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How I Met My Teachers

During the retreat at IDP this past weekend, IDP Lineage Mentor and teacher Sharon Salzberg asked us to reflect on all the people in our lives who had led us to be here, sitting on the meditation cushion today.

I thought about the subway car operator who had not made me late. The cashier at Key Food who had taken my money for the Fage yogurt. The Trader Joes distributor who made the Irish breakfast tea that woke me up at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday.

Less immediately, there was my 9th grade chorus teacher, who I was so scared of that I bombed the Chamber Singers audition, quit chorus out of embarrassment, and decided to take art instead. That led to my art teacher, who dropped a book about Zen meditation on my desk one day and said, “I think this would be good for you.”

That was because there was my sister, who battled cancer that year; my mother, who also battled cancer that year; and me, with my autoimmune disorder, which picked that year to flare up. That’s what I wrote about in my art sketchbook when I should have been, well, sketching; what my art teacher read and understood I needed help dealing with; what I spent so much time wishing hadn’t happened.

I've written about all these things before — this is nothing new, nor is it revelatory. Here's where the retreat reflection changed things for me.

As I was going through all these different conditions, all these different people and happenings, I thought: if those things had not happened, I might never have discovered meditation — this thing that has expanded my understanding of myself and brought so many wonderful people, so much depth, appreciation, and joy into my life. Like rain collapsing into a puddle, meditation feels like settling back in at home.

And so I found myself sitting there on the cushion feeling grateful for all the anger and sadness I experienced in high school — an emotion I never thought could have anything to do with those other ones — and I realized that my anger and sadness were (and are) my teachers, not my enemies; that all my emotions and all my experiences, good, bad, and neutral, are.

 

(Images [1] and [2].)

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Comments

Oh right!

I almost every second forget to look at myself as a teacher.
Great insight, great reminder. Thank you.

the unluck of it all

your post makes me think not only that all things can teach me, but also

the luck of misfortune

so...

the luck of misfortune = there is potential wisdom in everything

?

well

not exactly

but

exactly

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