Week 2. (11/02/12) Contemplation and action during a reign of terror. Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life. Integrating contemplation and social action. Topical reviews.
Holocaust was a massive genocide, which was a catastrophe for many European Jews. Nazi occupation of Poland enabled them to create various camps, where German people were ordered by Hitler to send Jews. There are many scholars, such as historians, political scientists, archeologists, who studied the life of Jewish people during these occupations. Nevertheless, no one is able to portray the terror of genocide better than those people, who were occupied, Many people, who were captured in these camps, were writing their memoirs and diaries, who reveal their feelings and describe emotions during the Holocaust.
Etty Hillesum was a young woman, who was a victim of German occupation. She was secretly writing her letters, which describe her life in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, after travelling to and from the city, she was eventually sent to Auschwitz and died there at the age of just twenty nine. She began her diaries just after Hitler invaded Netherlands. That is why her writings present her daily experience of war and terror. In the second part of book Esther Hillesum reveals her daily life at the transit camp Westervork. Then she unfolds her personal story in Auschwitz.
One of the most fascinating things in her diary is her desire to rise above hate and her compassion. Moreover, Etty was tremendously strong woman, which preserved her inner beauty. One of her quote is “God cannot be held accountable to us, but we are accountable to him. I know what will happen to us next…”. She was extremely clever and despite the obstacles she managed to preserve her faith. In her letters she describes many important moments, such as the meaning of life as well as her attitude to love.
Such diaries are extremely important to read, because they are showing the real strength of our spirit. This should serve as a motivation for life and also strengthen our faith.
Week 3. (11/09/12) Brain science and inner peace. Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight. Brain states underlying contemplative and active modes of consciousness and practices to integrate them. Topical reviews.
There are people, whose life stories are extremely inspirational and give hope for many people. Jill Bolte is one of such people, whose experience was so tremendous that she decided to share it with others through. Her story is very unusual. First of all, Jill Bolte started studying the brain, because he had a brother with a brain disorder. She was particularly interested in studying dreams and how they can be connected to the common reality. While growing up, she always wondered why her brother is not able to connect them to reality. That is why she decided to research brain illnesses.
The main question she asked at her research was about the differences between the brain of a normal person and the brain of a person diagnosed with the brain illness. In her lab she …