What is it about teachers that we love (and sometimes hate) so much? Is it that they challenge us? Nuture us? Provide us with answers? Provide us with questions? Do you remember your favorite teachers? Why were they your favorites? And furthermore, can you think of any teachers you’ve had since you’ve been out of academics? In other words, what constitutes a “Teacher?”
I’ve been pondering this question for a few years, actually. On my current path, I’ve come across many excellent teachers. My Reiki teacher, for example, has given me more than just Reiki certification. These gifts have allowed me to question myself and grow a bit more each time we were together. Sometimes, though, it was just my time to be nurtured, not challenged and she knew that, and gladly obliged. However, she wasn’t the “teacher” for which I was searching. Something inside me told me there was someone out there I was meant to “study” with, for a while. So, I kept searching – all the while bouncing from one person to another, gaining knowledge, insight and wisdom along the way. Allowing myself to be challenged, and then running away when I was.
Then I met my Teacher. With a capital “T.” Is he a teacher? Yes. Is he so much more? Yes. He’s a mentor, a guide, a sounding board, a friend. He listens, he challenges, he questions, he nutures, and he comforts. He lives in love, and he is a shining example of that. But what exactly does that mean? And why him? Why him, and not all the others I have worked with over the last few years? Is it a feeling? Is it an intuition? Is it a knowing? What is it about our favorite teachers that makes us so happy and receptive to what they offer? What is it about them that makes us remember them forever and always?
This isn’t to say that I won’t remember all the other mentors I’ve had along the way, and will continue to work with – but why is this one person “different?” Why do we gravitate toward people in our lives at specific times or during specific stages? Is it that they have something we want? Probably. Is it that they are meant to be in our path? Also, probably. But what else is there? Something more?
In my experience, it’s when there’s “something more” that I have found truly profound growth and wisdom. And, luckily, I have found him – for this stage in my life. A gift? Definitely. A destiny? Absolutely. A surprise? Not really. A blessing? Yup – depending on how you look at it. With meeting him, I am challenged more than ever before, and yet, I know I will grow more than ever before as a result. It can be difficult, draining and emotionally upsetting at times – but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. So, where do I go from here? After three years of “searching” for my Teacher, I have found him. What does that mean? It means, it’s time for the work to begin. I’ve been working diligently for three years, step by step. Awakening, studying, learning, growing – and yet now I can say my “true work” will begin. Perhaps that’s the best definition of a teacher. Someone who allows you the space to do your best, who challenges you along the way, and who helps you up when you fall down. A teacher is someone who loves you, nurtures you, cares for you – but keeps your feet to the fire in order to help you become the best version of yourself. Whether it’s academics, spirituality or physical health – teachers provide us with the opportunities to maximize our potential, and grow into better human beings. And hopefully, we then share that growth with others, and become teachers ourselves.
As such – aren’t we all teachers? And aren’t we always learning from others, in a similar way? And if we stop to really think about it – isn’t every interaction with another person an opportunity to both teach and learn? I don’t mean it’s an opportunity to force your own beliefs on someone else, or take over their free will, but rather every interaction is an opportunity to learn from each other, and help each other be the best we can be – whether it’s a doctor, football player, plumber, designer or teacher. We’re all helping each other – we’re all working together. When we stop working together, we feel it. It feels somehow “wrong.” And we seek out other people to be around.
There’s a saying I’m sure you’re familiar with: People come into our lives for “a reason, a season or a lifetime.” While I agree with the physicality of that statement. I think people who come into our lives, or cross our paths are with us forever. We are always touched by them – whether in learning how not to be, or learning how to be a better version of ourselves. So, next time you come across someone you haven’t seen in a while, or you meet someone new, or you have dinner with a best friend – maybe it’s time to slow down, and honor the gifts they bring to you. And in turn, they will have an opportunity to do the same. Eventually, my hope is that we can spread this around the world, and people will become a little lighter, brighter and more in touch with their inner peace and happiness. Simply by pausing long enough to honor the teachers in their life, and their own role as a teacher for others, we can accomplish great things.
As for my Teacher – I’m only just beginning on my path with him, and it is a privilege. I am honored every time I speak or write with him, and I am always waiting for the next “lesson,” which sometimes I don’t even realize occurred until long after I’ve received the answer within myself. It’s amazing.
This week is all about recognizing the things around you and your role within your own environment and relationships as well.
Body – Do you remember having PE in elementary school? There was a reason it was a part of our education: learning to move, every day, and honor your body is important to your overall health and wellbeing. I remember thinking it odd that someone can get a degree to “teach” PE – but it makes sense. A PE teacher (or a yoga instructor, etc.) reminds us of that we are physical as well as spiritual. So, get your gym shoes on – grab a friend, and get going. A little game of “tag” or “Red Rover” never hurt anyone.
Mind – What was the last book you read? Summer is all about indulgent books on the seashore or by the pool. I’m all for a little guilty pleasure (I’m reading “Stori Telling” myself right now, by Tori Spelling), but what about the part of you that longs for more knowledge or information – is there a culture you’ve always been curious about? What if your next book focused on that – their history, traditions or food? Cookbooks can be surprisingly informative about culture and history. I have a large collection, just for that reason. I feel I get to know a people better, by understanding their cooking.
Spirit – Priests, Rabbis, monks, nuns – they’re all great teachers. What other teachers exist to nurture your spiritual growth? A friend? A parent? A grandparent? Sometimes, a long talk with a good friend about the questions of life as they are currently playing out in your life can open up new doors and opportunities you never knew existed. How about calling your friend, and setting up just such a date?
In love and light,