Teacher of August 2017 - Jamey
The first half of my life was about a constant search of “who I am”, along with many other questions churning in my mind. What’s my way of life? Where are my guidelines? Where did these thoughts come from? Where did these feelings come from? Why is it that my speech and thoughts are always incongruent and I can’t truthfully express my mind? Who is this person deep inside?
Under our traditional education, I was taught to be just obedient, not to have thoughts of my own and not to make a sound. Externally, I seemed to be quiet and obedient, but on the inside, I was filled with anger and resentment. I was constantly looking for an outlet. I learned Chinese astrology because I wanted to understand the part of me that’s hidden deep within. I wanted to know why I was here and where I should go. I started to get involved in religion to recover that missing corner in my heart. Because my restless mind and body felt calm and focused for the first time when I kept folding myself in the lotus pose, I was willing to be on the futon and try meditation.
Rebelliousness was never far away from me. There was always thorniness to the way I expressed myself, an aggressiveness. My friends who were brave enough to speak up their mind were all that way as well. I wrongly assumed that was what “showing oneself” was about; letting all pour out without any reservation, no matter it is good or bad, by presenting the truth was to find myself. When I practiced yoga it was the same way, always needing to do the really intense poses. I practiced like taking drugs to numb the external body, so I get the momentary peace inside.
But there was always a feeling, a voice that says this was not quite who I really am. Don’t stop searching until I see who I am. Every time I progressed one step farther, it was like shedding a layer of skin, I became softer, more solid and my heart was no longer empty, it was filled with space.
Slowly I can see clearly where joy, anger, sadness, pleasure came from.
I learned to truly and joyfully give blessings, to clearly express and communicate, to resolve anger, and to permit myself to feel sadness, softness and simple pleasures.
I have asked myself how much time was I willing to spend on learning to just understand one sentence, one instruction, one subtle movement, one inhalation and exhalation. One day? One week? One year? Ten years? From knowing to understanding to realization was an accumulation of repeated learning time after time. Learning from the outside and learning from my inner self.
When I was choosing the person I wanted to study with, I saw “her” also being on the path of learning, holding steadfast on the right path, continuing putting effort progressing. I saw “her” vast strong and gentle space inside. Every time I study closely with her, I became more certain the one I am determined to learn from is - Heidi Chen.
I remember once she asked me before class that this week’s class theme was all the same, which I have learned it before and if there was anything else I wanted to learn. “Please teach the same thing.” I replied. “I wanted to hear it again and experience it again.”
I have to admit I can’t always immediately comprehend Richard Freeman’s each teachings. But I watch him teach like a child holding his favorite toy, filled with passion each time. Always with patience and time and time again poetically explaining in detail, and all I needed to do is to “remain”, to get closer, to understand and learn more.
To get closer to the teacher’s teachings, I just need to be myself and to put in effort and grow.
Learning is experiencing and understanding time and time again. The teacher was always there. What changed is the student, choosing to remain or turn around and leave.