Yesterday Wolfgang gave me an advice that impacted me deeply. He told me that he saw that I am more and more enjoying being asked for advice by people and that that is indeed a beautiful thing, but that I should be careful not to get caught up in teacher-student relationships or to (subtly) create them. What I understood from what he was telling me was that I should not walk the path of the ‘ego’, because on that path I will not create beautiful situations for myself.
This advice came as a shock to me at first because I did not see what caused him to to say this to me. Over the day that shock slowly made way for the fear that I am doing or going to do things that will unnecessarily hurt me. This topic remained on my mind for the rest of the day but I was not able to pinpoint why I still felt startled and fearful.
About three hours ago I woke up and sat down for my meditation practice. I immediately started crying, because I was overwhelmed by sadness and fear. I was observing these emotions and suddenly saw the unmet need from which they were coming. That seeing came in the form of the following thought:
I only want to serve others and not myself. It is true that I have started to serve myself.
It became clear to me that I had started to entertain the idea that I am a teacher. What is really, really interesting is that you can find evidence of that thinking on this blog.
- At first I was a little bit shy in this thinking, and I wrote “I have been working with one of my ‘students’ on his lack of confidence” in the article No man ever steps in the same river twice.
- Then a few weeks later I had come to full acceptance of this idea and wrote “Just yesterday one of my students asked me (…)” in the article Traffic light reasoning.
I am truly amazed to see how this thought slowly entered my thinking and speech. It is so subtle that I did not notice it myself! Two things I have learned through this are how subtle the operation of the mind is and how fruitful it is to have friends around you who can help you to see what you have not yet seen.
After my meditation practice I went through a short moment of subtle self-condemnation. I told myself that I had become vain. When I noticed that I was passing judgement on myself, I asked myself a simple question: “What need was being fulfilled by thinking in this way?” That question freed me from judging myself because I discovered that I have a need for self-esteem and respect, and I saw that I was trying to find that in the one place where I will never find it: in others.
This learning experience has given me a deeper understanding into the nature of the ‘ego’ and I will write about that in a follow-up article. To be continued!