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The Yoga Teacher - Losing your Way

Khalīl Gibrān was a Lebanese-American writer and poet. He lived in Lebanon between 1883 and 1931. He has written that once he was roaming from village to village, promising to show God to people if they followed him. Nobody ever followed him so no trouble ever arose. The villagers told him to come again as they were then very busy with other things. The crop was ripe and ready for harvesting, so he should come again after some time. When he visited them again, they said, ”The crops are not good this year; there is scarcity and we are in difficulty. Please come next year.” He continued to visit villages. He was not in a hurry to persuade anyone to follow him, but one impetuous man from a village decided to follow him. When Gibran said, ”Follow me if you wish to see God,” that man threw away his axe and said, ”I am following you!”

Gibran became nervous. Then he thought, ”How long will he follow me? In a week or two he will get tired and will leave me.” But the villager continued to follow him.

One year passed. The man said, ”I shall follow you wherever you lead me.” Two years passed and Gibran became more nervous. He tried to avoid his follower, but the man always stood behind him, saying, ”I am prepared to follow you wherever you lead me. I shall abide by whatever you ask me to do.”

Six years passed in this way. Then one day the man took Gibran by the neck and said, ”You have taken a long time, now show me God. Where do you wish to go now?”

The guru said, ”Please pardon me; I have even lost my own way in your good company. I myself have lost my way since you followed me. Before you began to follow me, my road was quite clear for me. Everything was clearly visible. I was near the destination, God was in front of me. What a calamity that I let you join me! Now I too have lost my way. So, please leave me and go your own way."

From a yoga teacher's perspective, this story can be interpreted as a reflection on the relationship between a spiritual teacher (Gibran) and a devoted student (the villager) who is eager to attain spiritual realiSation. Here are my insights:

The Teacher's Role: The story highlights the role of a yoga teacher who offers guidance and invites seekers to embark on a path of self-discovery and spiritual growth. The teacher is someone who has embarked on the journey themselves and can share their wisdom and insights with others.

The Seeker's Commitment: The story emphasizes the importance of sincere commitment and dedication on the part of the seeker. The villager's impulsive decision to follow Gibran represents the enthusiasm and determination required to pursue a spiritual path. It reflects the willingness to let go of worldly attachments, symbolized by throwing away the axe, and wholeheartedly surrendering to the guidance of the teacher.

Patience and Persistence: Gibran's initial doubt and nervousness about the villager's commitment to following him reveal the teacher's awareness of the challenges and uncertainties along the spiritual path. However, the villager's unwavering dedication, continuing to follow despite obstacles, demonstrates the importance of patience, persistence, and the willingness to overcome challenges in the pursuit of spiritual growth.

The Danger of Attachment: As time passes, the story shows how the teacher becomes attached to the follower, losing sight of their own spiritual path. This highlights the potential danger of becoming overly dependent on or attached to external guidance, rather than cultivating one's own inner wisdom.

Self-Realization and Independence: The story concludes with the realization that the teacher has also lost their way due to the presence of the follower. It signifies the need for both the teacher and the student to recognize their individual paths and the importance of independent self-discovery. It serves as a reminder that true spiritual realization ultimately comes from within, and external guidance can only point the way.

Overall, this story reminds yoga teachers of the importance of guiding students while encouraging them to develop their own inner wisdom, self-reliance, and connection. It underscores the need for both teacher and student to navigate their individual journeys while maintaining respect for each other's paths.

Zahir Akram - eternal seeker

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