Thursday, October 11, 2007

Get a Teacher

I'm posting this picture just 'cause I like it. It makes me feel peaceful. The shimmer of sun, the leaves glowing yellow, the cool shadow of the ravine. Ahh.

Today I'd like you to consider finding a teacher. It could be an actual teacher--someone who has a class in your area of interest that you sign up for--or it could be a person who has wisdom to share. A relative, a coworker, a luminary in your field of interest. Or it could be the author of a book. Find at least one person who you can learn something from, and then be a student. Listen. Take notes. Digest what the person is telling you. (And think of it as digestion--allowing, over time, what you take in to become part of you, to become integral.)

I'll leave you with some insight from one of my teachers, Joseph Campbell:

Moyers: I like what you say about the old mysth of Theseus and Ariadne. Theseus says to Ariadne, "I'll love you forever if you can show me a way to come out of the labyrinth." So she gives him a ball of string, which he unwinds as he goes into the labyrinth, and then follows to find the way out. You say, "All he had was the string. That's all you need."

Campbell: That's all you need--an Ariadne thread.

Moyers: Sometimes we look for great wealth to save us, a great power to save us, or great ideas to save us, when all we need is that piece of string.

Campbell: That's not always easy to find. But it's nice to have someone who can give you a clue. That's the teacher's job, to help you find your Ariadne thread.


Anonymous said...

I can see why Joseph Campbell speaks to you as a Teacher. In a Half Price Books, I picked up a copy of Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion by Diane K. Osbon. This is a collection of Campbell's insights as recorded by Diane at a retreat, interspersed with related quotes from works from other authors including Jung and Joyce.

Here is a lesson I have taken from the book:

In one section, Joseph Campbell is recounting his participation in a ritual where each participant answered the question:

"What are the seven things for which you feel your life is worth living?"

The participants had a day to reflect and then choose some small item to represent each of the seven 'things.' The next day, they went through an elaborate ceremony of giving up these items one at a time, from least cherished to most "...until you were left with the one object you treasured most." By doing so, the participants revealed to themselves the hierarchy of their values. This was not the only point of the ritual, but even getting this far in the meaning said something to me about a sort of "road map" to bliss. If you can figure out what it is that really matters to you, you can figure out how to bring that knowledge to bear on your path to bliss. Which is, of course, exactly what you've been saying in your entries. Although I haven't gone through the process of "giving up" my seven items, I did come up with my list of seven, and that alone was quite empowering. I recommend it as an interesting thought/metaphysics exercise.

- Erzsebet

Tiffany Hamburger said...

I haven't seen that book; I'll have to check it out.

And I love the idea of this ritual. I plan on coming up with that list soon. Thanks for the comment!