When the Student Is Ready…

I’d always taken the old adage – when the student is ready, the teacher will arrive – with wistful longing. I have always had a romantic notion around finding a teacher or guru with whom I could study, who could point out my delusions and always remember my light when I get lost in the darkness.

Yet, somehow, no teacher has ever arrived. I cannot point to a singular great guru that inspired and formed my spiritual growth. There were many teachers, many of whom had no idea they were teaching me anything. Often, they were uncooperative students in a class or holding up the grocery line when I was in a hurry.

Then it occurred to me that teachers had always been arriving whenever I was ready. After all, spiritual unfoldment is really a process of unwinding the threads of culture and personality to reveal the spiritual core that was always there.
Each thread of culture and personality has a life of its own. Unwinding happens thread by thread. Sure, you may have a great insight and unwind a couple threads at a time, but rarely do all threads unwind at the same time. (In fact, they refer to that as a spiritual emergency, so it’s not necessarily a good thing.)

There are whole areas of my life that feel clear and open and some areas that still feel tangled in the threads of conditioning and false beliefs. So each time a thread was ready to unravel, a teacher must have arrived to tease it loose. The teacher would disappear, only to have another arrive for the next thread.

Meditation, prayer and communion unravel those threads, fraying them enough so they become ready for release. Each eureka moment is a thread that got tugged loose. Each “ah ha!” is a moment of freedom.

For example, I had a eureka moment driving my pet rabbit, Jasper, to and from the vet. He had surgery for a bladder stone three weeks ago and had had a bad reaction to the sutures. I’d been driving 45 minutes each way to bring him to an excellent bunny vet – sometimes twice a day if the appointment was a ‘drop off.’

On one of my laps, I was listening to an audiobook, Kundalini Meditation by Harijwan Khalsa. The first chapter, which is almost an hour long, provides one of the best chakra introductions I’ve ever heard. His discussion of the fifth chakra unraveled a thread.

Harijwan provides a simple but powerful practice of deeply listening to your own words when chanting mantras. Okay – I cursed when I realized I may have messed up a couple hours of mantras over the years – but what startled me was the ideas that dawned from Harijwan’s suggestion.

I should make a practice of listening to my own words.

Perhaps, that’s a “Duh,” and this isn’t the first time somebody said that at me. But since that thread wasn’t ready to unravel, “I didn’t have ears to hear.” Oftentimes we wax contemptuously at people who aren’t ready to hear. We say, “Pearls before swine,” as though everybody’s spiritual unfoldment is the same and everybody’s lessons are identical. No – we go to workshops and attend lectures to tease open the threads that are ready for us now. Maybe the fifth or the fiftieth time you hear something is going to be the time it “takes.” And then it will be the first time you actually “hear” it.

I realized that I had been saying to Jasper, “Poor baby. It’s so hard to be a rabbit.” I thought I was being comforting and soothing. I realized I was wrong! I was weakening him and undermining his natural powers to heal and bounce back.

After my teacher came to me in the guise of an audiotape, I changed my words. I started saying to Jasper, “You are so strong and brave! Bunnies heal fast and you are a perfect bunny.” The next vet visit went much better. His wound was finally knitting together and had no sign of infection. (He did pop a stitch, however, so I dropped the “strong” and now just tell him he’s brave and rabbits heal fast!)

Of course, the process of unraveling threads is ongoing. I’m still playing with deep listening for a while now so I’m sure there will be more opportunities for growth. Now, however, instead of longing for a singular guru to guide my growth, I am grateful knowing that thousands have come to help me thus far and thousands more will come to help me unravel the threads binding my light.

With Blessings - Reverend Shari.