Forever A Student
I have never been very good at faking anything, least of all my emotional state. Sometimes this has been a blessing in my life, but most often than not, it has been a curse. And for the past few months it has been the reason I have not written a word onto paper.
You are about to read now the depth of my sharing, me opening up my inner world to you to clarify any misconception that we are somehow different. That for some odd reason I would not experience the full potential of my humanness in the same way you do, that I am somehow exempt from the challenges that I guide others to overcome.
I teach others that they are not the thoughts, emotions or desires that are experienced on a momentary basis; I say to my students you are beyond the fluctuating experience of your mind, in fact, you are not your mind; release the need to identify with the ego and find the place of bliss in the nature of your true identity…
1.2: yogaś chitta vṛitti nirodhaḥ.
Yoga is the restraint of objectification by the mind.
1.3: tadā draṣṭuḥ svarūpe ‘vasthānaṁ
Then the impartial witness abides in its own nature.
They will often be staring back at me, wide-eyed and openhearted, like I have just shared the secret of all of their misunderstanding about who they are. As I continue to speak I typically outline the corresponding Yoga Sutra's that support me in the various statements that I can preach endlessly about….
1.15: dṛṣṭa ‘nuśavika viṣaya nitṛṣṇasya vaśīkāra saṁjñā vairāgyaṁ
When the mind loses all desire for objects seen or heard about, it acquires a state of utter desirelessness which is called dispassion.
1.16: tat paraṁ puruṣakhyaāter guṇa vaitṛṣṇuyaṃ
Knowing the innermost Self brings supreme non-attachment.
And I obviously do this all of the time right?
You know that saying: “Teach what you need to learn yourself”
Well now my students know why I can talk so much; clearly I am speaking to myself.
"Forever a Student First"
On my most recent Teacher Training Course, a student came to me and shared that the previous night, after a day off that we spent together, she began to think about me as a teacher. She honestly shared that for a moment, she realized that perhaps I might have feelings too, like normal people.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to respond, but I did with laughter and of course immediate reflection. She continued to share “I mean, don’t worry, you’re still pretty high up on the pedestal, but you know, it’s okay for you to some feelings”.
She was and is amazing. But what she didn’t realize was that in an odd way she was reflecting back to me the very thing I was in the midst of learning. The fact that I did have feelings, that I wasn’t super human, without flaw, or need for support, love and acceptance; just the same as everyone else. My expectations of myself as a teacher had somehow grown so rapidly that anything less than the perfect model and example of a leader had somehow become synonymous with failure.
I had become my own worst enemy, completely detached from my own humanness. Obsessed with an unattainable idea of perfection that resulted in the projection of equally unattainable standards of perfection of others.
In that moment I was changed. My ego had been clearly reflected back to me and I learned, with humility that true connection comes from complete vulnerability. I learned that imperfection was a reflection of truth and therefor perfect in authenticity. I got better at being human, began allowing my truth to shine through, and as a result, became better at guiding others, remembering that I am always the student first.