On Being a Pathwork Teacher or Helper
Pat has been reading Luminous Emptiness — Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Francesca Fremantle. It was recommended by her spiritual teacher and is based upon the teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rimpoche, founder of Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. This book inspires Pat. We noted that these are teachings that are enlivening and nurturing for her.
And she noted that others in her spiritual community Awakening Into Presence take these teachings in differently, resonating in a totally different way to different aspects of the same teaching. This seems to be the nature of esoteric teachings — they meet you where you are.
She has read to me out loud paragraphs that particularly resonate with her. And I noticed both how these words resonated with me as well, and how very similar they are to how I read and take in the Pathwork Lectures. The contexts of these two sources are quite different from each other, yet they both touch, enliven, nurture, and inspire both Pat and me. This seems to be more a matter of where we are as students than what the sources are as teachings.
There is a lesson here for me, a would-be Pathwork teacher and helper. Any teaching presence I offer to another must allow for the unique way the teaching will resonate, nurture, and enliven the student. And this way may be quite different from how the material enlivens me. The student is unique. I am unique. Our needs and points of resonance with spiritual teachings are unique.
In one way I see that my passion for recording the Pathwork lectures meets this need in that by simply reading the material the message can flow into the listener at many levels, conscious and unconscious. What the listener gets out of the material is unique and very dependent on where his or her soul is in its development. And some material will enliven different people at different levels and in different applications and ways.
When I “teach” the lectures I tend to frame them in a way that communicates a context for their application. This can be helpful, but I dare not get too wedded to my framing. For it is just that, MY framing. I need to be open enough to let the student find his or her own resonance or lack of resonance, never pushing, judging, or forcing.
So perhaps the most important stance, supported by Presence and Love, is to listen keenly as to where the student is, and then feed the student at that level, reinforcing that which is already alive in him or her. The idea is to let the student fill out and enliven all that is possible at the level at which he or she is before being tempted to jump to a next level, prematurely leaving behind some unlived aspects of the level before.
So as teacher or helper, my focus and awareness needs always to be Love and Presence to the student or worker, carefully discerning where the student is and then allowing any teaching or observation I might offer from a place of Love and Presence to enliven him or her right where he or she is. When fully alive where he or she is, the student will realize, consciously or, more often, unconsciously, that he or she is ready for the next level of development. And there again, the wise teacher lets the student lead the way.