Learning and Teaching...

I'm about 3 weeks and 27 questions of my final exam away from graduation. I'm both excited and sad. It's exciting that I'll be able to officially call myself an "Ayurveda Lifestyle Counselor" It feels good to have completed this course. It was a lot of work and required a lot of dedication. I admit that I am proud of myself for following through and completing it. I'm also sad. I'm sad that I won't be in class with my teacher and classmates anymore.

I asked my teacher what the next step in my studies is. He replied "time to stop looking for the next step." I am a perpetual student but I do believe he's right. It's time to stop looking for something outside of myself to validate me.

Twice in the past week I've encountered people who told me that for years and years they read every self-help book they could get their hands on. They participated in every self-improvement workshop and class they came across. They've spent a small fortune on therapy. For years and years they searched for ways to heal their internal wounds. I am no different.

When I first discovered yoga, my search for "self-improvement" was narrowed to Yoga related books and workshops and classes. But I was still searching for someone or something that would solve all my troubles. My search started out by reading books, then looking for yoga classes, then it was looking for a teacher, then looking for workshops and teacher training courses, then retreats, then a guru, then questioning everything I learned up to that point. Still I found myself searching.

Along the way I learned some profound and life changing things. Along the way I met some incredible people. Some of whom have become life long friends. But I've also found a lot of crap. I've come across a lot of people looking to make a buck from the taking advantage of vulnerable people.

After a long talk with a student recently I realized that through my own journey of self-exploration I had learned a thing or two that might just be useful to share. They may sound cheesy but I can say from my own personal experience that they are true.

** Everything you seek is already within you. There is no secret ingredient in the secret noodle soup recipe.

** No one can do the work for you. You need to do the work. Reading the book isn't enough. Even if someone else is an expert and teaches you the technique you need to DO it for yourself.

** There are shysters out there so the old saying "Buyer beware" applies even in yoga-land.

** Even Ayurveda recognizes that sometimes western medicine is needed. My teacher says "If I cut off my finger all the herbs in the world aren't going to reattach my finger"

** The Taittiriya Upanishad says: "practice right conduct, learning and teaching; be truthful always, learning and teaching; Master your passions, learning and teaching; control the senses, learning and teaching; Strive for peace always, learning and teaching; rouse Kundalini, learning and teaching; Serve humanity, learning and teaching."
"Learning and teaching are necessary for spiritual progress."

Ultimately, the searching and learning is an important part of the process but even more vital to our journey is the part when we use what we've learned in our day to day life. Once we have direct knowledge of what we've learned from our own personal experience we then teach.

"Learning and teaching are necessary for spiritual progress." But don't fool yourself; you can't skip over the part about applying what you've learned BEFORE you teach. Even if no one else knows you've skipped that part, God knows.


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