As we continue to live in an alternative educational universe––so far from one another physically, but together striving continually to realize the ideals of Waldorf Education for the children and parents in our communities––we can draw some solace from living into the reality that the Being of our School, like the Being of each incarnated individuality, lives in its essential form beyond the world of life and death, and its spirit essence is worthy of contemplation. This meditative exploration has come alive for me in contemplating the empty campus of my school, thinking about the body of the school in relation to a full and rich experience of the Being of our School that comes alive in me in the silence of our campus.
We can become aware of the physical, life body, and spirit body of our own School. The bones of the school organism live in the physical world: the beautiful campus, lovingly cared for, sculpted and prepared to intentionally meet the needs of students at varied stages and activities of childhood; the hallways and classrooms, light-filled, warmed through by the careful attention to detail by the teacher and others. Ensouling the body are the colors, and all the warmth- imbued elements of the classroom; gardens and grounds nurturing the senses and the sense of life; play areas arranged to invite joy and support active participation in the work of the day, and details that support the life of the school –– beeswax crayons, jump ropes, bean bags, knitting needles; we can lovingly picture all of this as the body of the school, imbued with love and warmth of soul.
The soul of the school can also be experienced in the humming buzz of the activity of the teachers, singing and music, eurythmy, all subjects weaving a tapestry of life; parents, teachers, and students coming and going, imbuing the school with life. The joys and sorrows of the main lesson stories, the drama of sports, the beauty of class plays and other performances all weave a soul body to sheathe, warm, and enliven the physical school body. Likewise, the love we carry for one another––teachers, parents, and students together––weaves a refined and resilient soul body.
The spirit of our beloved Waldorf School lives in the essence of our work: the ideals we are expressing in the thoughts and deeds that underlie the school, the values, the inspiring star that guides each school. The spirit of the school, like the spirit of the human being, never fully incarnates but can be seen and heard in the ideas carried by the faculty and the realization of these ideals in the life of the school.
The Spirit or Being of a School finds its expression in the active doing of all those engaged in the life of the School and creates a unique signature and mood. The active and conscious weaving of our efforts and deeds out of the ideals of the school form the life element of the Being of our School, imbued with the spiritual essence living within the thoughts and intentions of those engaged in the work of the school. Picture the diverse and articulated deeds of our own work and of our colleagues through active imagination! It is a beehive of love created for the free human being! As we lovingly picture, tableau-like, all the activities of the school and the individuals engaged with the school (children, teachers, staff, parents, board members, etc.), in this wide gaze and picturing we can behold the weaving and breathing wholesome unity of this School Being. In beholding the active inner picture of the Being of the School, we can also create out of our own heart-warming power a sheath or mantle of protection around the life body, physical body, and spirit of the school, and hold this imagination in our hearts. Imbue this mantle with strength, color, warmth, love –– then hold this picture! Actively building up and recalling this picture of our school strengthens our connection with the Being of the School, as well as strengthening the Being of the School itself. Continuing to imagine the Being of the School and creating a strengthening mantle or sheath around our school unites us with the Being of the School and all who are striving to realize its ideals.