Chapter 1: Attaining True Success

This is part one of a multi-part series summarizing “Education for Life”, the philosophy behind our curriculum. Reading these articles will familiarize you with the principles and ideas that make the Living Wisdom School a unique educational experience. Please check our site regularly as we post synopses of additional chapters from this original and pioneering text.

Success is Achieving What One REALLY Wants

In chapter one of Education For Life by J. Donald Walters – better known as Swami Kriyananda, the author asks questions about conventional definitions of success. Walters challenges the promoted definition of success quantified by the accumulation of material items and proposes a re-calibration of conventional definitions of success. Walters offers up the idea that success is really about inner-happiness.

“…what people really want from life is not the mere symbols of happiness, but happiness itself.”

As the seminal text and foundation of Living Wisdom Schools approach to education and embedded curriculum, Education for Life challenges the status quo with elegance and grace.

But before we dig further into the first short chapter of Education for Life, or EFL, let’s learn a little more about Mr. Walters, or Swami Kriyananda.

Yogananda (left) and his disciple Swami Kriyananda (right)


Swami Kriyananda was a direct disciple of yogi Paramahansa Yogananda – a yogi, guru and largely accepted modern master who authored Autobiography of a Yogi. It was Yogananda whose teaching of meditation and Kriya Yoga illuminated (and continues to illuminate) many millions of Westerners in the deep practice of attaining direct personal experience with God. Yogananda’s teachings continue to inspire individuals and organizations across the globe with several key teachings:

• To disseminate among the nations knowledge of definite scientific techniques for attaining direct personal experience of God via the path of meditation.
• To teach that the purpose of life is the evolution, through self-effort, of man’s limited mortal consciousness into God Consciousness; and to this end to establish Self-Realization Fellowship temples for God-communion throughout the world, and to encourage the establishment of individual temples of God in the homes and in the hearts of men.
• To reveal the complete harmony and basic oneness of original Christianity as taught by Jesus Christ and original Yoga as taught by Bhagavan Krishna.
• To point out the one divine highway to which all paths of true religious beliefs eventually lead: the highway of daily, scientific, devotional meditation on God.
• To liberate man from his threefold suffering: physical disease, mental inharmonies, and spiritual ignorance.
• To encourage “plain living and high thinking”; and to spread a spirit of brotherhood among all peoples by teaching the eternal basis of their unity: kinship with God.
• To demonstrate the superiority of mind over body, of soul over mind.
• To overcome evil by good, sorrow by joy, cruelty by kindness, ignorance by wisdom.
• To advocate cultural and spiritual understanding between East and West, and the exchange of their finest distinctive features.
• To serve mankind as one’s larger Self.

-Excerpted from Wikipedia

Of course, this is just the beginning of Paramahansa Yogananda’s teaching, but we’ll reserve that for many more blog posts.

As a direct disciple of Yogananda and a prolific writer, teacher and philosopher Swami Kriyananda penned EFL as an elegant, logical and critical treatise on educating young people. Even in the first chapter of EFL Kriyananda makes the essential distinction between the educational status quo which favors the memorization and regurgitation of facts versus focusing on promoting critical thinking and creative problem-solving.

Like a breath of fresh air, Kriyananda points out the importance of instilling students – like the ones attending Living Wisdom School – with a thirst for wisdom.

“The tendency to confuse knowledge with wisdom becomes a habit for the rest of most people’s lives.”

We can all relate, especially if you were educated in a conventional Western system. The memorization of facts has always taken precedence over self-exploration. Many modern critics of western education point out that our current systems were created for an industrial era population where repetition, memorization, and homogenization were/are optimized for compliance.

EFL as the foundation for Living Wisdom school takes Kriyananda’s direction for building educational institutions that promote inner-exploration and the search for wisdom so that our children may achieve the success that they really want…for life.

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