The Great Teacher
He, the Great Teacher, is a front. Find out what’s inside him, what’s behind his appearance, where he comes from (in you). Ponder as often and for as long as is feasible: not thinking, but in the same way that you would find the balance on a bike for the first time. Be patient when you feel his presence in all its forms as you go deeper into it. Again, it is like balancing a pole on a fingertip: you have to be at one with it as you move to keep it balanced, not taking your attention off it even for a moment. If you hesitate or avert your attention you lose contact with the pole and it falls. Practise it all day everyday.
When thoughts come about the Great Teacher as speculations, worries, ruminations, rationalisations, analyses, look for the emotion in the midriff that gives rise to them all.
This is why it is so important to practise responding promptly until it becomes second nature (actually reverting to instinct) and putting yourself wholeheartedly into what at this moment is being done until that becomes second nature. Then you are not separate from the doing. Then the life-energy lifting the glass, standing the body up, answering the door, becomes conscious of itself. The life-energy is the same in all activities: in growing, in rising passions, emotions, moods and feelings, in thinking, and in creating (the humanities). Some of the manifestations of life-energy are conscious: most are not.
He, the Great Teacher, slips in in the gap that exists when ‘I’ am separate because not yet at one with the doing, not at one with the workings of the heart. This is when unwanted emotion flares up or smoulders inside, burning and hurting us, or when it all goes icy cold – it is Hell. ‘I’ am not yet at one with the life-energy, with the Life living in this body. When there is no gap, there is no where for him to get in.
The Great Lesson of Life
He is called the Great Teacher because he teaches the Great Lesson of life, which is to become one with life and thereby fulfilled. In us individually, it is to become one with the heart. He can be, and in most cases is, very direct, seemingly too direct, blunt and uncompromising. He represents all that is felt as a challenge and threat, as the epitome of what ‘I’ don’t want, what ‘I’ don’t like, what frightens ‘me’ and what hurts and upsets ‘me’, and what spoils my life.
In terms of the Practice it is said that the weakling slips down the slippery slope of deluded self-consciousness, desire, aversion, lust and fear. That weakling is ‘I’ – all 7.2 billion of us! When there is no separation there is no gap, no ‘I’, and the Great Teacher becomes what he has always been: a teacher. It is also said that ‘the doorpost teaches the Way’. Our everyday activities are the teacher. Whatever is here now is the teacher. Cats respond as cats, mice as mice. They don’t need to learn because they never turned away from their instinct, but they are also at its mercy. We human beings have other ideas. We don’t want anything that goes against us, that threatens us or hurts us – that’s instinct as well. To learn the Great Lesson we first have to develop inner strength, soften up the rigid, insecure ‘I’, make ourselves more flexible, more malleable, less important (to us) and so better able to bear the pressure that builds up in us, either fast or slow. Only when contained and faced in full conscious awareness, do both the emotion and ‘I’ change. Only then is there are genuine change of heart. Only the life-energy in us can make the change happen. To the ‘I’, it’s alchemy, a mysterious chemical reaction. No ‘I’ can do it. It cannot be done by an act of will.
‘I’ need to give in. Nothing helps and facilitates this more than bowing. But it has to be wholehearted, unconditional and total. When we bow, the heart, the whole body knows what it is doing even if ‘I’ don’t know. At first ‘I’ usually make it into an ego problem, thinking that I am demeaning myself in the pecking order of society, of the family or of any other group, or in the picture ‘I’ have created of life and me in it. If ‘I’ bow wholeheartedly and unconditionally, ‘I’ lay myself down and with this ‘I’ come down a peg or two and in doing so become more flexible, more open, less afraid and less isolated.