The Ecology of Joy (EOJ) has come a long way since it was introduced in Sweden in 2006. Much material has been produced that has made EOJ more practical for teachers and parents. In a few weeks, this material will be available online. This paper is a call to a new beginning.
What is the Ecology of Joy?
It is a philosophy and a method to impart spirituality to children. Philosophy? You may ask, but don’t we already have Neohumanism as a philosophy? The Ecology of Joy supports Neohumanism but uses our Ananda Marga philosophy. Most educators start with Neohumanism as a source of inspiration. But Neohumanism is a vast concept that needs to be explored from various perspectives.
The Ecology of Joy is based on the Ananda Marga philosophy and begins with infinite happiness, Anandam. EOJ had to simplify the concept of spirituality to make a curriculum easier and more natural for children to grasp. So, the first lesson children learn is identifying with their sense of happiness and Parama Purusa.
The lessons are based on 4 basic principles:
I am the happiness I feel. (1st lesson)
Joy does everything through me. (2nd lesson)
Do for everyone and the universe. (Service)
The 4th principle is surrender, trust, and knowing, which concerns adults but not young children. (Surrender)
Then you only need to know that happiness is Baba, Consciousness, love, beauty, life, and truth.
How do we teach EOJ to young children? –– We tell them. And nowadays we tell them stories, sing songs, and play doing magic.
EOJ has three programmes for young children
1. The first programme is about knowing who you are. ‘Blessings of Joy’ is a manual that tells about Joy, love, beauty, life, and truth with the purpose of identifying with them. The manual also introduces some practices to reinforce the first EOJ principles: (1) I am happiness. (2) Happiness does everything through me. (3) I do for others.
2. The second programme is putting philosophy into practise. The second principle is introduced in the ‘Book of Magic Spells.’ When Joy does anything, the result is magical. The book of magic provides plenty of magical ceremonies that put happiness, love, and beauty into practise.
3. The third programme is meditation and moral practises. The manual ‘Meditation & Practises’ provides 11 steps of meditation and seven practises such as compassion, Celebrations, and more.
These three programmes and their manuals can be used from the beginning simultaneously. To this effect, the manuals Kids School of Magic 1-2-3 combine the three programmes, which is convenient for parents and teachers who don’t have the time to study so much material.
As you can see, EOJ has a lot of materials that you can use immediately.
The Ecology of Joy shows practical results
I started developing EOJ in Indonesia, then in China. And it was recently discovered in Russia where we have begun some training workshops.
EOJ had immediate effects and success in Indonesia. In those days, we didn’t have the stories, songs, and material we have now. Nevertheless, the minds of the children were easy to lift. The same results also appear in China, where some kindergartens use our material. The children get a lot of benefits, in their behaviour obviously, but also in all academic subjects. Clearly, the more spiritual children are, the better they perform in intellectual subjects.
Neohumanist Education ought to begin beyond the intellectual approach of regular education. It must use a spiritual approach, not an intellectual approach.
You may ask, ‘how can we associate spirituality with arithmetic, science, or any academic subject?’ The answer is by using intuition; that is, intuitive intelligence. Intuition is the use of higher levels of consciousness. So we begin with intuition and then continue with rational intelligence. The methods are still in a stage of development only because there is a lot of work to prepare the material. The programmes mentioned above are the first steps toward the child’s intuitive development.
The teachers need training
The EOJ manuals will soon be available online and will require some training. The first workshops are exclusively for adults’ personal development. Adults need to ask the right questions so they may give the children the practical answers they need. When it comes to spirituality, children are at the same level as adults, not because they are smarter, but because adults never attended our NHE schools.
My name is Acarya Caetanyananda Avadhuta, and I am a French national working in Taiwan and China. After leaving a big school in Indonesia in 2010, I decided to give up the academic subjects and focus solely on spirituality, refining what has become the Ecology of Joy. So, I don’t have a school of my own, and I feel too old to start a new one. But I am on a crusade to turn a zillion schools to Ananda Marga.
My EOJ project became successful in China, where some kindergartens already use the material. During the last ten years, the Ecology of Joy extended to adults’ development, and I have given lots of workshops for adults. Simultaneously, I learnt to write children’s stories and wrote a few manuals. All children love magic, so I used the magical theme to introduce morality and the practise of spirituality. Now, EOJ is getting some attention in Russia, where training has already started.
At this time, I continue writing material, especially on intuitive intelligence. That will be a pleasant surprise for the big and small children who love wonder.