Oregon State University American Indian Initiatives

Director of American Indian Initiatives

Personal Philosophy on Education:

You cannot be truthful if you are not courageous
You cannot be loving if you are not courageous
You cannot be trusting if you are not courageous
You cannot inquire into reality if you are not courageous
Hence courage comes first
And everything else follows.

(Osho. Courage. 1999:1)

To embark upon educating oneself is one of the greatest challenges confronting an individual. It is that moment of not knowing, that moment of the ambiguity of things, the moment of testing oneself in something completely foreign and alien. Yet it is within this crucible that we find our own face and become confronted with who we are, how we got there, and what we are to do about it. In essence, it is to envision who we can become within the realm of possibilities. Such a task calls forth our own personal courage, to challenge those things which are extrinisic and intrinsic to our very being; to travel through the darkness of the valley of self-doubt, to emerge as an individual with a deeper understanding of oneself, and one's relation to others.

"Courage means going in to the unknown in spite of all the fears. Courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness happens if you go on being courageous and more courageous. That is the ultimate experience of courage--fearlessness: That is the fragrance when the courage has become absolute. But in the beginning there is not much difference between the coward and the courageous person. The only difference is that the coward listens to his fears and follows them, and the courageous person puts them aside and goes ahead. The courageous person goes into the unknown in spite of all the fears. He knows the fears, the fears are there. Basically courage is risking the known for the unknown, the familiar for the unfamiliar, the comfortable for the uncomfortable, arduous pilgrimage to some unknown destination. One never knows whether one will be able to make it or not. It is gambling, but only the gamblers will know what life is" (Osho. Courage. 1999: 2).

Education is the challenge of a lifetime because it encompasses an extreme commitment to life, a curiosity for the wonders of the world, and the wonders of what it means to be a human being living at this particular historical point in time. Education affords us the opportunity to explore new worlds, traverse the mind and its possibilities and call forth a new day; to dream new dreams, to sing forth a new morning, and to bear witness to the rising sun.

That dream
shall have a name
after all,
and it will not be vengeful
but wealthy with love
and compassion
and knowledge.
And it will rise
In this heart
which is our America.

(Simon Ortiz: From Sand Creek)

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