Recent years have seen a proliferation of self-help books and inspirational teachers. Some of these books attain the status of best-sellers, and some of these teachers develop millions of followers. Those who are touched by their message testify to the inspirational nature of their words. Yet, a few months later they are searching for the next best seller, the next inspirational teacher/speaker. This is because, in the process of spiritual growth and self-improvement, inspiration is never enough. If the book or teacher does not impart tools for integration of the inspiring information, whatever has been communicated rapidly flees from consciousness.
This is the secret of proper education. Inspiration is essential — it ignites in us the drive to change. But if we are not shown how to integrate what we learn, it is for naught.
The following chapters present an educational model based on the principles of inspiration and integration as explained in Kabbalah and elucidated in Hassidism. These principles apply whether one is a parent trying to impart values to his or her children, a teacher in an elementary school, a university professor, a religious mentor to those on a spiritual path, or indeed, whether one is in a process of self-education. (In the latter case, it must be noted that one cannot follow these principles completely alone since the input of an objective spiritual advisor is essential.)
Indeed, everyone assumes the role of educator sometime in life — whether in relation to friends seeking advice, parenting, marriage, or career. Each one of us is both simultaneously learning from a teacher who knows more than we do, and teaching those who know less.
Whichever is the case — whether one is currently in the position of a teacher or a student — these principles apply.
There is one caveat. The focus of this presentation is not on education of secular subjects. Rather, this presentation strives to introduce spiritual seekers to a model which they must adopt if their quest is to yield lasting fruit. Only following a model such as this one can bring about substantive change.