Finding Courage Through Surrender

This post may be a little woo-woo-sounding, but it’s about something I’ve been going through and how I’ve been dealing with it — including looking to God for guidance, and the guidance I received, and where it may take me.

I’ve been struggling with this one class. Of the eight that I’m teaching right now (four college, four ACT prep), there’s just this one that I can’t seem to get into the flow on. It’s one of the ACT prep classes that the district has made mandatory for every kid in certain schools designated “underperforming” (code for all kinds of other adjectives having to do with disparity of resources).  Most of the classes of this type that I’ve taught have been challenging but ultimately rewarding for me as a teacher, and the kids have seemed to get something out of them too.  For this one, though, uh-uh.  Even though individual sessions may go well enough, given that the kids didn’t choose to be in this class and most don’t want to be there, there’s this palpable antagonism coming from the students that goes beyond mere not caring.

I had this group before. I get them for eleven days at a time, not all in a row, and I haven’t been able to shake the role of outsider. They hated the (pre-set) material and I felt like they hated me.  Their classroom teacher didn’t seem to like me, either, and that didn’t help.  She seemed to have sized me up in the beginning and dismissed me as ineffective and not worth her time.  I tried not to take it personally, but it took a lot of emotional energy to keep going in there, to keep smiling, to keep looking for ways to get them engaged.  I rotated out to another class for a while — a great relief — but I knew I would be going back. Man, I sweated it. I seriously did not know how I was going to get through the hour each day, let alone offer the students something that would actually be useful or helpful to them.

But it turned out that this was actually a good place for me to get to.  Because when I realized I was at the very end of my power to get through something that I knew I had to get through, a light finally came on.  If I recognize my powerlessness over life circumstances, I know my only choice is surrender to God.

I was drawn to a little book of daily meditations by Hazelden called In God’s Care for a message from my higher self.  The message was this:

“A consciousness of God releases the greatest power of all.”Science of Mind Magazine  ~~ Just thinking of God as we go into situations we’re uncomfortable with or perhaps even fearful of will relieve our troubled mind and lessen our anxiety.  Carrying God in our thoughts means we don’t have to, for that moment or hour or day, feel alone.  Quite miraculously, we’ll know that God can help us handle what we could not handle alone.  Most of us dwell more on negative thoughts than on thoughts of God.  And our life is far more confused and complicated than it needs to be as a result.  To replace one thought with another is really quite simple.  A quiet reminder to stop negative thinking and remember God is all that’s necessary.  We may have to repeat the process many, many times, but patience brings the result we want.  God will strengthen us and take away our fears if we remember to remember.  ~~ I will keep God in mind today.  I will concentrate on remembering.

Whew!  Yeah.  As soon as I read these words, my heart remembered and knew their truth.  I felt the blessing of them immediately.  So I did this.  I clung to that message as to a lifeline.  The first day that I went back to this class, I concentrated on remembering that just thinking of God would release a new energy into the situation.  When I went into the school, I inwardly spoke God’s name.  In the classroom, during a lull, I tried to turn on my spiritual awareness, to sense God’s presence — and of course the presence was there, as it always is, everywhere. And here’s what God showed me when I tuned in to God’s perspective: the stress, the distrust, the shields, the fear, the worry, the isolation that these students carried.  I felt the atmosphere as one of tension, of deep, deep guardedness. I knew that I could never know what types of circumstances and home lives they had experienced.  And all I could feel toward them was compassion.

And toward the teacher, I simply felt friendliness, a new openness that surprised me, that came to me without my trying.  If there had previously been a power struggle, my end of it dissolved.  I felt no hesitation about going up to her at every opportunity and asking her for suggestions, or what she did in her own classes.  I couldn’t make her like me, but I could send the message that I liked her, respected her, and wanted to work together.  After this, the vibe definitely shifted.

Since then, I have relied on God to get me through each class. I’ve been giving it everything I’ve got in terms of teaching ideas — there’s pretty much nothing I won’t try at this point to make the class worthwhile for the students.  But at the same time, I’ve surrendered the outcome and my own will and effort to the power of God — and I’ve needed to, because finding the courage to face it continues to be a daily challenge.

Yesterday, I was still having a tough time.  As I walked into the school, I imagined God walking with me, throwing an arm around my shoulder, encouraging me.  I got through the class; the activity I’d come up with was semi-successful (which is really saying a lot, compared to past experiences!).  And as I left the class and headed out of the building, I found myself still connecting to that feeling that God was right there with me.

God as I meet God through recovery literature is a lot like God as I meet God in the Baptist church: Real. Personal. Walking beside me. Speaking in direct and unmistakeable words, right into my heart. The Infinite One who still has both the time and desire to talk to me, the lowly straggler. I guess that must be part of the Infinity. This is the expression of God that I can have a conversation with, the one that will give me guidance, straight up.

So I asked:

Am I doing all right?

God answered:

You are doing fine, kiddo. That feeling of security and warmth that lets me know when I’m hearing Spirit’s word welled up under my rib cage.

I asked: Am I doing what you want me to be doing?

The answer came instantly: Honey, I don’t want you to have to be working so hard.

I felt the beginnings of tears as I climbed the long hallway ramp, heading out of the building.  My current seven-days-a-week teaching schedule has been taking a toll, and I’ve been feeling depleted of emotional energy.

I asked: What can I do to change this? I’ve been so stuck in this rut, working so hard and not making a living wage.

God answered, gently but firmly: You need to respect yourself. All the guidance about publishing your work is part of this.

Me: (Silence; reflection.  It’s been an ongoing crisis all spring.  I’ve been doing a daily practice to “remove obstacles” between me and the sustainable and creative work life that I want to manifest.  The practice had led me strongly toward writing.)

God: And when you learn to respect and value yourself and the unique gifts I gave you, I will place you where I want you. Don’t worry about figuring out the “right” job to pursue. I’ll put you there when you have learned this lesson.

As I passed through the door and walked to my car, I noticed the warming, fresh-smelling spring air.  I reached up to touch a branch of one of the gorgeous, thick-trunked pine trees that ring the school grounds. God will place me where God wants me, eh?  I felt a smile begin in my heart and extend across my whole body.

I know I don’t respect and value myself as God does, or as God wants me to.  And sometimes I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to.  But I’ve grown in this area, certainly, over the past many years.  It’s one of my life lessons.  In my family, it’s transgenerational.  Part of the purpose of my life is to heal this wound of self-unlove that has stretched so deep and wide.  This conversation with God made me feel like I had the inner permission to take another step, or more, into self-value, which would really be a step of greater closeness to God.

pinecone

Guns and Paradigms

It’s Friday afternoon.  I’m driving home from the school where I teach (way on the other side of Denver from where I live), moving slowly, because everyone’s doing what I’m doing at the exact same time.  It’s been a long week and my brain is fried.  The news is playing on the car radio, senators are debating gun laws, but it’s really more of a background noise for my drifting thoughts.   At this point, in this mental state,  I wonder if it is really about more gun control versus less gun control, or about our collective, cultural willingness or unwillingness to find new, nonviolent, empowering, peace-promoting, effective responses to whatever it is that makes humans want to shoot or otherwise harm other humans on ANY scale, from personal assault to mass murder to war.  Maybe this whole debate is a distraction that keeps our national attention away from other, deeper, more entrenched problems.  Eh?????

One one point, at least, both sides are the same: they both envision a world where guns are necessary for wielding against other people, or against other beings.  One side wants to reserve the right to use guns to prevent other people from using them against people (themselves or others).  The other side wants to reserve the right to use guns against the people on the first side, if it should ever come to that.  And yes, there are many sub-arguments on either side.  I honestly see where both sides are coming from, and I see both as having valid concerns within the framework of the current conversation.  But they are both based on a worldview in which it is necessary to have guns and to have the right to use them against other people in certain specific circumstances.  And I do not believe that that worldview is either necessary or predetermined.  I do believe that as a group, the direction we humans need to go in is beyond the debate about whether and how to regulate firearms and who can use them and how and when, and what happens to us when we break those rules.

