When you feel a bit of longing, or a tragic sense of lostness, with no idea of how to proceed with your life, you might seek out a wisdom teacher to guide you. Should you go with a monk and priest, (like Brother Ephrem in the photo), or a retired lay minister, (like Mark in the photo)? Should you find a wise woman or an innocent child? Here are a few guidelines when a wisdom teacher is needed:
- Beware of magicians – those who make false promises to fix everything in three easy steps, (like the current round of politicians). They will lead you astray every time, which you always see once the smoke clears. I-Me relationships follow with them.
- Beware of manipulators – those who force their way by conquering others, until every foe is vanquished and no one is left standing. Watch for the trail of bodies in their wake. I-it relationships follow them.
- Be-aware of masters – those whose mastery of wisdom ways integrates their vulnerability. From them you will hear about falling down and rising up, through a Power Greater than us, and you will see servant leadership demonstrated. With them you will be called to welcome the powerless into your hearts. I-Thou relationships follow them. From these wisdom masters we learn to: a. Integrate our vulnerability. We will fall, so we practice surrender, once again. b. Trust in a Higher Power, so we can learn to rise, again. c. Lead by serving and welcoming, so we learn compassion, once again.
Are you needing a wisdom teacher? The first title given to Jesus by his followers was moshel meshalim – “master of wisdom.” He taught mashal, parables and wisdom sayings. He came to help people awaken. Some got it, and some didn’t, as is still true today. He spoke in the tradition of the prophets, like Haggai, who said: “So now…think; take stock; what do you really want? You eat but still hunger; you drink but still thirst…and your wages run out through the holes in your pockets!”
Wisdom Teachers know that when the center of the meaning of our lives starts to wobble, what is missing is depth, the return to the ground of our being. With teachers like Haggai, or Jesus, we are asked: “What do you really want?” For today, this is my answer:
My small self braces
and throws me into incessant wanting
which clouds my heart vision,
Wrestling with my dilemma alone
has worried and wearied me,
and left my inner being in shambles,
like cards strewn across the floor.
A Wisdom Teacher once told me,
in such moments of compulsion and ruin,
to make a one quarter turn,
taking one small step
and letting the rest follow
in due time.
I listened then.
I am listening now.
This is the time for surrender,
the conscious embrace of a Higher Intelligence,
I need a Wisdom Way
a wisdom teacher
to guide me home from the wreckage of this worried mind.
In that embrace
the constraint eases its grip,
and I turn,
leaning into the arms of The Guide.
This one is in no hurry,
is not pressured and not compulsive.
This one is running from nothing.
This one stands in that which he is,
in his innermost being,
in simple stillness,
face to face with The Mystery.
Such a one I would follow.
Won’t you bring your wreckage
and come follow the wisdom teacher too?
Perhaps we could be good company.