I know this may seem like a strange connection, but today as I reflect upon Valentine’s Day and what we are invited to celebrate on this day dedicated to love….my thoughts of gratitude and love go out to all the amazing teachers that I have encountered on my path. These are the men and women who through their own unique giftedness have allowed me to get a glimpse into my higher truth and have helped me to find the tools through which that higher truth could be released. Some of these teachers I had purposefully sought out, but for the most part, they “mysteriously” appeared in my life at the exact moment when they were most needed.
For these teachers of the latter kind, I do not recall any specific intention or desire on my part that would have drawn them to me, I can only attribute their “appearance” to some sort of Divine intervention with which I became the grateful participant and recipient. There was the perfect grade school teacher that appeared after a year of challenge. There was the pastor that showed up when I thought I was just looking for better music. There was the brick-to-the-head homily that alerted me to my ministerial call…the Chi Qong and Reiki Masters that showed up when I was ready to explore energy medicine, etc, etc, etc. All of these teachers served to help me to grow, to heal and to connect more and more fully with the Divine of my understanding and to my deeper inner truth. There is an old adage that says, “When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive.” My experience has shown me that this is definitely the case and I am especially grateful for the contemplative practices that have helped me to be open to seeking, perceiving and receiving those teachers when they arrived.
It is to contemplation that I give the credit for my openness to receiving these teachers when I most needed them – especially when I did not know this specific need. Contemplation allows us to be open to the tiny signs and wonders that may be signaling the path of our highest truth. Even more so, contemplation provides the foundation upon which we can believe these signs. Faith and trust, I have found, are the fruits of contemplation. At the same time, contemplation opens our eyes to seeing beyond the lens of our fears, false perceptions, prejudices to see with the eyes of God. While it is easy to give credit to those teachers with whom the journey has been pleasant, contemplation also opens our eyes to the growth and learning that takes place in times of challenge. From this perspective, we can turn away from resentment and embrace gratitude at the hands of those we might not want to call our teachers – the abusive relationship through which we learned to name and claim our boundaries, the difficult boss who unwittingly empowered us to stand up for ourselves, the failed class that helped us to clarify our life path. All of these are examples of those situations we may judge as non-supportive which in fact provided great opportunities for healing and growth. It is through the fruit of contemplation that we are able to see the redemptive qualities of these experiences.
So for today, I offer a heart-felt prayer of gratitude to my teachers and invite you to do the same.
And today, on Valentine’s Day, I give honor to those teachers who have helped me through their own example to see and know love more fully. Happy Valentine’s Day!