in open air.
Nudity also plays an important role in keeping the body supple because nudity prevents psychic defenses, or emotional shields, from building up and nesting themselves in body and mind. It needs trust to present oneself nude to others, for we are more vulnerable when being nude, and naturally defenseless; and this is a very good trigger for learning because all psychic defenses are countering easy learning. That is why nudity forms part of all non-authoritarian educational approaches, not because it’s a fancy or a fashion of the day. It has manifest psychosomatic reasons.
The collective fear in conservative circles that defends children from being nude, especially when in a group, and even more so when girls and boys are mixed, starts from the idea that nudity will quite automatically lead to sexual play. But this assumption, while it’s very widespread, is wrong. It is the result of a split conditioning that assumes that all natural nudity and touch is somehow ‘sexual,’ but it isn’t.
For natural children, nudity has no connotation at all with sexual expression, with masturbation or any kind of sexual or even sensual activity. It is what it is, the absence of clothes, the state in which we were born.
If educators have such connotations, it’s their problem, not the children’s. That is why I believe educators should receive special professional training for practicing a consciousness-based educational approach.
Let me also comment on the notion of sport, as it’s often misunderstood. Sport, when rightly practiced, enhances mind-body coordination and intuition, and it also teaches respect for the body. This means also that sport should never be something that even remotely damages the body, as it’s for example the case with body building, which slowly but surely degrades and erodes the muscular joints in the ankles and knees. What is valid for adults here is even more important to observe in the education of children.
A sport like football, that brings about massive damage through regular accidents, and that often results in knee tendons to be strained or even knocked out of place, has to be totally avoided. Basketball, while it looks more gentle, is equally dangerous because when you look up to the basket for throwing the ball, you are often likely to hit another in plain face, or push against their body, which equally can result in bodily hurt.
Needless to add that violent sports such as rugby or baseball have no place in consciousness-based education because they are already paradigmatically wrong: they give the wrong signals! These sports educate children to be violent, and that is after all why they are so much appreciated in mainstream education; it’s because they help training the child to accept the message ‘pleasure is bad, violence is good,’ which is the mainstream perversion that is ideologically built into our mainstream culture.
Mainstream education builds a body full of strife and tension, a body that is in conflict with itself; this is done intentionally as emotions are dead in a stiff and tense body.
The child’s emotions being considered as ‘unruly’ and ‘dangerous,’ must be ‘tamed,’ and thus a rigid hard regimen is inflicted upon the child, especially boys, to get them to ‘control their emotions.’ What this leads to is that emotions are repressed, awareness about them is suppressed, and they are thus lesser accessible. This is of course not smart because the very inability to access our emotions makes them dangerous and unpredictable. Not control is the key to sanity, but emotional awareness! Seen from this vantage point, mainstream education really is insane.
In addition, what standard education overlooks is that emotions are all interconnected within a kaleidoscopic continuum, which means that when you repress one emotion, you repress them all! This explains why children caught in the claws of mainstream education cannot experience ecstasy or joy; it’s because they are told to repress their hot emotions, anger, rage, and jealousy.
And there is one emotion never mentioned in psychology but that is nonetheless real in free children: it is temporary ‘madness,’ which is a joy so overwhelming that it looks like madness.
My extended research on emotions showed me clearly that the repression of emotions creates a fundamental imbalance in the mindbody, and the whole of the organism of the child; the result are children who are ‘excited’ all the time, knowing no limits and disturbing the rest of the group, and children who are hyperactive, display learning disabilities and who suffer from insomnia and bedwetting.
Often, these children are labeled as depressive or even schizophrenic, while the etiology may be much more basic; when emotions are out of balance, all kinds of psychosomatic ailments may manifest, but the solution isn’t as difficult as curing schizophrenia. That is why for all of these symptoms, before resorting to ‘hard psychiatry,’ children’s emotional life and especially their emotional flow should be assessed. When the emotional flow is blocked, a soft approach that focuses on unlocking the child’s body through loving touch combined with psychotherapeutic treatment in the form of truthful communication can bring immediate results. When the lockup of the emotional flow was not for long, it is relatively easy to get things back to normal, especially with smaller children.
Psychotherapy should focus, then, on putting words on things, and first of all, listening to the child. However, loving touch and communication alone can effect miracles, not only with children, but also with adults.
This was shown by alternative psychiatrists such as Ronald David Laing in England and Thomas Szasz in the United States, who dedicated time and space to psychotic children, engaging in co-living with those children, and doing the therapy in tidbits and little chunks, while having the child around in loving care all the time.
They reached amazing healing results. Their approach, which was propagated as Antipsychiatry, made history as a daring and valid alternative to psychiatry; today it is as revolutionary as it was when they created it; in fact, such an integrated approach to curing childhood psychosis and schizophrenia is still today not an established practice in the mental health profession.
When the emotional distortion was ingrained in the organism over a longer period of time, you can regularly notice a lock of both the emotional flow and the muscular tissues of the body. It appears that mental health is first of all characterized by the faculty to express one’s emotions more or less freely, and in accordance with set and setting; this faculty of adaptation, which is a mental faculty, helps us forge and change the environment in which we are living in case our health situation requires it.
With so-called ‘difficult’ children, this process of adaptation doesn’t work smoothly; they are either overadapted or they are rebellious and thus defy any adaptation. In such a case, it is not necessary to discard the child out into psychiatric care; instead, the educator can help the child learn to express their feelings in a way that is not doing harm, and, what is even more important, help the child understand the positive dynamics of emotions, and the benefits of expressing and communicating emotional needs.
The intellect of the child, the rational mind, can only sanely unfold when their emotional life is balanced and free from energetic blockages and anxieties. Our mental faculties cannot be separated from our emotional life.
Modern education is fundamentally flawed when it overcharges children with knowledge and trains the child only intellectually. The robots that come out of such an education will one day be our war marshals and global terrorists in not too far a future! This is so because the education of the heart, and the understanding of our emotional life and our affects are by far superior, and more difficult to bring about than the training of our mental faculties. And it is a much greater challenge for the educator! Our feelings often trigger projections that veil the educator’s objective view of the child — with the result of prejudice coming in. Only personal integrity and constant work on the inner mind, as well as raising emotional awareness can help educators master this challenge.
Children whose body, mind and emotions are in a healthy state of balance will be intellectually brilliant, and this naturally, without an intellectual training in the sense of Montessori education being needed.
On the other hand, a child who was rendered a perfect mental robot by intellect boosting will always remain an emotional torso, and in the extreme case he or she will be truly handicapped in their intimate life, and in the extreme case end up as a sexual psychopath. This is ultimately what I have to reproach against Montessori education; it bears a great danger.
To summarize, there is no alternative. Education must begin with the child’s body, pass through awareness building of their emotional life, to finally reach the mental level — and not vice versa.