And the apple goes to…?
Eastern practices like kungfu, kendo, kalarippayattu have a title for their teacher, like Master, Sensei, Sifu. In a conversation some time ago, the question came up “how should a yoga teacher be addressed?” The following musings do nothing to answer it!
Teachers, masters, gurus (whatever they’re called) can teach their hearts out, toss in all the wisdom the world has to offer but unless the student is receptive for that lesson, the teacher will not be heard. Each might as well had enjoyed a cup of tea instead. To regurgitate what your teacher said without questioning it’s meaning or validity dismisses the potentialities of the lesson. A teacher will be able to guide you and provide information in your search for meaning. Whatever is taught has to be consciously received, experienced, and reflected upon. Furthermore, to limit yourself to a specific teacher limits your growth. Even the best of teachers will have their own limitations. The saying goes ‘you can lead a horse to water…’
Consider that the real teacher is life itself and you are it’s student. As students, if we are to benefit from life’s lessons, we must start the practice of identifying the lesson in each experience. Should the lesson cause you to react in some way, take a moment to pause, put aside pride, clear your mind, and begin to ask yourself questions. Notice how an experience affects you – physically, mentally, emotionally. Check in with your breathing. Is it smooth or choppy? Is your body relaxed or tensed? Do you feel empowered or helpless? Did the event enhance or drain your energy? Does it make you feel happy, angry, proud, confused,…? As we begin the practice of observing our reaction(s) positive or negative, question their origins. Where do they stem from and why? Life has many lessons to teach us about ourselves. Introspect on your experiences. Do it daily. Changes will occur. Our standard reactions will fade, giving us freedom to chose a new response.
In any conscious moment, interaction with people can result in us becoming either the teacher or the student. The art lies in recognizing limitations that prevent us from growth.
For me, I’m Nirala! Just be sure to spell and pronounce it correctly! 😃