Monday, November 21, 2011

The Nature of Teaching - Mark Nepo

Kikakou was a student of Basho, the great Japanese poet of the seventeenth century. One day Kikakou brought Basho this haiku about why we need each other: 
A blind child
guided by his mother,
admires the cherry blossoms... 
This moment of small things opens the heart of all teaching. For we each take turns being the blind child, the guiding other, and the blossom, never really knowing which until we've learned what we are to learn from each other. In this, we all take turns being the teacher.

In essence, being a spirit on earth calls us to keep listening to that Original Presence inside that doesn’t change, and to live accordingly. Of course, being human, things get in the way. We often get in our own way, repeatedly. In truth, we all struggle with these recurring life positions: being lost, being found, and being a bridge. We all experience these different senses of the journey.

This took me many years to learn and accept. But having begun innocently enough, there arose separations, and now I know that health resides in restoring direct experience. Thus, having struggled to do what has never been done, I discovered that living is the original art.

After thirty years of teaching, I confess that I can find no other way to learn than to ask and listen. I have to say, I want to say, that it starts out simple, gets complicated and, by burning what is not real, gets simple again. This is the curriculum that never ends. No matter if we’re tired, spring comes again and some undying impulse needs to break ground. It’s the same with pain and denial, those winters of the heart. One day, if blessed, the tulip coated with soil is again a tulip, and with an urgency we thought we left behind, we must wake.

I think we could forget all the ways to study in school and just wait for this moment; knowing and believing that those who wake are students and those who stay awake are teachers.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Susannah, every time you post something by Mark Nepo, I keep thinking "I have to read more from him" and then the intention slides away somehow...

    I hope you are well this day. Blessings!