Earlier, on the way TO said job on the other side of the city, I heard this archeologist talking on Science Friday about the work of figuring out what exactly made the dinosaurs go extinct, and he made a comment to this effect: that though we can’t do something now, or even imagine how we would do it, that’s no reason to assume we won’t be able to do it in the future, possibly even the near future.  He noted that even scientists tend to underestimate the magnitude of advances we’ll make, and how quickly we’ll make them.  That’s in the field of research technology, of course, but I think the same is true of any area of human learning, any field in which we increase in understanding over time.  We don’t know what we’re going to be able to do, we are unable to picture what it would be like to do a thing, and then suddenly someone experiences a paradigm shift, and is able to see it, able to conceive it, able to actually do the thing that did not even have a name before.  This was the first thing we learned about in the H.C. at IUP: Thomas Kuhn and the idea of the paradigm shift, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.  Back then my professor took me out for pizza because he thought it was so nutty of me to apply that theory to the spread of Christianity in my final paper.  Since that time, though, I’ve seen repeatedly how true it is of any area of human development or spiritual evolution.  To make dramatic shifts in consciousness, in understanding, to let go of problems and let them be transformed, we need to look for, cultivate, and encourage the conditions under which paradigm shifts are likely to occur.  Such shifts are possible when, and only when, we believe they are.  Although we cannot see the next step on our path, or even that there is a path, and not a gaping void, we can’t (and we don’t) let that stop us from walking forward.

So how is this related to gun laws?  The debate will play itself out how it will.  If there really are specific regulations or liberties that will lead to fewer acts of violence being committed, then I hope those are the ones that get passed.  From what I have read (like this piece), it seems like the most powerful players in this game are the gun manufacturers, and they aren’t interested in liberty OR saving lives — just money.  So I’m just saying.  The whole debate is taking place on the surface of the issue.  I’d love to see the profit factor be acknowledged regularly in the public debate for the huge force that it really is.  And at the same time as we (at least those who are participating in this conversation in good faith) are collectively looking for the best, most responsible ways to manage the use and sale of guns on a practical, this-moment basis,  I would ask Americans to also do whatever they can to open their minds to the idea that the real issue might be something else, and that by meeting and addressing and solving this real issue — the real causes of violence, of fear, rage, the urge to hurt others or ourselves — we will solve so much more than just “the gun debate.”  We need to look for solutions to the suffering that exists, and take responsibility for our roles in causing it.  It will necessarily involve advancing in our understanding of how connected we all are, and how if we harm any being, we are truly and literally harming ourselves.  That goes for you, too, corporations.  ESPECIALLY for you.

Ok, that’s all I’m going to say on the topic.  May peace be with us on Earth.

Crying Allergy

Here’s something strange — or at least it strikes me as strange, though it may be perfectly normal. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed more of a physical sensitivity to crying. It feels almost like an allergy — in fact it’s almost exactly like what my allergic friends say happens to them when they eat an avocado, or a pine nut, or whatever it may be. I notice that I can’t cry as hard as I used to without feeling the consequences. Now ok, I can understand things like playing hockey taking more of a toll on one’s body as one gets past one’s twenties, but crying? Come on!

It’s true, though. The other day I was having a cry. It was some combination of hormones and life, and I was just suddenly tired of holding it in. But as I was crying, I actually stopped to consider whether I really wanted to do that or not, knowing that I could expect something like a hangover afterward. It gives me pause, anymore. These days if I cry for more than a minute, I have a headache afterwards, sometimes even the next day. My eyes get crazy puffy and that lasts, too. My head feels like a bunch of heat built up inside that can’t be released — it can only very gradually cool down. An ice pack feels very good at these times.

Maybe this is something other people are used to experiencing when they cry, but I’ve only just started feeling it. Maybe this is making me sound like a crazy person who cries uncontrollably. Is it nature’s way of saying, “Grow up, for crying out loud!”? I do cry when I’m upset, and I just think if that as part of my personality, part of being an emotional and dramatic Cancer-Leo, but now I wonder if it’s just weird.

