Choosing the spiral galaxy metaphor

If we choose to act as spiral-galaxy teachers, we can activate energy in our students. When we visualize them as dual-foci beings, we raise our consciousness to look beyond appearances into the real selves before us. When we act as activators towards life, we resonate at the heart of the universe. Human consciousness, as far as we know, is unique among all creatures (at least on this planet) in that we can reflect on our place in the universe. Quantum mechanics teaches us that the act of looking affects what we see—the observer affects the observed. If we choose to look at people and objects as alien life forms, we deny our interconnection. But, we have been born of the same source and exchange atoms with everyone and everything around us. As teachers, we need to see our students as integral to our lives, as part of the extended human family, as part of the same universe.

Let’s look at this another way. Suppose a spiral galaxy and an elliptical galaxy touched, and the reverse happened and the spiral galaxy were to die? Would not the universe be conveying a different message? Instead of affirming life as essential to the universe knowing itself, it would be declaring the opposite. But instead, we are a unique part of a creative universe and as a part we reveal the universe. What happens at the macrocosm level is echoed in the microcosm. As Ken Wilber puts it in A Brief History of Everything:

  • There’s an old joke about a King who goes to a Wiseperson and asks how is it that the Earth doesn’t fall down. The Wiseperson replies, “The Earth is resting on a lion.” “On what then is the lion resting?” “The lion is resting on an elephant.” “On what is the elephant resting?” “The elephant is resting on a turtle.” “On what is the…” “You can stop right there, Your Majesty, It’s turtles all the way down.”

Do you agree with Wilber?


For more on this crucial issue see Chapter 19 “Invoke the Cosmos” in Teaching from the Middle of the Room: Inviting Students to Learn from Amazon: