The person formerly known as “my Teacher”

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I’m not sure how to refer to her anymore this woman I used to call my Teacher. As a Buddhist having a teacher is supremely important – to have a relationship with someone who carries the lineage, someone who is further along the path than I am, someone who I can count on to help me when I am confused or lose my way. And for the first time in over a decade, I don’t have that. Perhaps I can think of her now as a friend? No. That is at the core of the break in the relationship.

This weekend I went to the powa for my friend’s cat, Scout. The person formerly known as my Teacher was there. It felt awkward. We hadn’t seen each other for about a month. In my mind, there was only a chain link fence between us – we could talk, see each other, and even lightly touch if so desired, but there was a protective separation. However, it felt to me that she sees this separation as if we are on either side of a wide, churning river – we can see each other from a distance, but can barely hear, and definitely not touch as the gulf  between us is too wide and dangerous to cross.

To see her behave so distantly towards me hurt. But, I made an effort to be pleasant, and to inquire about her welfare. I felt the chill thaw a bit. Yet when I left I was neither offered a hug, nor did I initiate.

According to mutual friends, she is feeling abandoned, even betrayed by me. Yet, I’m not moved. In fact I bristle at the suggestion that this is my fault. In an attempt to salvage our relationship about a month ago, I opened up a vein and explained to her (via email) how hurt and abandoned by her I felt over the summer. She was not moved. Her stance was defensive and displayed very little human emotion. It was at that point the heart connection was completely broken.

That old relationship is over, and there is no need to rehash it with her. I’ve accepted that she is not/can not/will not be the Teacher I need. But, I’m still involved with what remains of the center. So, now I have to build a new relationship – cordial, professional with neither aversion nor attachment.

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One response »

  1. If you teacher has equanimity, one of the 4 Brhma Viharas, then she would not feel defensive. You need to find a teacher that has the 4 Brhma Viharas as their foundation. Very important for a teacher!

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