On this particular occasion I decided to just go with it. For better or for worse. I thought it was ultimately for the good, even though I had very puffy eyes for the next two days. It just felt right to release my emotion through tears in that moment. Did I cry for too long? Why would I ask myself that? I cried until I felt done, and ready to move on, and lighter and more hopeful than I had before.

I guess now when I cry, because I can either feel it or literally see on my face for so long afterward, I really have to be aware that it is my choice to cry. Or maybe it’s the choice to continue to cry when tears arise spontaneously that I am becoming more aware of. I can’t really believe that I am anyone’s victim; I can’t help but remember that I am choosing my feelings. Still, I don’t think these feelings I am choosing are necessarily bad, even though I feel them as pain. I may not know why I choose them, but I accept the responsibility, and I try to value my sad emotions as much as my happy ones. I believe they are both important parts of life.

Hazrat Inayat Khan taught that “The heart is not living until it has experienced pain,” according to the Bowl of Saki the other day. It’s always seemed to me that one of the purposes of pain is that through it, one may learn empathy. I don’t think that’s its only purpose or that there is anything that can be learned only through pain, and I can imagine a future in which we’ve collectively evolved beyond the need for that particular teacher. For me, though, for now — call me old fashioned — I’m still learning from my pain, my occasional sadness, and the difficult feelings still lodged in my heart that have been there, underground, for years. Sometimes those difficult feelings just heal up and leave one day. Maybe they all will eventually. They’re part of the family, though, for now, and so I do my best to accept ’em. And help them pack their things when they’re ready to move on.

2012, 2013

I find it peculiar that in all the media references to the Mayan calendar business re: 12/21/12, the only aspect of the hype that any reporter or mainstream commentator (at least that I heard, which to be honest is not a very broad sample) mentioned was the supposed end of the world. I know there were folks out there who did interpret this 2012 stuff as an apocalypse prophecy, and also those who tried to scam the former group into buying doomsday condos in the remote Caucasus mountains or whatever it was. But this seemed like a fringe element to me. Far fewer people seemed to REALLY expect huge disasters than, say, at the time of the whole Y2K thing. That’s just my observation.

In my actual life, I know a lot of people who were and remain strongly invested in the concept of 2012, not as the end of the world, but as the end of an era. Or, as they might put it better, the beginning of something new. Most people I know who took the idea of something happening on 12/21/12 (and/or 12/12/12) seriously thought it would be something like an infusion of new energies into our spiritual bodies or the planet, or an evolutionary advance in the spiritual plane for some or all beings on Earth. Some also thought of it as a dramatic shift in the values or priorities of our culture(s). This shift might be a smooth and easy experience of raised energy leading to better choices, or civilizations might be forced to change their ways through difficult trials and suffering brought by the many errors of our previous ways. So in that sense some would say there could be some events that might actually seem “apocalyptic,” but they are really opportunities for humanity to realize the damage it’s doing. Imagine if the media actually reported on and discussed that! What a different tone that would be, and what possibilities for national self-examination that would bring!

Not that I have ever witnessed, at least, the US observing that the difficulties or tragedies it’s experiencing are the direct results of harm it’s done in the world and been moved to become different or better. That’s one reason I’m skeptical about all of these predictions. And I’m also skeptical of predictions that are very tied to specific dates. (Calendars change all the time. We’ve only had our since 1582. And not everyone in the world follows the same calendar.) And anything that gives an extremely specific description of something metaphysical, like the exact minutes during which the cosmic energies will be pouring in, or the precise language with which to address angels — it just feels uncompelling to me, like someone trying to insist their style is the only true aesthetic that everyone should follow. Faced with claims like these, I become a militant agnostic: you know, “I don’t know, and you don’t either.”

Still, I like the idea that maybe we have collectively reached a spiritual growth spurt, or that we are now receiving an extra potent dose of support from the Universe, or that enough humans have turned away from the dominant greed-based worldview to effect a change in outcomes. I would like to see the world at that place, and I also welcome the nudge toward personal growth and change for the better. In my more positive agnostic moments I say something more like, “I don’t know what it is, but it’s something.”

For myself, what I noticed on 12/21/12 was an immediate resurgence of personal issues (or as some would say, character defects) that I thought I had more or less licked!  First thing that morning, I dealt with an emotional meltdown, then had a few more in the next week.  I there are still rooms in my house that need to be cleaned out (which shouldn’t come as a surprise!).  I would think the message from the Universe will be different for everybody, but for me I get the sense that Spirit is letting me know what are the most pressing issues for me to work on, the biggest things currently separating me from a peaceful and harmonious existence.  I’ll be honest, this does not sound like a picnic to me — in fact it stirs a lot of fears about living without the old familiar (though harmful) coping mechanisms — but I feel willing to go there … hopefully without too much kicking and screaming.

Some things to let go of (again … and again):

  • Attachment
  • Jealousy
  • Control
  • Selfishness
  • Complaining

Some things to cultivate:

  • Generosity
  • Acceptance
  • Confidence
  • Appreciation
  • Lightheartedness
  • Friendship
  • Service

In 2013, I ask for guidance about how best to serve and help the world.  I want my life to add positive, tangible good to the balance of existence on this planet.  It is my intention to bring my life into greater alignment with the Highest Good.

Happy New Year everybody!  Love and blessings to you all!

Allahu Akbar

Yesterday began the first snowstorm of the year (that I’ve been in town for) here in the mountains.  We knew it was coming – we knew when it started coming down, around four p.m., where we live, even though down in the city it was still just gray and rainy.  My car, though functional (and cute), is not the most winter-adept.  The “smart” thing to do, I thought, would probably have been to hurry home right after I was done teaching, while the sun was still out – while, hopefully, it was still just light flurries that weren’t piling up as mounds of slush or freezing into sheets of ice.  But it was also the last day of my guitar 1-A class and our music-school recital — a big deal for me in terms of personal accomplishment and heart-goal follow-through, though nothing any musician would be impressed by.  I thought about skipping it for about two seconds but knew I would be really sad if I did – so that meant facing worse weather on the mountain roads going home.  Oh well.  I am a little squeamish still, since my ice accident last winter when I totaled my beloved red pickup truck by crashing it into a tree.  But I’m not a person who ultimately says no to things just because they’re scary.  (Or, for that matter, just because they’re stupid.)

I was with my partner, who, in his extreme sweetness, actually came to my recital.  Afterwards, we discussed which route we were going to take home.  We were in separate cars, so we decided to caravan – I would follow him so that his ridiculously bright headlights wouldn’t blind me (but WOULD help me to see where I was going, as MY lights are ridiculously DIM).  We decided to take the winding canyon road instead of the main freeway.  He felt it would be easier because it is less steep.  Personally, I find that road quite scary to drive on in the snow – with all its twists and turns and cliffs with no guard-rails – it is hard for me to keep from imagining my light little car sliding off the road and going down, down, down.  I imagine that there are patches of black ice everywhere, that no matter how cautiously I drive, Nature can still screw me if that is what is meant to be.  So I started out this drive biting my nails, or I would have if I were a nail-biter.  Mentally, that’s what I was doing.  Biting my mental nails.

I said a little prayer asking the angels to assist me in getting home safely.  Then I took some deep breaths.  And I noticed my breathing becoming more rhythmic.  I have been reading Hazrat Inayat Khan’s writings about the rhythmic breath.  He says the breath is not just air moving in and out, but a current that flows from the (supposedly) “external” world, through our bodies, and down into our deepest levels of being – it’s a mystical current – not made of air, but a stream of energy.  And in touching our souls before flowing out of the body again, it actually flows through the Divine Source, which is what our souls are always in contact with, and emanating from.  I will be honest – I do not really grasp this concept.  I only even sort of get the idea of what he is talking about.  But so many messages have brought the rhythm and depth of breath to my attention lately that I am convinced it’s something I need to be paying attention to.  And sometimes I find that resting my attention to something that I want to understand, without probing or puzzling over it, but asking it to unfold its meanings – invites little bubbles of sudden comprehension to rise up silently and unexpectedly from those soul depths, that connection to Source, to which I was just referring.

