Dialogs With My Teacher #15

Michael McAlister Blog, Dialogs Leave a Comment

Here’s another installment in a series of emails that took place between Michael and one of his senior students beginning in August of 2009. May you find the exchange interesting and enriching.

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July 1, 2010

Student: I’m uncovering a seeming paradox and curious about what you think.

Michael: Fire away.

Student: Although you as teacher can point to truth, experience has to be planted here specifically in order for any understanding to bloom.  It happens like this: you teach, there is some level of understanding (or not), it is experienced randomly and in its own time, then by grace, understanding takes root deeply. But why does it take root through the person, when there is also no one to do the understanding?

Michael: Sometimes it helps to think of it like this: our understanding is nothing other than the Universe meeting itself in an experience we mistake as our own. I mean it is our own, but we don’t own it. Our desire to evolve is a very simple organizing principle that parallels the Universe’s own impulse to evolve. So when a teacher or situation arises that helps us get out of the Universe’s impulse to evolve through us, “understanding” occurs.

Student: So in allowing ourselves to get comfortable with not knowing, the knowing can show up?

Michael: Yes. It’s the same as using an alphabet, as I’ve said, in order to keep losing the alphabet when we are taken away by the grace of great literature. The planting, the rooting, and the expression of the bloom are all a mystery: equal parts delusion and realization.?? But somehow this dance between delusion and realization offers us something so beautiful that it forever exists beyond the boundary of words.

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