For many on a spiritual path this saying implies that a teacher will show up in the flesh, ready to teach us all we need to know. In fact many of us may be so ready that we mistake some other student who think they are teachers, for the teacher we long to have. If we allow this to happen, we can end up following the wrong people, down the wrong path, learning very little. This is what happened in the extreme in The Jonestown Massacre . On November 18, 1978, this tragedy was to some extent done willingly, making the mass suicide all the more disturbing.
A teacher, a true teacher , is not one who gives you anything. A true teacher , makes you aware of what you already have and encourages you to use it. Although I had my teaching degree, I chose instead to use my desire to teach in another fashion. Instead of working in a classroom with children, I worked instead in people's homes with families who were in crisis in one form or another.
You had to walk a fine line in order to be able to reach and communicate on this level when someone was struggling. If I were to walk in assuming I knew it all , and would direct them in how to live, not only would I be insulting them, but I believe any chance I had of helping would be shut down, quickly, with this attitude.
One of the first things I always did with a new family was ask them to list the goals they wished to work towards in my time with them. I did not want it to be my agenda, but rather what they felt they needed the most help with. Often over time, with more trust established between us, the goals changed and truly allowed us to focus on the real issues. Fortunately I was able to normally work for at least a year with my clients.
A true teacher listens to you , learns from you, and uses what you have to encourage and inspire you to reach for your highest growth and goals. They will recognize your brilliance and support you in learning to nurture it. Seeing your dilemma, a true teacher walks through them with you. They will look you dead in the eye, call you out of hiding, and celebrate with you in the joy of standing in your own truth.
A true teacher will not "do it for you". Instead, they will sit with you as you figure out how to do it for yourself. They will not keep score for you. They will support you in moving beyond the need to know the score. If you are really lucky, you will happen upon the greatest teacher of all : the student that brings you the realization that YOU are your own greatest teacher.
Once you have reached this place, realize that you know yourself from the inside out. Honor yourself for all the lessons you have taught yourself.
Copyright © 2012 Barbara MacDonald