So one practice is to place a mantra or wazifa (in Sufi terms) on the breath, which both helps to draw one’s mindful attention to the breathing itself, and also helps to cultivate or draw out the qualities expressed by that wazifa.  And the phrase that came into my mind was Allahu Akbar.  Usually translated as “God is Great” (or God is the Greatest), this saying has also been said to refer to God as the quality of strength (and, I have heard some say, specifically the incredible strength that is peace).  Not one I usually use, but I thought, Okay, this is what came to me.  I began inwardly chanting Allahu Akbar on every inbreath and outbreath – not saying the words aloud but saying them in my mind, speaking them to my inner self.  And I did immediately notice myself becoming much calmer.  My posture relaxed and straightened – no longer hunching tensely over the steering wheel, now I sat up with chest expanded, shoulders back, eyes clear and focused on the taillights ahead of me.  Though I did encounter deep piles of slush and whited-out surfaces, I felt if I just held steady and followed those red taillights, I would be just fine.  It was the regal quality of Jupiter flowing through me as I thought these words over and over, continuing to bring my attention back to the phrase when it wandered (to things like – the hundred-foot drop-off to my right).  I released myself to the strength of God to carry me home.  I felt the column of gold light I’ve been cultivating in meditation enter through the crown of my head, flow down through my spine and firmly anchor me to the earth even as I moved along the road.  I allowed myself to trust in the strength of the Divine and let myself be carried in arms of ultimate strength.

The drive took something like forty minutes, and after a while I began to struggle to keep my focus on the wazifa.  My mind wanted to daydream, especially as it began to feel more relaxed and confident.  I did not think that would be a good idea.  I tried to keep returning to the phrase; I tried changing where I placed it on the breath.  I noticed my breathing was not as deep and peaceful as it had been at first.  It was hard for me to maintain that sweet, surrendered state for the whole drive.  Like in sitting meditation – sometimes it can be hard work to just direct the attention to one word, one concept, one stimulus, and keep herding it away from distraction, which, in this case, I thought would be detrimental to my safety.  I felt as though I had been holding on to an invisible cord that was pulling me up the mountain more gently, lovingly, and securely than I could do for myself.  I did not want to break that cord by breaking my concentration on the Divine strength that held the other end.

But as I finally turned off the canyon highway onto the county road to my place (the road on which my previous accident had occurred), and as I watched the heavy snowflakes swirling wildly through the sky in front of me, as I saw the snow already piled on the branches of pine trees, and as I felt the drafts of cold wind though the leaky places in my car, one of those bubbles came up from below.  Allahu Akbar – the Greatness of God – wasn’t the feeling of confidence and support that I had clung to all during my drive up the mountain.  Or it was, but that was only a tiny part of it.  The Strength of God was visible all around me in the snowstorm itself!  How powerful it was – making people afraid, and altering all the terrain; but its mightiness was part of the great wheel that moves the earth through its right cycles and seasons, and all of us with it.  It came to me that relying on the Divine to support me through frightening natural events, like holding my grandfather’s hand, was one thing, but a whole other way of looking at Allahu Akbar is this: the Divine Quality of Strength is inherent in all things, because all things are emanations of the Divine.  If I look honestly and without fear at the snowstorm, I can see Divine Strength evidenced there in a form that is awe-inspiring and beautiful.  I can connect with that essence of strength as I see it in the storm.

I suddenly recognize that I am actually part of that snowstorm.  It is happening all around me and I am not just in the midst of it but part of it – like I am part of my environment, not just being impacted by it.  The quality of Divine Strength is in me just as it is in the storm – we are not separate.  Why should I be afraid?  The storm and I are part of the same being.

The moment of clarity quickly faded after I got home safely and was reabsorbed into the general distractions of life.  But I hope I will remember in the future to look at those things around me which frighten me, which I perceive as outside of me, threatening me – and remember that we are one in essence, and there is no need to not be at peace.

