Who or What

Who or what is this thing called God?
God is the one who directs my studies,
who nods and smiles approvingly
and pats me on the back and says
Job well done
while another of God’s countless hands
is pulling the rug out from under my feet.
And as I go down,
hitting my head on every sharp corner,
and somehow finding with my heart,
exposed and open in my moment of accomplishment,
the one long slender thorn, hard as steel,
growing up from below,
and managing, as though destined, to run myself through,
I look up, bleeding, and see God
smiling and nodding, and saying
with infinite kindness,
Very well done.

More art from the Althea Center for Engaged Spirituality.

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