Being a teacher in this time
a personal vision
Being a spiritual teacher in this time is not a sinecure, but is easier than in the past. On the one hand it is because there is a growing number of seekers who are receptive to the disseminating of 'truth and love', and on the other hand because the teacher has come to be closer to the people. However, the fact still is that there are many people get tied up in the interests that they have in this world. This should move potential spiritual teachers to take up their work.
There really is much work to do, because the knowledge concerning out true Self is by far not common good.
Even though a growing number of contemporary teachers attract many people, the time of the great pioneers and ground breakers like Krishnamurti and Osho and others is passed. Now, in small circles or in one's own living or work place we should become conscious of the fact that all the conditions to arrive at 'enlightenment' are already present in all facets of life, and that this insight should not be limited to yourself.
Therefore it is handy and a good example to have a partner and children as a teacher. To do the dishes, to go shopping, cleaning house and maintain other earthly activities. In this way a reference frame can be formed in which people can recognize themselves. No holy one anymore far away high up a mountain, but just an approachable teacher close by in the midst of society. And the more he is available in his own surroundings the better it is.
How you do become a spiritual teacher is a question of a different order. I rolled into it myself because something bigger than myself forced it on me. It is true that I was a student of Hans Laurentius for two and one-half years, but the drive to also become a teacher came from somewhere else. Being a teacher is in my eyes a role which once you have accepted it, needs to be fulfilled as well as possible.
As a potential teacher I was at that time penetrated by that I am indeed in this world, but not of this world. That is a primeval knowing that is known intrinsically even if you are not always conscious of it. Thus my freedom lay there
Furthermore, what I always saw reflected in my own life, was putting my life in order. At the same time I saw how others went about it and why they went astray. Wonderfully enough, insight into yourself also gives insight into others. One thing and another expressed themselves in a certain life-style and being a teacher was finally the culmination. It was and is the going for 'truth', irrespective of what the result or the consequences might be. This did not mean that no mistakes could be made, but that every movement and identification that took me out of my center had to be examined. In this way I became centered in my middle point every second and that led finally to 'occupying' that middle point no matter what situation I found myself in. My teaching gained expression in the giving of satsangs which I began in September 2001.
This old tradition was extremely suitable for bringing over what that I wanted so much to say. Knowing you are realized is one thing, also being able to bring that over asks for other competencies then just talking about truth. Knowing how to say it and knowing what the other is busy with seems to be a factor X that manifests itself completely outside of my person.
Therefore, satsang begins with silence by means of which the energy that is channeled that takes care of what and how things will happen. Whether it is humor, seriousness, happiness or playfulness, they are all instruments that are in service of a teacher for the sake of what can be understood or realized. This sounds a little mysterious perhaps, but it isn't. Do not we hear ourselves carrying on a 'good conversation' sometimes which happens all by itself and in which you need not search at all for the right words or the right tone? So is it also in satsang where only the subject of conversation is different.
Out of this stillness a story begins. Remaining 'plugged in' to this the energy moves, sometimes abruptly, sometimes gradually to certain persons so that a more specific and individually colored story unfolds itself directed to the discussion of a certain problem bothering someone. By the presence of this energy the problem as well as the person concerned are tilted up to another level of being. Then mostly the problem is quickly seen through, and seen for what it is.
In an active happening teacher and student form a whole during satsang, because without the student there is no teacher and vice-versa. It is involvement in the case that binds the two together as long as it is suitable in the given circumstances. The teacher also has much to discover in himself and must give an explanation of his quest.
Nevertheless it is realistic to put the role of the teacher in perspective as insight and clarity, especially in the student, grow. After all, they both become more and more the 'same'. Then it is, especially for the teacher, time to take distance from the teacher role, so that a new situation arises in which they can meet each other on another level of being, for example in friendship.
This is what happened with my teacher.
Naturally there are many other aspects attached to being a teacher that are interesting, for example how the teacher has to get on with students. In turn firmness, or agreement, stimulation or holding back are needed. This is completely dependent on the situation in which both the student and the teacher find themselves. Sometimes it is really necessary to send students into the wilderness to allow 'something' to break through. At other times it may be desirable to keep the student close and surround them with 'nourishment'. No rules can be given.
In addition, there is also the limitation that not every location is suitable for transmitting 'It'. It is not written anywhere that you have to be in a hall or have to sit on a sofa. Personally I would rather tell the whole story in a café with a well filled pint of beer, if it were not for the fact that such surroundings are distracting.
Moreover, many people who call themselves spiritual think in terms of higher and lower and I see that I need, as yet, to hoist myself up on the sofa.
The fact is in any case that many roads lead to Rome and every shining example on which people can mirror themselves is actually a teacher even though they may not know it, such a one can come forward as far as I am concerned.
Being a spiritual teacher is finally a combination of insight, dedication, surrender, didactic know-how and a great capacity to see things in perspective. To say it in other words, it is a conscious handling of intentions and actions and a faultlessness against the background of not-knowing to which a full blooded 'yes' must be said.
[Jan van Rossum, October 2002]