Aftab Omer

Educating the Heart: Transforming Vocation into Profession

Most institutions of formal education around the world have collapsed education into what would be better referred to as training. While training can be very important, depending on the competencies required within a particular professional context, the term education is better reserved for a distinctly sacred purpose.

Education, in its truest expression, is about drawing out the deepest potentials of the human heart. The heart in this instance symbolizes the imaginal core of human experience. Imagination integrates the sensory, somatic, affective, and cognitive dimensions of experience, enabling us to personally and collectively express the central mystery of relationality.

At its depth, imagination is collective in nature, manifesting the entangled nature of existence. When we ignite collective imagination, change goes beyond incremental and adaptive, to transformational change.

Each of us can hear a deep call to be a force of goodness in our lives. We can understand this call as our vocation; an education at its best enables this call of the heart to be expressed in one’s professional life. This requires that the capabilities associated with the heart be joined with the struggles of the everyday world. With our educated hearts, we are able to offer the embrace of recognition to the otherness of others. Such dialogic capability enables mutual understanding through which we can both share worlds, and go beyond, to making possible worlds.

Aftab Omer is a sociologist, psychologist, futurist, President of Meridian University, Fellow of the International Futures Forum, and the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, and former President of the Council for Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychologies, whose publications address the topics of transformative learning, cultural leadership, generative entrepreneurship and the power of imagination.

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