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“It’s not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Br. David Steindl Rast

How Can We Help But Grow Wise With Such Teachings As These?

A note from Carl:

Happy Thursday!

How Can We Help But Grow Wise With Such Teachings As These?This past summer, Erin began reading the Outlander book series by Diana Gabaldon. Over the course of her reading nine almost-1000-page books, I began hearing quite a bit about Jamie Fraser and his adventures with the time-traveling Claire.

A few weeks ago, as I walked into a studio to teach a Feldenkrais class, 3 of the women attending were rapt in conversation about the nuances of Jamie from the previous weekend’s episode of the show Outlander.

There is something about this character that has a strong (ahem) effect.

Jamie Fraser is a teacher for me.

Our world can be filled with so many teachers from endless sources when we invite them.

Jamie Fraser’s character embodies many archetypal qualities of the positive masculine, and qualities that are so needed in the world today – protector, warrior, lover. I can flash on a mental image of this 18th-century Scottish Highlander and it resonates with, and kindles those qualities in me. I stand a bit taller, feel a bit more bad-ass, (and sometimes crave a whiskey.) :)

One of the main pillars we work with in the Embodied Life is our ability to grow our inner resources. We cultivate and nourish the states we would like to experience, and grow them into traits, or more stable ways of being.

Often the teachers we are drawn to are the ones who embody more completely what is already living in us.
Otherwise, we wouldn’t recognize, or be magnetized by what they offer. It is said in the Tibetan tradition that the role of the teacher is to hold the a mirror to the student’s nature, the student’s inherent goodness and wisdom, until she can see it for herself.

As Rumi said:

“This is a subtle truth. What you love, you are.”

Yet teachings don’t just come from teachers.

Teachers are much more pervasive than we often recognize.

“Oh, good scholar, I say to myself,
how can you help but grow wise
with such teachings
as these — the untrimmable light
of the world, the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made out of grass?”

-Mary Oliver

There is a line from Shakespeare’s Henry IV that has lived in in me for 25 years. Each time I go back to it, something kindles, some inner dignity awakens.

“PRINCE HENRY:
I shall hereafter, my thrice gracious lord,
Be more myself.”

A few weeks ago, we went out to eat and had an amazing server. I can flash on her face and something in me comes alive about the dignity of service and about embodying excellence.

Erin has often used Maya Angelou as a model for her inner-resources. Can you feel something mirrored in yourself listening to her poem?

As I am watching basketball, I appreciate and resonate with the dancer-like precision of Steph Curry, and the strength and endurance of Lebron James carrying his injured team on his back to the finals. I am inspired by what I see out there, but it is what wakes up in here that is so enlivening to me about watching basketball.

How Can We Help But Grow Wise With Such Teachings As These?I can take 10 seconds to flash on Mary Oliver’s wonder and appreciation, and it lives in me.

Michael Meade’s ability to weave so many wisdom traditions through story inspires me.

How Can We Help But Grow Wise With Such Teachings As These?Watching a Great Horned Owl rest on a branch, locked in eye contact with me, something lights up.

I can appreciate my dear friend Mark’s way of always taking the high road, and it lives in me.

Bobby Mcferrin’s play and spontaneity are a great model.

The inspiration that comes from seeing the honor and dignity of Ned Starks from Game of Thrones…

Often it just takes a 10 second pause (as Erin wrote about last week) to let something trickle down.
To recognize that what is lighting you up out there is something that is lit inside.

How can we help but grow wise with such teachings as these?

Wishing you well,
Carl

 

How Can We Help But Grow Wise With Such Teachings As These?

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