Enjoy your day, whether it is snowy or sunny!

 

The view from my window

Pink Aura

Yesterday I went to a day spa to use the gift certificate I got for my birthday from my partner’s wonderful sister (I guess I can’t say sister-in-law, even though that’s how I think of her, because “in-law” is exactly the one way we AREN’T related!) two months ago.  And man was I ready for it — I work in a spa so I see the fancy ladies come in for their multiple services and float out the door five hours later looking absolutely blissed out.  A month into the semester I was ready to be blissed out too.

But sometimes when I do things like that, i.e., go to the spa by myself, I DON’T leave floating on a cloud; instead I feel like the cloud is inside my head.  And it is: my negative thoughts, my undeserving thoughts, my recurrent thought that I am doing everything (even relaxing) all wrong.  I had really been looking forward to this day and I really didn’t want to sink myself with self-criticism.  So while I sat in the waiting room I tried to think of a mantra for the day — something I could direct my mind to whenever it started to go off on an unhelpful track; something my brain could hold onto like the hand can hold a pebble, to ground it when it starts to worry.   The mantra I chose was simply “I love you,” repeated on the in breath and the out breath both.  Later, when I was, indeed, so relaxed that my posture resembled that of a cooked noodle, this writing came out:

I love you I love you I love you I say — to myself, I love you as I breathe in, drawing this truth up from the ground beneath the floor beneath my slippers beneath my feet — finding the love in the energy that radiates from the earth — the Earth is the “I,” the mother Gaia.  I love you I breathe out, filling the bubble of my aura with this phrase — now I am the “I” and the “you” is me too.  I just want to fill my own field with the pink glow of loving but I know that as it fills with light it will shine those waves out and have an influence on the air, the crowd, the trees, and the earth all around me — so really I am breathing out “I love you” to the whole world.

Love!

Teachers and Teaching

I have been thinking about the director of my massage school, Tom, because I just learned that he and his wife had a baby.  That might have been what put me in the frame of mind to give my chakras a good cleaning, using the Pranic Healing techniques I learned from him.  Ah, that felt great – like a spa treatment for my energy system! It perked me right up.

That got me feeling gratitude toward Tom for his teaching, and for the practices he passed on to me, along with hundreds of other Healing Arts Center students.  Now he is someone who has a big impact – and a great prosperity role model, too, come to think of it.  Then I thought about how I had responded to him on occasion – reactive and defensive when I thought he was oversimplifying a complex issue.  When I had him for a teacher, his method definitely rubbed me the wrong way sometimes.  I thought it was “masculinist,” as opposed to feminist, and the philosophy he espoused – about students becoming empty vessels so that the teacher could pour into them the water of knowledge – was, I thought, exactly what progressive pedagogy had criticized decades before.  To borrow an expression, it really ground my gears. 

In retrospect, I question these responses of mine – especially as I explore my relationship to teachers and teaching, and the meanings of my tendency toward defensiveness in general.  I begin to suspect (uncomfortably) that the “problem” has more to do with my emotional investment in believing I am “right” about certain things, and consequent identity attachment to external objects, which are by their nature insecure and unstable, than with any particular teacher’s method of teaching.  Oops.  Well, as I become aware of these stuck places in myself, these places where my attachments keep me from seeing a bigger truth, I am hopefully able to let them go, one by one.

I finally came to question even my long-held belief that the “pouring water into vessels” approach was an oppressive one.  It is usually associated, in my mind, with the use of institutions by the state to transmit the ideology of the state to all citizens, specifically through the educational system.  And while I still believe this to be a common (mal)practice, from an academic and political point of view, I have also arrived at a new location in my spiritual journey, one at which I find it possible that there might be something I want to learn about so badly that I want it to fill me, indeed, that I want to empty myself so that it can fill me more completely; and I know that it is my pre-existing beliefs that prevent me from grasping and fully understanding a Truth that is much higher and deeper than the current spectrum of my thought.

Well, may we all live and learn!

Peace to everyone,

heartland soul