Leading By Example

If a prisoner wants to free his companions in misfortune, he must first break out of his own chains. It's the only way to do it. You have to gain in strength to act appropriately.

The spiritual path begins with a period of retreat from the world, like a wounded deer looking for a solitary, peaceful spot to heal her wounds. Here, the wounds are those inflicted by ignorance.

To be able to help beings, there should no longer be any difference between what you teach and what you are. A beginner might feel an immense desire to help others, but generally doesn't ave sufficient spiritual maturity to be able to do so.

In the case of the lama I spent most time with, Khyentse Rinpoche, he spent some seventeen years in solitary retreat in his youth, interrupted only by visits to his teachers from time to time. Then, when he was thirty-five, his teacher told him, 'Now the time has come for you to transmit your knowledge and experience to others.'

[Matthieu Ricard]
The Monk and the Philosopher, p.154

[...] I must point out that would-be teachers of my work must be trained to put the principles and procedures of its technique into practice in the use of themselves in their daily activities before they attempt to teach others to do likewise.

Herein lies the difference between the proposed training and all other forms of training. For students may take courses of training in medicine, physiology, theology, law, philosophy, or anything else without the matter of the use of themselves being called into question. But in the training for this teaching a considerable amount of work must be done on the students individually so that they may learn to use themselves satisfactorily, and it is only when they have reached a given standard in the use of themselves that they will be given the opportunity for practical teaching experience.

A training in the satisfactory direction of the use of his own mechanisms is essential to the medical man's personal equipment [...]

[F. Matthias Alexander]
The Use of the Self, p.88, 117

Cree children play together hunting porcupine and in this way develop the skills and understanding needed for hunting larger and faster-moving animals. Later, a boy will travel with a hunter and watch how he moves through the snow looking for signs, setting traps, moving across great distances, and always knowing where he is.

In this learning, no one instructs or tells the child what to do; rather, the child watches and takes things in. 

Then, one day, that child is allowed to go out alone and set traps, for the testing of a piece of knowledge is always done in private. And, finally, there will be some form of public acknowledgment that skills have been learned and that the young person has acquired new knowledge.

This system of learning was once common in the West. From barrel making to Renaissance painting, the apprentice system was the way most people learned their trades.

Dr. Ruth Dempsey, who is an educational researcher at the University of Ottawa, has told me that if an adult wishes to learn something new the most effective way is not to ask a professional teacher, but an expert in the field. Most experts have never analyzed their skills and knowledge and may not even be able to tell a person how they do a particular task, but by hanging around them a person will pick up their skills.

By contrast, a professional teacher analyzes, structures, and articulates knowledge in a series of programmed steps which, at least in Dempsey's opinion, appear to hamper the natural processes of learning.

[F. David Peat]
Blackfoot Physics, p.70, 73

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