Why do we under value the importance of the ancient relationship between a teacher and their student in the western world?
I studied meditation in Myanmar and Thailand under the guidence of enlightened Masters. I can safely say that due to these experiences my life has changed. I may not seem different on the outside, I still look the same, I still have my own quirky idiosyncratic habits, I still have challenges and I still have moments when I realise that I have said or done something that has probably hurt someone I care about.
What has changed though are things that happen on the inside. My mind is more quite, my mind is more accepting and forgiving, I often feel a surge of love overcome and flow through me unlike anything I have ever felt before. I now have the ability to appreciate the moment, it may be unpleasant, there may be negative or uncomfortable feelings…and that’s okay. I allow them to be there, I stand back and watch, they come…I watch…they go…I watch.
Then a familiar sense of calmness arises and takes the place of the incessent ramblings of my random useless thought process. The wildness of the caged mind becomes peaceful and all that is known is the breath. All that is known is the sensation of the abdomen rising, and falling. The mind knows the sensation, the mind knows all, the mind knows it is just a sensation and “all sensation is okay”, as my teacher used to say. The abdomen disappears, there is no body, all physical phenomenon has lost its boarders and simply diffused into the ether, the space around me, is me. We are one and the same.
The mind knows.
As a 70 day silent retreat, recently came to a close. I sat there, in my little wooden kuti. I looked at my socks, they were pink, a nun had given them to me. Her gesture of compassion on that day meant so much. The mornings started at 3a.m and there was a bitter coldness at this hour as we walked to the female meditation hall for our fisrt sitting of the day. I didn’t bring any socks. This nun sat behind me in the hall. She saw me trying to cover my feet with a blanket and she felt my discomfort. My discomfort became her discomfort. Without ever even exchanging words, she had a deep desire for me to be free from suffering, at ease, comfortable, well.
It is exactly this small act of kindness, this small act of compassion and this deep desire to truly wants others to be well which so many of us lack and so many of us need in our world today. It is exactly what we need to cultivate, to grow, to develop, it is exactly what we need to teach ourselves so that we can teach our children and they can teach eachother. Teaching love, compassion and kindness is the foundation of peace and happiness, without these foundations our homes are build on sand. They will continue to crumble down around us until we put the time in to build strong foundations, once the foundations are there, they last a lifetime.