Life with No Teacher

Do you crave someone who has all of the answers? A teacher who will step in and tell you what to do? Or, at the very least, someone to offer guidance, to tell you when you have strayed from your path, and when you are back on?

– I have often wished I had such a person. Indeed, sometimes in life we find them, at least for a time. It is wonderful to study under someone who has mastered a skill we are just learning, someone who can offer us guidance, who can support us on our path. In fact, I think it is my frustration with not having more people like this in my life that has led me to be a teacher. I want to share with others what I know. I want to help them along the way. I want to give them that feeling of grounding and direction and safety that my own life has so often lacked. That it fundamentally lacks.

Some of us do not have deep roots. We grew up with an anxious attachment to our caregivers and homes. At our core, life does not feel safe. We do not fit in. The world is not welcoming.

Does that sound awful? Pathological? Like a recipe for a lifetime of anxiety and unhappiness?

– It can be. But it is also much more. Life is yin and yang. Blessing and curse. I was never satisfied. I was never at home. I was never good enough. And so I accomplished amazing things. I traveled the world. I assimilated into cultures radically different from my own. I studied intensely. I questioned everything. The world needs people like me, like you, who are restless and dissatisfied, who push the boundaries and reject the status quo. We are the forces of change. We are the questioning. We are the search for answers. We are the momentum of the pulse.

And we often feel that we have no guides, no teachers, no clear markers along the way to say, “Great job!” “You did it!” “That’s right, and congratulations!” In fact, when we look too hard for these, we tend to lose ourselves and our purpose. We feel empty and lost. You see, we don’t fit in, and that is the point. When we try too hard, we lose ourselves, our message, or both.

I have done my share of that. I have believed in others more than myself. I have mistaken their stagnancy for stability, their lack of questioning for truth. I am so eager to shed the feeling of ungroundedness at the core of my being that I shed my self instead. And then I find nothing but new problems, because now I have someone else’s problems on top of mine. And what’s worse, I’ve cut myself off from the one source of wisdom that could save me.

The moment that I accept that I have no teacher, that this feeling of ungroundedness is not meant to go away, that time and again when I look for the answers outside of myself, I will be disappointed…at that very moment, I find something else. I hear my own, still, small voice. And then I hear the world. I am not alone. There are the bees harvesting pollen from the flowers. There is the sun shining above. There are friends who listen to my words and recognize some of their own feelings in mine. We have community. We have companionship. We have these feelings and adventures and frustrations together.

We also have teaching and inspiration that comes from beyond what we can calculate and plan, touch and see. The guides and teachers may not be here holding signs and handing out report cards in the clear way we wish they would, but they still speak, and we can still listen. It just requires leaving the rational space, the space of 1’s and 0’s, right and wrong, yes and no, the clear-cut answers…Instead, we must settle for poetry and art, music and soaring spirits. We must listen to the resonance of the divine with that still, small voice inside.

Perhaps you have a teacher. Perhaps you do not know the feeling of ungroundedness that I describe. Perhaps you are very good at distracting yourself and fooling yourself. But I see that our world increasingly has no teacher, no guidebook, no sure formula of what to do and how to go about it. The rules that exist deplete us and drive us away from truth. They no longer match the reality of this world-wide-web half constructed by us and half constructed by forces that grew out of us and away from us – profit, greed, dominance, separateness…If you think you are grounded, I think you are not. If you think you have answers, I think you must open your eyes wider. If you think everything is okay, I think you must step out of denial.

Our world is unhinged. Is that terrifying? Does it make you feel as awful as I do on the days that I cannot control my panic and sickness? Or can you step into it with me? Can we be unhinged together? Can we listen, quietly, carefully to that inner voice? Do you know that yours sounds just like mine? Do you know that you are not alone? Do you see that we are connected?

And this chaos, this unimaginable time that we are entering is a gift, you see. What do you want to take out of it? What do you want to create within it?

I want to weave heart and mind back into the fabric of our lives. I want to love and connect deeply. I want to see with wisdom and compassion. I believe you do, too. And I believe we can create such a world – when we step into the terror and remember to reach out our hands. When we face the world we live in, and remember that we live in it together. When we acknowledge our deepest desires and recognize them in the hearts of others.

Be uncomfortable with me. Find comfort with me. Listen to your heart, and you will find that it is mine, that it is ours, that we are connected, that we are students and teachers together, writing the Book of Life.

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