Sunday, August 20, 2006

teachers



"Who is the outer teacher? None other than the embodiment and voice and
representative of our inner teacher. The master whose human shape and
human voice and wisdom we come to love with a love deeper than any
other in our lives is none other than the external manifestation of
the mystery of our own inner truth. What else could explain why we
feel so strongly connected to him or her?"

I decided to write a little about teachers, since teachers of all
kinds play such an important part in my life. I think it is essential
to find good teachers to teach you the art of life. In the beautiful
quote above that comes from Sogyal Rinpoche's book "Glimpse after
Glimpse" (July 27) it is shown how sometimes a teacher we meet can be a
manifestation of what we really need and want to develop. I think good
teachers are very challenging to work with, because they want only the
best you can give them, nothing less. Yet also the interactions with
them are extremely rewarding because not only do they show you the
path, but they are often also great examples. In fact I feel this
applies to not only my spiritual teacher, but also to my ballet
teachers and my thesis advisor, and many of the teachers I have had in
the past. These days, the role of the teacher often gets devaluated
and there is not a lot of respect for them, which greatly diminishes
their ability to actually confer their experience to the
students. This is quite contrary to the way it still works in ballet,
where a teacher is usually not gone against and is curtsied at the end
of every class (to just give some examples). Of course it is also
important to develop critical thinking, and not to take everything the
teacher says at face value, but this can be done after the knowledge
is tested out (this is interestingly enough also what the Buddha seems
to have said to his students: do not believe things I say just because
I say them, test them for yourself). To be pushed by a teacher and to
work very hard can in the end be a joy because it allows you to
transcend your own boundaries. This is why I believe it is so
important to meet good teachers.
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