The Skills-for-Life course is aimed at taking practical steps towards equipping people with a wider range of skills and practices than conventional education provides, and to help promote flexible, practical thinking. The course is held in a communal, residential setting, both to give a taste of living in a community and to promote cooperation in carrying out practical tasks.
The course includes practical classes in gardening, cooking, carpentry and car care, combined with an equally practical approach to understanding our own nature. This involves basic practices, including techniques for self-monitoring, and simple meditation, designed to help participants understand and direct their own inner life and emotional experience. Such “inner” work is combined with practical classes, to promote an effective balance between our inner and outer lives.
Work on attention underpins much of the curriculum, whether we are paying attention to how we use a hammer or a kitchen knife, or monitoring our own emotional reactions and inner attitudes. To help develop attention in relation to the body, there are simple rhythmic dances that require no previous experience.
Underpinning the Skills-for-Life course is an understanding that we people need to develop the ability to see and do what is right— and not simply what is socially required—and that this is a faculty latent in all of us. Developing and strengthening this faculty is also a matter of practice, and this ise addressed during program.
Skills-for-Life is designed to introduce participants to a few basic skills and practices that they can continue to develop afterwards. Staff will remain available for further consultation after the course is over, and the aim is to offer further events in the future.