Have you ever heard the phrase,
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears?”
Although this well-known saying sounds quite mystical, the meaning of the statement is quite clear.
Essentially, a student is ready to learn when they are receptive enough to recognize they need a teacher. At that time, the right teacher can be found.
If you happen to be searching for an aerial yoga teacher training, of course you will need to weigh practicalities such as cost and dates. But, have you considered how ready you are for the training?
For most of us, our daily life requires us to take on many roles and tasks. On any given day, we manage, make authoritative decisions, execute orders, direct ourselves and/or others, etc. Rarely do we get to play the vulnerable role of student. And in fact, most often we are put in positions where we are discouraged to admit we could in fact, use a little more knowledge.
It’s quite possible you’re a bit rusty at playing the student role.
And yet, it’s worth the effort to prepare yourself and be fully ready for your upcoming course/training. Otherwise, you may not be receptive to the most valuable wisdom and knowledge your teacher has to offer!
HOW DO I PREPARE MYSELF TO BE A READY STUDENT?
1) Be early, not just on time.
When you arrive at least 5-10 minutes early, you have time to settle your mind, which will allow you to listen much better once class starts. And, if you’re lucky enough to be in an in-person course, you might even observe how your teacher prepares themself for teaching. Bonus information!
2) Accept guidance.
When your teacher gives you feedback, or direction, nothing says, “I’m not receptive” more than giving all your reasons why you made a mistake, or how you “usually” do it the requested way, and today you didn’t because your dog kept you up last night… etc. It may be tempting to explain what your thought process was that led you into your mistake, but most often that type of information is not necessary for the teacher to know in order to assist you. You are supposed to be a student in this situation, you are actually supposed to be making mistakes. So, the teacher isn’t thinking at all about why you made the mistake.
I advise you be more confident in your lack of knowledge, and accept you made a mistake/miscomprehended instruction, so that you can listen to, and not fight, guidance in the right direction.
3) Move with the group.
Unless you’re in a private class/training, it’s important to remember you are part of a group, and that your actions and inactions affect the group as much as yourself. Are you asking so many questions, that you dominate conversations? Not only are you hoarding the teacher’s focus, taking away attention from your fellow students, but you may also be missing out on some really good questions you never would have thought to ask. Are you not asking enough questions, and as a result not fully comprehending the subject? Not only do you miss out on information, but you won’t be able to contribute your valuable perspective during group and partner exercises. Perhaps one of your fellow students could benefit from hearing your unique perspective.
Each person in a class/training is like a different finger on a hand. All fingers are important, and they work best when they work in conjunction with each other.
4) Don’t try to be the teacher, unless asked.
You may think you’re helping out the teacher when you answer questions from your fellow students, or you assist (unasked) your fellow students. More often than not, though, you’re either getting in the way of your fellow student’s learning process, or unnecessarily interrupting your teacher’s flow of instruction. And sometimes, you even add an element of confusion when your instruction or advice conflicts with the teacher’s.
Frequently, I do research when composing articles for the Unnata journal. For this article, when I researched this famous quote*, I learned there is actually more to the quote I had never heard!
In it’s entirety:
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears. When the student is really ready, the teacher disappears.”
A receptive student seeks out and invites wisdom and knowledge from a teacher. Once a student has learned what the teacher has to offer, they are really only at the start of their educational journey. There is even more to be learned outside of the student-teacher relationship, when the student is on their own, and they attempt to apply what they learned in the “real world,” so to speak.
Truly wise people are perpetual students, their entire lives. Because there is always more that can be brought to one’s awareness, more to understand, more to support our spiritual and philosophical growth. If you train your mind to be receptive, you will always be “ready” for whatever lessons Life presents you.
* The quote is commonly attributed to Lao Tzu. In my research, I found many scholars state this is a misattribution. I could not find the original source.