WHEN THE STUDENT IS NOT READY YET, THE TEACHER WILL (hopefully) WAIT
When my best friend told me in 2001 that he had found a spiritual teacher, I was happy for him, but thought: ‘This is not for me. You know, my friend needs some guidance because he is having a few problems, but I am OK and don’t want to follow any guru around. This is definitely not for me.”
So for the next three years I observed my friend’s complete transformation from a confused disempowered person, into a happier and much more confident one. However, each time he would come to me and say I need to come and listen to this Teacher, I would pull back.
Three years on I ended up finally saying yes to my friend and decided to go on a retreat to check his Teacher out. I just thought ‘The worse thing that can happen is that, even if I don’t like it, I will still be having a break in Byron Bay”.
Well little I knew that that decision was going to change the course of my life forever.
After those ten days on retreat my perception of what I knew about the world changed dramatically, and then I knew I would never be able to return to that hiding place I was living before. I had spent ten days listening to an enlightened mind and I was finally able to start seeing and understanding the world more clearly.
Six months after I met Behram Ghista, now my spiritual teacher, I made a decision that I had been avoiding for years: to be proactive in changing my career. In order to do that, I would have to break free from my unfulfilling job, and move to Sydney to retrain.
I have to say that I knew I had to do it, but when I finally decided it, I sat there and cried non-stop for more than 30 minutes. Leaving my beloved home in the bush, my friends, my sister, and leaving Tasmania all at once… however I knew I was brave enough to go ahead with my decision.
In reality I had dug a comfortable hole and I was sitting in it, hiding. But my comfort zone wasn’t that comfortable after all. My happiness was very dependent on external things, how nice people were to me, or when my next holiday or party was happening, so I could escape from it for a few hours/days at a time. At that moment I had to really be true to myself: I had been utterly dissatisfied with my life for a while and it was time to do something about it.
Since that first retreat in 2004 I kept in touch with Master B, as we like to call him, and attended another seven of his retreats. Being in a retreat with my Teacher is like going home: I am exactly where I am supposed to be, I feel complete. It’s my spiritual family.
I have to say that having a Teacher is not for the faint hearted. Having a Teacher means having to constantly have a good look at myself and how true I am being, or how many things I am avoiding. I had to learn how to accept feedback without taking it personally, knowing that it comes from pure love. And I constantly have my bottom kicked, which is a great reminder to keep challenging myself and not settle for less.
Funnily enough along these nearly seven years of my relationship with Master B, one of the most difficult things I had to overcome was to accept his unconditional love. Like most people I spent my life expecting love in exchange for doing, achieving or behaving in a certain or expected manner. Even from my beloved parents. And to come across someone that is above worldly love it has been one of my most precious learnings. I know there is no need to please my Teacher, I can just be myself without need for approval, and if I choose to do anything for him is from genuine generosity and gratitude.
Meanwhile I have grown as a person in ways that still amaze me, I have learned how to trust the flow of events in my life and stop ‘fighting’ life back – most of the time! I am passionate about my work and I observe how it unfolds by itself, effortlessly, always surprising me with how things fall perfectly in place if I just allow life to take its course. I have freed myself from depression and anxiety, have improved my relationships with my family and friends dramatically, and I now have a wonderful spiritual practice, that although has Master B’s Buddhist teachings at its core, is very holistic and independent. I am also blessed for now having a career that is my spiritual practice, not only because I teach meditation and Feng Shui, but also because Master B’s teachings are now in my core and I can apply them in every area of my life, every moment and every day. And of course I still have many things I am constantly working on and learning. It is a journey for a lifetime, but now I have guidance that keeps me on track each time I start distracting myself from where lasting fulfilment truly lies. And finally I am now able to approach life in a much more relaxed and fun way.
So maybe it is now time to publicly acknowledge the man that has been supporting me and my work since 2004:
Thank you, Master B, for your love, friendship, guidance and for being such a wonderful and inspiring Teacher.