A Teacher Can Be Found Anywhere – In much the same way that a dark soil that does not hold the roots feeds a flower, my teachers arise from somewhere inside me that is beyond me. Our simple blessing of being able to go anywhere we want often makes us think we are in charge and freestanding.
Nevertheless, we are rooted in an intangible soil that is everywhere, as are shrubs, trees, and flowers. There’s nothing wrong with our roots, they’re just moving. Even though we make our own decisions every day, the ground we walk on and the quiet teachers we encounter all around us nourish us in those decisions.
We often miss the teachers in our pride and confusion, and we feel burdened and alone because of our self-centeredness and fear. As I try to listen to those quiet teachers, I am reminded of the great poet Stanley Kunitz, who once heard geese cross the night sky and knew where his life would lead. When he finally became tired of his endless considerations, the small birds in the snow were singing in unexpected harmony, and a man I know was slowly evaporating, sorely depressed.
After realizing he was a musician, he began to seek out and study the instrument he should play. Experiences of this sort seem untrustworthy and crazy from the perspective of being freestanding and in charge. We learn in school a language that does not apply to the soil where we grow. It is rare that truth, love, and the spirit of eternity can be predicted, and clarity of being is rarely communicated by words.
On Earth, I have experienced the light of ageless spirit fill me unexpectedly when I thought I would die; and as water pumps up a slim root, making it grow and blossom, I have been flushed with a possibility I could not have imagined, in the direction of dreams I could not even have imagined. You can find quiet teachers everywhere, whether you look at birds in the snow, geese honking in the dark, or a brilliant wet leaf that hits your face when you are doubting yourself.
It appears that their lessons are an accident or a coincidence because we think we are in charge. When we listen carefully, the glass that breaks across the room reveals the direction that we can only hear in the roots of our thoughts and feelings.
Be quiet and receptive to unexpected teachings by breathing evenly and accepting there is no way to prepare for them.
To stay open to the spirit of life, you must breathe deeply and slowly, just as your body must be stretched to exercise.
Allow your heart and mind to stretch as you breathe deeply and steadily, accepting that you are a flower that hasn’t opened yet.