I had four classes scheduled to teach today.
Not one person reserved for any of them.
I cancelled all four classes.
Am I only as valuable as the number of people I teach?
Do I count if there is no one to count?
I recall a story about a young man in search of a place to teach Yoga. He wanted a place that to him symbolized the practice of Yoga, a place that was suffused with the spacious stillness he so loved in nature. One day he was walking through his favorite natural place, a sacred forest. He sat down during his hike to rest. Another man, a bit older, happened along and sat down nearby. The two men got to talking. The young man at one point expressed his dream to the older man. The older man attentively listened. After the young man finished, there was a pause in their conversation. The older man seemed to be deep in thought. Finally, he spoke: “I came to this forest many decades ago. It was here I met a mystic, a swami who had come here to teach spiritual practices. I became his only student. He passed away, but I continued to seek to live in the way he taught, to pursue my aspirations with steady focus and quiet determination, to be conscious of how I act and interact with others. I applied all my teacher had taught me in the pursuit of my dream to buy this forest where I met my teacher. I amassed a great deal of resources and bought this entire forest so it can remain a natural place where the spacious stillness you speak of can always be found. However, I am growing old and have no heir to leave this to. I would like to give this forest to you so you may pursue your dream.”
The young man was astounded. He gratefully accepted this gift and created a place where he could share the practice of Yoga in the way it inspired him, to teach others how to pursue a path of spacious stillness and make it a part of their everyday life. He is still there, nestled into the heart of the forest, teaching and disseminating his vision to many seekers, like he himself once was, every year.
One swami, a teacher. With one student.
Unaware of the impact he would have on so many who have never met him or even know he existed.
Am I saying I want only one student?
I would like to teach about the spacious stillness I have experienced to many to assist as many as possible in locating this experience within themselves. So a person may find that, even as they still at times feel that life even more each year becomes a swirling mass of commitments, obligations, appointments, updates, and communications at increasingly dizzying speeds, within all of that movement and sound and color is a core of silence in which serenity and bliss intertwine in an intimate dance that infuses life with technicolor soundlessness. A soundlessness in which everything speaks a language that is the silence taking audible form.
May what I offer be assimilated by even one student.
And may I welcome and enjoy the spacious stillness, even if it is an empty class.