Friday I taught my noon meditation class. Every time I walk into a class, I arrive with my baggage as much as anyone else. It was a week of feeling unsettled by world events and carrying any charge from my own life. I try to set it aside as much as I can before teaching, but I know that ultimately it informs what I share.
I asked everyone to sit in a circle as we arrived. I had some thoughts on what I could lead through and touch upon, but we first opened with introductions and sharing. Some simply shared their names, but most dared to share more. We each took time simply listening. Whether its one’s name or a personal experience, I am always amazed by those who are willing to show up.
I threw out all my plans and we all just began to breath and gather our attention and feel into support as it was available to us. Those first fifteen minutes of class, sharing, listening, breathing together, were the most grounding fifteen minutes I experienced all week. It was remarkable. There was a simplicity to it. One human sharing themselves with others to whatever extent they chose, while the rest of us listened, mostly silently. At times, as we felt a common thread arise, we laughed. It was ironic because I felt I understood a little more what it means to hold space and this weekend I am participating in a workshop titled, “Holding Space”.
I can’t speak for other students, but the time we shared helped me to feel the basic individual goodness and the shared collective goodness that was present. That is not to say we all arrived happy or peaceful. More so, it was the collective willingness to show up, share, listen and sit with whatever each of us was experiencing.
I come to classes in the role of a teacher, but Friday even though I guided students through a practice, in that circle I felt like an equal more than a teacher. Jenn Wooten and Angie Knight shared this beautiful quote by Pema Chodron. “Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” I think I understand what this means a little more fully today than I did before.