Some have said that a teacher’s work is never done. In that statement, we see a reflection of the infinite cycle we live as teachers, the constant flux and flow between acts of teaching and learning.
As teachers, we are constantly learning. We grow in our understanding, our ability to perceive and respond, and our effectiveness as guides for the development of others. At the same time, we shepherd our students through their transformations, as they learn to become teachers of themselves. The gift of the teacher is to hold the space within these exchanges, allowing for the evolvement of both teacher and student.
Every teacher serves as a placeholder, a touchstone, a point of stillness, by which others move and develop.
Within your teaching experience, do you still see yourself as a student? Why or why not?
How may you help your students understand that all teachers are students, as they continue to learn, and all students are teachers, as they learn to teach themselves?
Live in a way that shows you have given everything to life and
have nothing left to take with you in death.
Both life and death are transcendent by nature, each influencing the other. We like to separate life and death, believing as we do, in a linear progression between these states. But, as we know, life is multi-dimensional and so is death. Transcendent aspects exist in both. The decision then comes to us whether we want to engage or ignore these transcendent qualities.
How are you planning to change your life through understanding the transcendent nature of death and dying?
We may think of our lives being bordered by two transcendent events, birth and death. The energy of transformation is so apparent within these states. We may think of these events as one time occurrences in our lives. In some ways, this perspective is correct, but in other ways it ignores the transcendent energy we experience throughout our lives.
What does death teach us about the transcendent nature of life?
Can you think of a time that death (in any form) occurred in your life and this death provided the opportunity for something new to begin?
Transcendence is a state of transformation. We can see the physical transformations, of course, as life and living transition to death and dying. Within this transformation, old states are left behind. The states left behind are not only physical, though. In death and dying, relationships are transformed within the self and amongst others. The transformative power of death and dying touches us on all levels.
With death and dying, what states are transformed?
Do we recognize the transcendent nature of death or do we long to hold onto life as it was?
We often think of death as a single, physical experience. Yet, we can all suffer many small “deaths” throughout our lives and the lives of others. These small deaths may actually propel our ascendance and evolution. As we learn to understand and respond to these “small deaths”, we come to a greater understanding of the transformative nature of death. We move beyond this moment in time into the possible.
With death and dying, what possibilities are present in this moment and beyond?
How can we ascend “small deaths” in order to come to a new understanding of the significant deaths we all experience in life?
One of the principles of ascendance is that thoughts and actions should contribute towards the “greatest good for all”. Our decisions should be made with the understanding that we are seeking the “greatest good” in all situations. For this understanding to emerge, however, we need a higher perspective than the moment that is directly in front of us. We need to see beyond ourselves and note the interconnectedness between ourselves, others, and our actions.
How does death and dying ask us to focus both on what is happening in the moment and also finding a perspective beyond this moment?
You do not live forever. Your actions do. What actions are you manifesting that create the most benefit for everyone?
Life and living are multi-dimensional experiences. We live and express ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, and in other ways. What is sometimes overlooked, when we lack awareness, is that death and dying are also multi-dimensional.
In fact, one of the greatest pains surrounding death and dying is the multi-dimensional aspect. We are often caught by surprise when one or more of the dimensions of death impact us more than expected.
Picture someone dying or picture your own death. How many dimensions are affected with one person’s death?
How can our understanding of the multi-dimensional process of death help us understand how we share our lives on multiple levels?
When we are aware, we react less and reflect more, as awareness asks us to assess the possible actions available. Too often, we choose actions based on reactive responses that have worked for us in the past. This reactive state is likely to happen in high stress situations, those that death and dying often invoke. These reactive responses can then cause further pain and confusion, compounding the hurt and loss surrounding death and dying. Rather than reacting, awareness asks us to reflect before responding.
What are some reactive actions that people may have towards death and dying?
How can our reactions to death and dying cause further pain and confusion?
Death and dying tend to awaken different states of presence in people. One person may be very demonstrative in his or her expressions of grief. Someone else may choose to be more reserved. Still, another may become angry. We can not assume how we, or others, will be present, or “show up”, in death or dying. The state of presence surrounding death and dying is a manifestation unique to each person. The same way we respect each person’s choices in life and living, we must do the same with their chosen state of presence in death and dying.
What states of presence may be invoked by death and dying?
How can we honor the different states of presence that death and dying may elicit- in ourselves and others?
Each person is free to make his or her own choices in life and in death. We may become judgmental of ourselves and others, thinking life and death must happen in a certain way.
Choices around death and dying may not be seen as choices at all, but rather prescribed actions that someone “must” follow. These prescriptions may arise form one’s religious beliefs, culture, or family views. Any and all choices around death and dying are neither “right” nor “wrong”, neither “good” nor “bad”. The same goes for life and living. Both states ask us to embrace the possibility of choice.
Do you feel options exist for honoring death and dying, in yourself and others, or do you have certain expectations that must be met?
How does the honoring of choices in death and dying reflect how we honor choices in life and living?