they call me teacher
Recently, I have had a variety of experiences - pleasing as well as painful - that have me questioning what it really means to be a teacher. Struggling with the enormity of this teaching and how I have come to teach it, I have concluded that my challenge as teacher boils down to the contradiction between humility and arrogance.
One of these experiences happened at the end of September, when I attended the wedding of Gravity and John, two of our students who just finished healing 4. (See John's article in this month's newsletter.) At the end of the night, as I was saying goodbye to Gravity and wishing her much happiness on their journey, she thanked me, saying, "All of this probably would not have been possible without you."
My reaction was, "You are welcome; however, you know that all we teachers can do is lead. The student must choose to learn.
"True," she said, "but look what you have created, how it has affected our lives, and how different life is because of what you do."
Tim Grantham, a teacher at wildernessFusion, also recently said to me, "Thank you for creating this opportunity for us as teachers, so we can each step into what we are becoming. Your trust in us to become teachers at wildernessFusion has allowed us to step into places that we could not without you."
I said, "You're welcome," but walked away in overwhelm, not knowing if it was Tim’s message or the passionate way he delivered it.
In reality, I allowed neither of these experiences to sink in. I admit I dismissed both pretty quickly. Maybe I feel that I don’t deserve such praise, or perhaps it's a humbleness that does not allow me to truly occupy the myth of who I have become. Maybe my psychology is more like a wall than a filter.
Then, in timely fashion, another student sent me an email completely rejecting and minimizing me. In response, I asked, “If you don’t respect me as a teacher, why would you want to study here?” This question was rejected and I was told I was making the situation impossible. Actually, I agree with this student; it is impossible to separate this teaching from the teacher. I have embodied this teaching, and who would want to learn from someone who has not?
At this point, wildernessFusion has become more than Karl Direske. We have two track teachers, six full teachers, four assistant teachers and eleven apprentices in various levels of training. We have grown to have over a hundred and twenty-five active students and we still retain over 90% of our students year to year.
One thing all of these incredible people have in common is that they call me teacher. This brings me to tears.
So, to each one of you, I will do my best to meet you each individually. I take my responsibility as your teacher seriously and will continue to find new ways to help each of you. I will fail from time to time, so please have patience with me, the same patience I have for you. This exploration allows us to learn.
I also want to thank the student who chose to minimize my place as a teacher of this work. In that rejection I have claimed my place as a teacher. How could I ever remain angry with anyone for rejecting me when it is something that I have done a million times to myself? I am grateful, for in that student's struggle I can now see my own more clearly.
I will continue to explore the balance in the doorway of humble arrogance. Yes, I want to so thoroughly know this work that it could be perceived as arrogance. At the same time, I hope to step into each moment with the humble footfall of a child. It is from this choice point that I desire to teach, meeting each of you individually with sincere and open contact.