By Suzi Tucker
What is the difference between teachers and gods? Between students and supplicants?
Well, one difference is in the level of freedom that they have. The teacher-student relationship assumes the freedom to change. In other words, when the teacher shifts his or her way of teaching or even what is being explored, the student is free to follow or to withdraw. In this freedom, the student allows himself or herself to continue to receive from what has already been learned.
The learning experience is complete with respect to the relationship to the particular teacher, but the potential unfoldings over time are limitless. In this way, a decision to stay with a particular teacher is not actually a decision to stay, but rather it is a moment to choose anew.
And the teacher is free to build upon the original ideas — adding to, reexamining, reframing and continuing to value what has been even as he or she moves toward the new. When the insights and gathered knowledge of the past can be integrated, rather than dismissed or rejected, the backbone of the future is strengthened.
The teacher demonstrates to himself or herself the expansiveness of the intellect, the imagination, the vision. In this way, change is an easeful, natural path. The past, the ideas that emerged and were honed there, as well as all of those who listened, were touched, and showed interest can be included rather than thrown out as the future takes shape.
The god dynamic
In a god-supplicant dynamic, we see that neither one is free. The god is not free to change, as worship comes with a high price tag. Change tends to disappoint and sometimes even enrage followers. And the supplicant is not free either, as following another is usually at the expense of personal integration, which requires a level of individuation, which is a kind of separation.
In this circumstance, both parties hold each other prisoner to their vulnerability — the need to be adored, the need to be taken care of.
The follower may have never learned that he or she had the capacity or the right to be self-directed, and so the steadiness and certainty of the god feels like a safe place. And the god may be a pioneer, but lack the confidence to refuse the “role” of god.
The teacher and student are free, because the relationship is assumed to be fluid. The god and supplicant are tethered, as the relationship relies on rigidity to hold the positions in place.
Student and teacher
I am a student and teacher who stumbled into the art of Family Constellations. Like any art, the work moves with life; it flows through the human landscape, collecting wisdom, widening in the hands and minds and hearts of each participant and becoming more deeply resonant in the all of the all.
I look back sometimes and think about what I may have said or thought then — and I wonder what was heard. I have released some ideas from the early time and I have found others. This is life evolving.
But I honor where I have been, the people who have accompanied me, the teachers whose paths I have shared for a time, and the students who have collaborated with me. I cherish the encounters that totally blew out the boundaries of the old familiar and the ones that gently pressed against my certainty.
I honor all of that, and I celebrate all of that as it resides in me. I have no need to erase that time. I could not be here without having taken every step.
As a teacher it is my responsibility to understand that I am simply a student sharing threads of a great assimilation that belongs to no one and is enriched by everyone. Attempting to erase parts of me, parts of my learning and teaching, would mean erasing all those who have walked with me and with whom I have walked.
Instead, I pick up as many gifts as my arms will hold and leave the fields of the past with great love and respect.
I have changed and we have changed, and, in this way, we are free.
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