One of my jobs is to teach meditation and wellness. Sometimes I teach in corporations. I taught today at my local public library… for free. I do these sorts of events as part of my practice. The library is one of my favorite places and when they invite me to help them out, I go.
In the course of the day, I chatted with maybe 6 people. One was a security guard who shared a bit of his meditative practice as learned thru 12 step program. He had a strong, basic practice that worked well for him when he was in need of calming. To me that’s success in meditation and told him so. He thought maybe he needed to do more. I gave him an idea or two and encouraged him to do what he felt was best for him.
There was a couple who each had a practice. She prayed in the sauna. He calmed himself in a hot bath. I assured them that I thought their practices were spot on for them. Then asked if they had questions and we talked about ways to use calming techniques when not in sauna or tub.
I chatted with a woman who stopped just to read. Said she never went anywhere without a book. It helped her to not get impatient and angsty. I showed her the book I had borrowed that day for times when no one wanted to talk about meditation. She had a few questions, left the room and stood outside, directing people in to talk with me. (I had an agent?! 😉 )
I spoke with a woman who stopped by to see what books were new. The library had stationed me in the new book section. I showed her the ones I had chosen. We chatted about meditation for a few minutes. I explained why a deep breath really has a real effect on calming your body’s nervous system. She nodded, “Oh, that’s why that works so well.”
Then my last visitor stopped in. This man had studied meditation for many years, maybe longer than I have. He had taken courses that I used to dream about completing. He insisted he wasn’t a teacher as I was. We talked about all sorts of deep and nebulous concepts. We shared personal stories and experiences. We talked a very long time. As we parted I gave him my card. He asked where I’d be speaking. And we thanked each other for the conversation.
Later, as I pondered the day, I realized that if my last visitor went to my web sites, he would see nothing like the things we discussed. I am not a teacher of deep questions and high, personal visions. I am a student of those things. As a teacher, my role is very different. I am teacher of those who are just beginning. My old fear of not being “enough” to be a teacher was standing right beside me. But I just acknowledged her, then watched that old “not enough ness” melt away.
As a teacher, I light the candles of those who don’t know how. I share my light with those who don’t know they have a light, a source within. I get a tiny fire started. I teach a few tools and set them off to explore their world. If they come back for more, I do more but mostly my role is as a bit of a light in the darkness.
I have settled in to the idea that when it comes to personal awareness or realization, I am perhaps the only sort of teacher that I believe in, I want to show someone the beginning of a path, then let them explore the various routes and branches ahead. I want to start a stone rolling down a grassy incline and then stand back and watch the wonder of their journey.
I know that each of us came into this world with unique skills and abilities. Sometimes, we all need an encourager, a teacher, a mentor. But I’ve always been very sensitive to that sort of person who says, “Here’s what you need to do” or models a style that says, “Be like me, then you’ll be on the real path.” I have always wished to encourage people to find their own path, to explore their own visions and strengths. If I do too much, or insist on a rigid path, then they may not find their own special, unique way.
There was a time when speaking with someone who is more “learned” than I, that I felt like I should in some way “bow” to them. But today, I realized that that old nemesis, the fear that I might lack enough degrees and certifications, might well be gone.
I am a beginning teacher in meditation and mindfulness. There are many with higher degrees and more certificates. But I’m not here for those accoutrements. I am here to light candles, to teach basic tools and watch seeds sown to grow and flourish into something that is much more than I might be able to imagine.
So I am grateful, to each of the visitors I had today. To those who were just beginning, to those who needed a new tool to try and to the more learned sage soul who reminded me that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. This was a very good day.