One of the challenges of being a one eyed king in the kingdom of the blind is that the ego starts to believe all of it’s own hype. For a lot of the time I try my best to be invisible whilst I’m working because it is very easy, as a human being, to start to think that I matter more than the messages and work that I do. It’s also easy to go too much the other way and stop myself from being noticed because the ego is busy working on self-sabotage. Working with abilities that are often portrayed as ‘woo woo’, ‘weird’ or fakery you have to build up a resilience to taking yourself much too seriuosly.
Today I had a long conversation about why I make myself available to teach people about mediumship & spirituality. I have to say that the idea of being a teacher of anything originally brought up a lot of resistance in me. I couldn’t accept that I had enough knowledge to teach anything to anyone. My ego played into my lack of confidence & self esteem bringing up lots of times when I had failed to get the info across to someone I was supposed to be teaching. My Guides kept telling me that I could help people learn about their own abilities but I kept dragging my heels about launching my own workshops & classes.
I kept going to other people’s workshops & classes, read as many books as I could afford to buy and listened to lots of mediums and psychics talk about developing their abilities. However I didn’t feel like all this research was helping me shift the resistance. Here is where the Guides got clever. They drifted a book across my path for me to read. Only the introduction though! I didn’t actually purchase the book and read it until a considerable time later. The book was Osho’s ‘The Chakra Book: Energy and Healing Power of the Subtle Body’. I opened the introduction and read
Is knowledge about esoteric subjects such as chakras, collective unconsciousness, energy fields, really helpful along the way or not? Or will whatever is needed come to me through experience, in it’s own time?
Anything that is needed will come of it’s own accord, in it’s own time. All this so-called esoteric knowledge about chakras, energy fields, kundalini, astral bodies, is dangerous as knowledge. As an experience, it is a totally different thing. Don’t acquire it as knowledge. If it is needed for your spiritual growth, it will come to you in it’s right time, and then it will be an experience.
Reading that question and answer I realised that what I did have a lot of was experiences relating to my spiritual journey and how I developed my mediumship. I also had a lot of experience of counselling vulnerable people, building trust and applying an ethical framework to what I did. At last I understood that my teaching was all about being able to explain the experiences people were having by reference to the questions my journey had posed for me. I could support them whilst they processed the knowledge they had gained about themselves and the world through their experiences. And I could offer a different point of view, a possible explanation or a framework within which they might make some more sense of their experience.
I also had a lot of experience about the ego work involved in undertaking a spiritual journey into awareness. My life has been full of ego traps – too much or too little of all sorts of things and the wobbly way I had managed to find a balance. When you stand up and say you are a teacher, or a medium for that matter, there is immediately an ethical question. Do you think that you have all the answers, or the only way to do something, or that there is knowledge that only you should have? It’s tempting to put or allow yourself to be put on a shelf as if on display like a trophy. It’s tempting to be moved to a higher and still higher shelf. Each time you are moved it’s as if you are being ‘polished’ – acknowledged as valuable – by other people’s regard. At some point people start to take what you say as the only truth there is. They might not wish to go out and have the experiences themselves to bring about their own learning. Since you have already had the experiences what better than to follow your ‘truth’.
My grandmother always used to say ‘Pride goes before a fall’. It took me many painful experiences to realise the inner truth of that saying. Being on a higher & higher shelf you can eventually be placed on a pedestal. Every word you say is analysed, discussed and dissected. When your ‘wisdom’ fails to answer the problems that someone else is experiencing you can find that you are being knocked or pulled off that pedestal. Your ego has led you to believe in your own power and influence. You have forgotten that you are in that high position only because others have placed you there. The route into being a ‘reluctant’ teacher is humility. A desire to be as clear as possible and the patience of a saint are useful too (I’m still working on the patience challenge). You must want the best for your students even if they can’t yet see what is the best for them.
I feel it’s time to redraw our definition of teaching. Sharing experiences to support someone else who is having experiences so they can grow as a person is what it’s really about. Really good teachers look forward to the day when their student says ‘I can do it for myself’. They can allow the student to challenge the master. They encourage the student to walk away to find new experiences and opportunities for growth. Then a good teacher will sit back, smile and wait for the student to return. Think about the teacher who inspired you the most. Were they like that?
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