Reflections:   October 2008.    4th Qtr 2008

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Joyous Autumnal Equinox Relatives,

Trusting your transition into the time of harvesting has been gentle. As an election of critical importance in this nation's history draws near, I have been reflecting upon the nature of leadership.

There is profound disenchantment and distrust of political and religious figures in our time. Considering most have never passed through vital gateways of initiation (such thresholds as fearlessness and clarity) to carry the mantle of responsibility and service to the people, such sentiments by the populace are justified. Yet what becomes problematic is the pattern to extrapolate and assume these suspicions apply to all individuals in such positions.

Though admittedly I have not read the work, I am never the less troubled by the title of a book written in the West: "When You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him." Such a philosophy speaks to the tendency to massacre our mentors, to destroy our guides on the Path of Awakening. Such recalcitrance, rebelliousness and defiance of our elders and teachers actually undermines and impedes the journey of learning. My perspective and experience as a result of my global travels is quite the contrary. In Asia and amongst indigenous cultures worldwide there is a reverence, respect and gratitude for the wisdom keepers - one's elders and mentors - an acknowledgment and honouring of their often lifelong dedication, devotion and service to the Path. This is exemplified by the tradition observed when entering a temple or dojo - one bows to the Ancestors, then the master (head monk or sensei) then to the others in attendance. In essence, one expresses humility in order to enter the gates of learning, one empties the vessel of self importance for it to be filled with the wisdom and practices of the craft to which one is called.

Yet in the colonial world there is a fundamental defiance of authority, an unwillingness to surrender to the mentor, to relinquish the illusion of control in order to gain knowledge and experience. Generally, the pattern in a tutelary relationship in the West is first characterized by an elevation, even deification, of the teacher by the neophyte followed by the master's destruction when the student realizes the humanity of the guide. Additionally, another common fallacy the student entertains is the belief that, after a short period of study, he has eclipsed the teacher in knowledge and experience and they are now equals - peers or colleagues on the path - and therefore, the student is no longer in need of further training or guidance. This latter dynamic is a symptom of the student's hubris, disrespect and lack of patience, the penchant for swift answers and short cuts.

Naturally, the student never loses autonomy - the capacity and freedom to make decisions, however, in order to learn, surrendering and trusting in the guidance and direction of the mentor is essential. In other words, the neophyte must become teachable. Only then is evolution and mastery of the way possible. Otherwise, the road of learning is fraught with unnecessary hardship, conflict and struggle.

I often wonder: if one is unable to release control and constantly resists the directives of a mentor in human form (for whom the student chose to follow), how can an aspirant ever surrender to the Source - trust the guidance of the Mystery, Earth and Ancient Ones?

Prayers for opening and relaxing to allow your gifts to be recognized and harvested by venerated teachers and the Source- to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff so your kernel may nourish countless others in time, with patience, proper training and tutelage.

Phillip

Last updated Oct 1, 2008