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Everyone Should Look at Life Like Professor Emma Van Ness

By Jaren Gendron; For the Clock
On February 23, 2018

Everyone Should Look at Life Like Professor Emma Van Ness

Jaren Gendron

For the Clock

jpgendron@plymouth.edu

Spirituality is the human obligation to put oneself after those around us, and to be of service. That is how Emma Van Ness puts it, “the human condition is a deeply collaborative one, an experience that people have been blessed by and doomed to suffer from since the advent of our race.” You may recognize Emma from her lm analysis or language courses.

Emma gathers her experiences to mold classroom environments that encourage mindfulness to our actions, and to speak against adversity when nobody else will. To her, the most influential proponent to inner and external change is our courage to travel out of the cave.

Emma studied at the University of Chicago for her undergraduate degree, and recognizes her work here as strongly influential to the shaping of her adult character. She tried yoga but it did not fit to her liking at this point. She realized over time this was a clear indication to stick with the exercise, as we must be inclined to challenge our norms and perform what we find most difficult. She cites yoga as having been essential to keeping her focus on-point and in the present in one of her earlier teaching positions.

“I had thirty-five kids in my class and I was the only teacher, and I needed something that made all that daily accumulated stress and experience fall away. If I did not have that, I think I would have carried them with me, and I think when we carry them all the time it gets in the way of us being the most present and grounded of ourselves. You are not in the moment, you are thinking about what happened two hours earlier or that stressful conversation. It was really yoga that allowed me to be in that classroom.”

Emma believes that humans are extreme because of our ability to feel, for having the rationale to seek answers, and for the ability of tapping into them to our control. Empathy is essential to maintaining a mindful attitude, and our potential to service is greatly lifted once we may achieve healthy connectedness. The concept that people are not in control is a paradox, because the reality is that the only person in the way of our goals is ourselves. Getting too fixated on the familiar is a detriment to our growth, but Emma encourages searching beyond our sphere of consciousness as to learn more about the world and of others as a means of exercising empathy.

Emma also cites her role as a mother to her strong spiritual disciplines and her want to expend her energy for the world. Once she became a mother, her role changed because her position no longer became as much about herself than it was for her child. Entering this point in her life, her fate has become tied to a person other than herself, which has reinforced the ideology of shared human connectedness.

Sharing our lives with those who have qualities we want to cultivate for ourselves is the most rewarding and beneficial kinds of social interaction” says Emma. People tend to stagnate in their own ways when surrounded by people just like themselves, thus finding no critique or guidance to happier opportunities in life. This goes back to questioning norms and feeding ourselves into uncomfortable positions; exposing ourselves to people who we want to live up to is a terriffic motivator to live life with more deliberation and thoughtfulness to time.

“Aspirational rather than imita- tion,” says Emma.

Spirituality calibrates the mind. It can be a necessary to living the fullest and harnessing the amount of the energy we use constructively. Being comfortable where we are most uncomfortable is the proponent to action and becoming in tune with ideals and higher focused moral figure. Many people can live without having much thought on a lot of subjects or really exploring the uniqueness of their own self, but spirituality and mindfulness is how we can open ourselves up to transformation and living life with agency.

 

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