The Teacher is the Story
I arrived to England at the beginning of October 2021. Just before this I had two weeks in Arizona visiting family; before that, two weeks in Mexico (see this post here), and before that, 11 months in Costa Rica. The first time I came to England was in August 2016 under completely different circumstances - at that time, I was an unpolished yoga student looking to deepen purely into my practice of yoga under the tutelage of a great individual by the name of Steve Harrison at the Yoga Sanctuary. This time, five years later, I come as someone who has spent a considerable amount of time invested in this path; a student, always, but one that has evolved into being a teacher, a space-holder, a musician, a facilitator, and various other roles that life has assigned to me based on what is needed to serve each moment and to reach my own fullest expression in this lifetime. At least, that is the story that I tell myself. So, above all, I am story-teller. And for whatever reason, the stories that we tell ourselves end up defining our path in a certain way and illustrating our own personal mythology. The energy that we give to the stories which have defined our path is the energy that births the identity we live with. These are the myths that make us who we are.
I share my personal history here, on this blog, with the intention to track the details and integrate my own understanding and wisdom into writing so that others may discover their own inspiration and reasons for walking forward on the path; my wish is that people will rediscover the importance of story-telling and, in connection to this, the importance of living a tale worth telling. Together, in our story-telling, we might begin to realize the universality of our humanness and of the similarity between archetypes. No matter where we are and what we are doing, the human challenge remains the same - how can we learn to conquer our fears and live a life based on higher ideals? What are these “higher ideals”, and why are they worth striving for? What happens if we allow fear to win? For me, I’ve learned that love is the highest of all ideals and the one that I strive for. But what is love, and how do we discover it? Something motivates me to find out, and this motivating force is the fabric beneath all the stories that I tell. Thus, I share from the heart and will try, with my stories, to give you a piece of myself to illuminate your path forward. This is my wish.
Arriving to England this time has brought another wave of integration and growth for me. Coming to the Yoga Sanctuary is somewhat like a pilgrimage. This place is a second home and Steve, Sarah, and their tribe of three girls are like family to me. It is a landing pad and a place to remember my path, my mission, and what I’m about. This is perhaps true due to the fact that it was the first place that I caught a glimpse of our true potential as human beings. As mentioned above, my first trip here in 2016 was a period of deep practice (sadhana) and it was through yoga that I was able to open doorways that I didn’t know existed. I had found a guide and a teacher - Steve - who had carved pathways through the thousands of hours of his own practice and who became an energy supply for all those who could draw from this.
We (Steve and I) were talking just the other night about this. That the student is only able to draw as much energy from the teacher as they are capable of receiving at any given time. It is somewhat dependent on their willingness and receptivity. And the teacher is only able to give as much as the portal is open in the other. Asking the right questions and doing the work for oneself is the key to the student’s evolution. For whatever reason - by grace, perhaps - my receptivity and capacity to receive from what Steve was offering was very high. I recall my experience when I first met the man, when I saw a light in him that I hadn’t found anywhere else. That light attracted me. I immediately decided that he would be my teacher, even though I knew next to nothing about him. But the portal was open, and I felt the love flowing. All my other fears and uncertainties became unimportant as I leaned in to trust the flow of love. For me, it was an awakening into a new kind of relationship with life. A relationship to creation: deciding how I wanted to tell my own tale. Deciding how we want our own story to go is creation, and love. The student becomes receptive to their own higher potential and stop believing their own self-limiting myths. This results in a flow between that student and the teachings of life.
I discovered, in my early days of meeting my teacher, that the “teacher” and the “teaching” was, in fact, love, and if I could open my heart to allow myself to be guided - to be truly guided - then the life-force would flow and evolution would occur. This is why love-stories are some of the best of all stories ... because we can all relate to the search for love. It is a universal story - to find the lost beloved. And in our search we realize that it has been within all along... what a story!
It is my belief that everyone in our lives is a teacher of love, and as we learn how to love ourselves more deeply, to listen to our own authentic story, we find others who reflect to us this love. Finding the lost beloved within leads us to discover it in the manifest world. Others merely reflect to us where we are at in our journey. And the stories we tell ourselves about who they are end up defining them. One person can be an enemy to us while being the love of someone else’s life. Who is right? What is the reality? It is all based on the perceiver and the story being told. I think that if we can find and adhere to a story that takes us beyond our own ego’s preferences, we can start to see and experience love everywhere (because it is only the ego that tells us who and why to love... the ego uses love for it’s own divisive power, when in reality, love is the true unifying Power) At least, this is how I see it and what I am trying to do, and doing this has allowed me to squeeze the love juice from life.
