In the second section of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert travels to India to study the discipline of Yoga. Early on in the section she takes the time to explain some of the important words used (that we can tend to take for granted).
“The word Guru is composed of two Sanskrit syllables. The first means ‘darkness,’ the second means ‘light.’ Out of the darkness and into the light. What passes from the master into the disciple is something called matravirya: ‘The potency of the enlightened consciousness.’ You come to your Guru then, not only to receive lessons, as from any teacher, but to actually receive the Guru’s state of grace.” (location 2404)
What a beautiful way to think of teaching … bringing your students out of the darkness and into the light … allowing them to learn in such a way that they become more enlightened and if we are to pass on, not just simply knowledge but a sort of demeanor. How much more impact it seems, then that we really do have on students. If I really think about this for a moment, it makes sense. Every encounter we have with children (and peers) determines whether or not they want to learn more from us or resist us. hmmm….
Then Gilbert goes on to say,
“Such transfers of grace can occur in even the most fleeting of encounters with a great being.” (location 2407)
Imagine being thought of as such a great being, or teacher, that even a fleeting encounter with a student might move them in the progression of their learning.
Taking a moment to really look at these words in the context of education makes me think a little more about this ever so important profession to which I have dedicated my life. I want to become a Guru!