Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The teacher

"A teacher, out of compassion and love, seeing that somebody is suffering, gives a path. But each individual has to walk on the path. There is no magical miracle with the teacher. Totally out of the question. He only shows the path. That is the only role of the teacher, nothing else. "

- S. N. Goenka

My meditation teacher passed away a few months ago, and one of the quotes that surfaced in a website announcing his passing was the quote above. When I read it, I could relate to it not just as a student, but as a teacher of little children as well.

Sometimes I don't want to let a child make a mistake. Sometimes I want to sit right next to them after I present something, to help them get it all right on the first try. Sometimes I give them a choice that is not really a choice, it is a masked strong suggestion, or even a costumed threat.  Sometimes I want to choose for them, because it's so much easier."I know what's good for you", I think. Sometimes I want to act for them, and not see them say hurtful words or do hurtful things. Sometimes I want to MAKE them do things in a certain way. Sometimes I reject the way that they are being and want to change it, quickly, because I am uncomfortable with it.  I have all these urges, sometimes.  Sometimes I am the pickaxe that spoils the key.

I forget, sometimes, that my job is to show the path and then GET OUT OF THE WAY. That THAT is the only thing I can do. Only to try my best to show the way clearly, lovingly, with care and precision,  with joy and hope. I cannot walk it for them.  Ultimately, each one has to walk the path themselves.


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