The traditional way of learning about yoga was through a Guru/student relationship. You would find a teacher and serve him or her. You would sit with them and watch them just being in their presence, absorbing. Hopefully at some point of this relationship you would receive the teachings of that person, a transmission, and from here you would then go on and serve the world. It was the type of relationship which was monogamous and long lasting just like a good marriage.
Nowadays it’s not so easy to get this transmission. We can’t all fly to India and sit at the heels of a sage. We have families to raise, jobs to do. What we need to learn to do is see that the real teacher is within us. Through a process of observation of ourselves and practice we can access this teacher anytime we become mindful.
A guide to accessing your inner teacher. Going to your inner resource.
When we move through this life we will have questions, problems, stumbling blocks and times where we feel stuck or don’t know what to do. There will be confrontations and arguments. We will experience love and joy and great highs. Moments of nothingness and busyness. We will pass through many different relationships. Let all of this become your teacher. Your body, mind, attitudes, joy, relationships. Your mistakes, failures and successes. Let your children, partner and friend be your teacher. Open your eyes to every moment of your life being a potential moment to grow and expand on your path of learning experiences. Cultivate the inner resources within you to track and watch yourself like a fly on the wall, ever observant to your reactions and fears. Believe that within you is everything that you need for your path. Call off the external search and start with yourself. The entire world is your classroom and everything that happens to you is actually happening for you, as a teacher.
Here are the seven pillars of mindfulness to guide your learning. Jon Kabbat-Zin. Use these guideposts to learn about yourself and the world around you.
Non-judging. Watch if you become judgmental of yourself or others.
Patience. When do you lose patience or become intolerant?
Letting go. What are you hanging on to? ( out of fear)
Beginner’s mind. Do you approach life with a don’t know attitude, or a know everything attitude?
Trust. Do you trust that where you are now in life is exactly where you are meant to be?
Non-striving. Are you trying to get somewhere out of fear? Do you keep wanting and seeking even when you have enough? Do you know what ‘enough’ is?
Acceptance. Can you accept yourself and those around you just as you/they are? Do you try to change the world because you are not happy with it?
Practice for today. Write the 7 pillars on sticky notes to remind you of your lessons. If you feel that you have stepped into the teachings of any of the above, just pause and observe what it is you can learn about yourself. Keep practicing like this, just being observant to yourself and those around you. Watch for the tentacles of stickiness that can drive you into such conditioned behaviours, and through observation watch them lose their grip.