I was chatting with Verge Yoga teacher, Kristin, the other day after class about how we both sometimes feel uncomfortable or out of place sharing our bits of knowledge and wisdom during class. We both agreed that so often the monster named “Insecurity” rears it’s ugly head and screams, “what do you know?” or “do you think that they really want to hear your advice?”
Right speech is all about listening and timing, we decided. It’s rests in a delicate place somewhere between preaching and holding back.
If you are like me then you may feel bombarded with advice from the media. Everywhere we turn there are formulas, pills and remedies for losing weight, growing hair and finding the perfect mate. We are so over-stimulated with “how to” live our lives that, as a teacher, I sometimes clam up not wanting to add to the frenzy. I teach the way that I want to be taught, with silence and space to rest and listen.
So Kristin and I asked each other, are we holding back too much? Are we saying too much? Can we find that balance?
Last week I received an email from a long-standing student who told me that he missed the quotes that I used to read at the end of my classes. He saw value in those quotes. In years past, I would often weave a quote throughout a class hoping to help others recognize its’ wisdom from different angles. These quotes or messages would usually follow us all out of the studio and into discussion and even further emails.
A few years ago I started leaving my “quote book” home after having read Emerson’s words, “I hate quotations, now tell me what you know.” I went to the opposite extreme. I started to teach solely from my gut, my experiences and from what I have learned from the masters. But was I holding back too much?
And so here is my practice. It is finding that delicate balance between too much and too little. It is settling the mind down enough so that we can know how to recognize that place between preaching and holding back. Some Buddhists call it “the middle path” and it takes years and years of committed practice to become intimate with it.
So you may hear me say too much and you may hear me say to little. Sometimes I may sound too preachy and at other times too quiet. Please be patient with me as I am “in process” and am just finding my way between too much and too little.