Teaching is the subtle art of inquiry.
I believe teaching is the subtle art of inquiry. What I mean is…We all have questions, and we all have answers, and we are all on this path of growth and learning together. Whether our choice is to seek an answer or provide a question, we are all navigating this path of mystic inquiry together. Some of us are just on different parts of the road.
Thus teaching and being taught is yet another dance of OM, Oneness
A little bit about me….I wasn’t necessarily a good or “straight A” student as a pupil, but I loved to ask questions and I honestly believe that’s why I’m a teacher now, the thirst for clarification. My feedback from teachers in grade school was always “she has excellent interpersonal skills and asks great questions, but she has a hard time focusing”.
Less talking, more focusing…that was always the remedy given to me by my teachers. But I think those teachers had it somewhat wrong. They saw themselves as just teachers, no longer students. They separated the relationship between teaching and learning and thus built a divide in the learning environment.
It was in my senior English class that I decided to use the subject of “philosophy and the mind” as a back bone to all my assignments.
I remember going to the public library and finding thousands of books that explained to me how the mind worked, how thoughts were formed. My first research paper, rather than being full of facts and accurate points, was just full of more questions. These questions were then supported and examined by my instructor and more writing prompts were made for me. It was then that I finally liked to learn. Once I realized I didn’t need an answer to complete the assignment, that more questions more explorations were fine… my mind and heart were opened up to a style of learning that still rings with me today. Learning through inquiry into the unknown….
Now as I teach yoga , I sit in an open air and open heart circles exploring these mystical and anatomical concepts that have been passed down from generation to generation- mostly by mouth through conversation and meditation- for thousands of years. As we navigate all that encompasses a 200hr yoga certification training program there are many times during this three week intense immersion course where it feels like I and the other facilitators are simply downloading information into these open minds. Speaking as a new facilitator, a teacher of teachers, it seems more like a dance between asking questions and offering understandings…or answers….
Each topic that I’m invited to teach and talk about opens a doorway of exploration that feels like a song in my heart. Although I may feel like I know a lot about a certain topic once the responsibility of teaching a topic is given to me, I no longer feel comfortable to just “ know about” the topic. I want to digest the topic, I want to put it in my mind and heart completely. I want to find different ways of defining certain vocabulary that arises in the topic, I want to find ways to explain the topic that reaches past the normal forms of communication that typically just involved speaking and listening, I want to feel the topic in my bones, so I can the explain how that feeling is, and show how this feeling can be accessed on a physical and spiritual level. I want to ask questions to the students that gets them talking about their own life experiences to help explain the philosophical concepts of yoga. I want to figure out exercises that puts the students into their own bodies, so they can feel their own Anatomy, rather than just simply describe a muscle. I want to hear and understand their response to my probing so that I may learn from them another way describe a certain topic. I want to give the students an invitation to read and explain the topics we explore so that I can hear a dozen more voices resonating and explaining the words I want to know everything about.
My heart lights up every time a student asks for clarification, or better yet asks for more information pertaining to a certain subject…when they wish to know more I feel their fire within my fire and I feel the fire of the teachers who taught me. When they want clarification, or they ask me a question I have no direct answer for- I feel a burn, a desire to know more, I hear the invitation back into inquiry, back into the unknown mystery.
Its the sweetest joy to pass down wisdom’s that were given to me from all the teachers I love and adore, like the passing of a torch, and to know that this dance has been going on for centuries.
Teaching and being taught is a dance of oneness, the subtle art of inquiry.