In hindsight, I realize that my path to meeting Steve in the first place was one that required me to open my heart and let go of the tremendous amount of fear I was carrying (stories about who I was and how I was supposed to beg. Just a few months before arriving to Rishikesh, India (where Steve and I first met), I had to overcome many doubts that I had about my path in life, what I was supposed to be doing, who I was supposed to be, all of this. Purely on instinct and intuition I had decided to cancel my return plane ticket home and set out on a voyage . The voyage had begun in Costa Rica. The choice to cancel my return ticket was born out of a decision to choose love over fear, and it set into motion a sequence of events and travels which led me to meet Steve in India and then back to England, where he owned and ran a yoga school.
In a way, due to the decisions that led me to meeting him, I had already ‘met’ my teacher, but because we had come into physical contact with one another I now had a body outside of myself to relate to, one which I could build a relationship with and reciprocate with. This process showed me many things. It showed me that there are beings out there waiting for us to sort of “level up” in our own being, in our vibration, before we are able to encounter them... and once we allow for the upgrade, our path will bring us into contact with these evolved souls. This is always purely a reflection of our own evolution. Oftentimes this means letting go of lower vibration habits, environments or relationships to make space for the higher vibrations to come in. For me, I had welcomed the high vibrations of love into my heart and had opened myself to the terrifying notion of being guided by these higher forces (before this my life was largely governed by strategies from the mind) which led me right to the door of my dear brother, mentor, and teacher - the man by the name of Steve - whom I speak so highly love and hold in great respect. I was able to then truly meet him and draw from the energy that he was emanating, receiving spiritual nourishment from the relationship and exchange that was taking place between us. The teacher had become alive in me through my own efforts and subsequently a mirror, another human to reflect this inner state, came into my life to show me where I was. Thank goodness life sets it up this way! If we have the courage to accept that our relationships are mirroring to us who WE are - NOT who anyone else is - we can start taking the appropriate measures to support our own vibration and thereby influence our entire environment and the world around us.
And these out precisely the “myths that make us.” They are the stories we hear about and relate to in other human beings. The story that comes alive and becomes true within us. When we hear a brother or a sister share their history with us with authenticity and vulnerability we nod our head and go “I understand.” Because we do, more or less. Maybe we haven’t exactly been there, but we can relate to the theme spoken of and there is a familiarity about it. We have similar stories in us. As if these stories exist FOR us - all of us, this one human family.
To absorb the “teaching” of a story, we must let down our defenses - the defenses of “me versus them.” The defenses that we build up around our hearts where we protect ourselves from listening - truly listening - to the story being told. We don’t want to hear certain stories because they might contain some news that makes us uncomfortable. Or they might contain something that seems unbelievable so we immediately scoff and throw out the baby with the bath water. We end up shutting off our listening capacity because we lose our ability to feel without excess mentation.
Oftentimes, when we are trying to make sense of things, we listen too much with our ears and brain and not enough with our heart. If we realized that our “making sense” of things is a mechanism whereby we try to fit the story that is being heard by us into the narrative of our lives, we would see what is taking place. We are trying to get the new story, the new information, to sit inside of the story we have about ourselves and about life. And if any of the information presented doesn’t “match up” for fit nicely, we often discard it as false. But a story is a story. Even our own stories, however true we may feel them to be, are exactly that - stories. To the degree that we engage in and connect to a story - any story - and invest our energy and attention to make it come alive, is the extent that it will shape our lives and reality.
I choose to retell many different stories. Some of them are not necessarily my own... and in the end, I’ve concluded that none of them truly are “my own”. They are the manifestation of the myths of creation, of my own connection to the Creator and the life that I have lived. I feel that these stories are worth sharing, because they help me remember where I come from and where I aim to go. It is the story that is the teacher. And the stories that come alive in us teach us the best.
What am I talking about in this post? I am merely telling a story. My wish through doing so is to allow the energy of inspiration to come alive in the hearts of the reader - a memory of connection, of understanding, and ultimately, of love - to support them in their pursuit of tales worth telling. After all, what is all of this anyway? The entire Universe is a story. It is a collection of thoughts. And we can choose to add good stories and good thoughts to it, or bad ones. The question is - what differentiates between good and bad? Well, since we are the storyteller... we get to decide.
It’s up to you, my friend.
Thank you for reading