Teachers

Inspired by many of your blogs that I read and learn from, or just things you’ve said to me that awaken some memory of an innate knowledge. Isn’t that what all the best teachers do; remind you of what you already know?

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Are you hiding from me?

How do I know you even exist?

Because I catch glimpses…

… one day,  a robe of deepest blue, reminding me of

the infinity of the star strewn night sky,

whipped away behind a pillar of the inner temple, so fast, but I know

what I saw, and anyway there’s an unworldly scent of great beauty left behind.

 

Another day, another sign, this way to sublime.

My choice whether to follow, or bury head in hands and concern myself

with the deep question of ‘what colour is sadness’.

 

Oh to see your face.

 

Why should there ever be rules?

Why should I have to depend on others to say,

‘Yes, there is an ocean of great beauty’

‘How do you know?’

‘Because someone told me that someone told them that someone else was told that, and they wrote it down and someone else read it, but they lost the book so they wrote down what they remembered, and that’s how we know! It is written!’

But that just says, ‘there is an ocean’. Where’s the map of how to get there?

 

If someone tells me they know the answer to the most important question of my life, that there is an ocean of being beyond the mind which is the destiny of every living thing, shouldn’t my first question be,

‘Have you been there?’

and if the answer is ‘No’, then so sorry, enjoy your day, you are of no use to me as a teacher.

And if the answer is ‘Yes’, then

‘please show me the map’.

 

And if they can’t, maybe they were just one of those ‘teachers’ who wants followers. The blind leading the blind! (And to those who would be teachers, who say,  ‘Your destiny lies in the world that comes after death’, I would simply ask, ‘Has any returned from that world to say, “you’re right”, or even better ha ha, come back to say “you’re wrong, I want my wasted years back you not-teacher”’.)

But if they can show me that map, then what a teacher! They start to unfold it, ‘yes’ you exclaim, ‘that looks familiar now I see it’.

A path, with signposts, pitfalls, waymarkers, then on the last page, one of those rising sun symbols and ‘dah dah…your destiny!’

Even instructions on how to place the feet, one in front of another, for when I am unsure of how to walk.

 

What a teacher. A modicum of intellectual knowledge (though some great teachers could teach in silence, there are few of us who have the patience to hear the lesson). I came out of the womb asking questions! even though that which I search for is beyond thought, thought is a tool I’ve been given to help me read and decipher the map. And to ask questions.

The thinking mind is a tool. My teachers have said ‘use it’.

The body is a tool, a precision instrument. My teachers have said ‘use it’.

 

Ask the teacher.

‘Have you seen that ocean? Please show me the way.’

And then spend life treading that path, don’t even wonder how long it takes.

 

Some want to put on blinkers.

Assume the path as some kind of burden.

Looking neither right nor left, not speaking

except in a heavy voice that expresses the burden they carry.

 

Some people want to enjoy the path, every step.

I’m one of those hedonistic seekers.

Delight in smells of freshly rained earth, irridescent flash of dragonfly wings, birdsong.

Stay at an Inn for the night and enjoy whatever pleasures are freely offered.

But never forget the path!

I did.

 

That’s the slight problem with hedonism for me, I forget.

Forget that the beauty I’m immersed in is a reflection of a greater beauty.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

Enjoy that beauty, but remember the source behind the reflection.

That’s why serious hedonism takes a lot of practice!

 

I wish the same as I did when we were wild and idealistic students,

‘Let every moment be amazing’.

You tell me, ‘oh Tony, life’s just not like that’

to which I reply, ‘just cos yours isn’t, dont try clip my wings.’

 

But unless you’re good at being a ‘spiritual hedonist’  it’s easy to forget.

Years went by in the Inn, thinking ‘tomorrow, I’ll set out again’.

 

Perhaps it was catching up on what I thought I’d missed.

When I was in my early twenties, height of virile maleness,

I chose an ashram life as a sannyasi, brahmacharya, celibate,

focussed only on pushing pushing pushing the boundaries

of what I could see inside myself. And for sure there were wonders.

 

Anyway, one evening, people staying the night at the Inn, talking

of their adventures on the path. ‘Take me with you tomorrow’

I blurt out, remembering in a flash, the smell of the open air,

the feeling of pure aliveness.

 

But on the path we walk alone. I don’t say that for poetry’s sake

cos it sounds romantic or somethin’, how else could it be?

 

That’s why, the great teachers are those

who show me how to look within myself.

And so, to become aware that the greatest teacher is in fact,

there, within myself.

‘The kingdom of heaven is within you’ as all the avatars have said.

in these words or that, but always the same message.

 

And if that inner teacher speaks in words, ideas, concepts

then it’s not the teacher I’m looking for. That’s called ‘my mind’!

You listen to those who speak in tongues,

or tell of the great thoughts of God, if you wish.

Not my bag, I just giggle and wander off.

 

But each to their own eh?

I suspect that all paths go to the same ocean, anyway,

but I’m not a teacher, how would I know.

 

My inner teacher doesn’t speak. It waits for me to finally stop chattering,

settle down like a wayward student that I am,

rein in the mind, focus, one pointed, breathe, be.

 

Then If I’m lucky (for the grace of the teacher

reflects the grace of the very ocean I look for)

It teaches a wisdom beyond thought.

 

To hold that wisdom, carry it into my crazy everyday life

is my great dream, one day surely to become reality.

But just even to have the chance to have seen that,

even once, would be enough to put wings on one’s feet.

 

‘Come again’, the inner teacher says. ‘I’m always in’.

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