Attributions: The labels that define our role
I have been giving some consideration to the impact of the title of ‘teacher’. Perhaps this might seem like semantics, but words and labels are powerful creators and so the ones we choose become determinant of our personal expression. What I have been considering is the application of the ‘guide’ archetype. This is reflective of where I feel the most gracious and potent experiences of the practice reside. When we assume the identity of the guide we stay in direct relationship to our own studentship, our continual learning and unveiling. This honours the ardent practitioner who willingly adopts the position of communicator, offering up the results of their seeking as an example for others exploration and examination. It is less authoritative and more collaborative and feels more truthful to me to be in the role of lamp lighting the path we are all traveling on together.
Yoga and all of its various intersecting practices, faiths, wisdom traditions and new age additions, is path of seekers. In my own contemplation I feel that we are most balanced when we pay homage to that sacred lineage by learning its history, studying its roots and upholding its classic teachings while also remaining true to its essence and adopting the Seeker within ourselves. The Seeker is born in connection to the ancient wisdom that has paved the path and in mapping our own internal journeying, following our own renegade hearts in exploration and bearing witness to the unfolding. Here we are bringing new relevance to the practice and remembering to be the vessel for it rather than trying to possess it in any way shape or form.
There is in this, an honest recognition of the beautiful imperfectness of the individual process, the pitfalls and trips, while also acknowledging dedication and steadfast commitment to a perennial learning and devotion to this practice. While we exist in a space of identities and roles, the words we utilize to paint pictures of them create their essence and solidify their expression but ultimately it is this – something communal and continuous that is untethered from the need to assign titles and allows for a collective homecoming to transpire which is what our internal navigation is set to guide for.
Whether the title is Teacher, Guide, Practitioner, Student, Disciple or any other, the implication is that we are always, and all ways, evoking a lifelong learning (and unlearning). Herein lies the recognition that, as Ram Dass says “we’re all just walking each other home” – this human existence and this path is an interconnected effort. What one of us does, we all do. Any degree of waking creates space and potential for more of the same. So, however we come to it, beyond any labels, as space holders or by being held and guided, we are creating for and with one another.