A few months ago, I had an “epiphany”, which is to me the moment when “spiritual knowledge” leaves the head, descends into the heart and becomes an experience. We cannot explain it with words but “we finally get it” will all our being. It becomes our truth.
Let me share such an epiphany with you.
Many years ago, I read the phrase:
“When the student is ready, the master* appears and, when the student is really ready, the master disappears”.
It immediately made sense! I had spent many years on a quest for a “master” who could teach me, who could show me the truth, who could guide me. That phrase satisfied my logic (which is an intrinsic part of who I am and which served me well as my survival mechanism in the past) but, tried as I might, it did not ease my pain/frustration/anger, it did not satisfy my ”whys” each time my “master” disappeared.
What I did not know at the time was what a master truly is. I mistakenly thought that a master was an enlightened person, respected and adored by many, a guru if you like, who was going to tell me what to do in my life so that I could achieve inner peace.
I have changed many such “masters” seeking personal development. Sometimes because I consciously decided that, we should take our separate ways, as I did not think that they could take me any further on my path and others because I was “rejected” or cast aside by the master. I now know that they (or the universe) must have seen that I would advance faster without them, but it really hurt back then…
Lately I have had this phrase play repeatedly in my head. “When the student is ready, the master appears and, when the student is really ready, the master disappears”. It lingered for hours at a time, day after day. Trying to find an explanation for this “obsession”, I came up with an answer. The reason why this phrase was so present in my life was to prepare me and my students for a possible “break-up”.
I always tell my students that our journey together might end at some point and that we might meet again if it is for our mutual benefit but I thought that maybe I should be more explicit. “This must be it” I said to myself and continued with my life.
Strangely enough, the phrase was still there but I decided not to give it any more thought.
Little did I know that I was in for an “epiphany”…
One day, I was on the metro and I caught myself thinking about my life, the health issues I have had to deal with, people who have hurt me. I casually said to myself “They are going to disappear. They will no longer be part of my life. I forgive them. I forgive myself. I thank them and I release them.”
The minute I mentally “uttered” these words, it hit me! I finally understood the real meaning of the word master in that phrase! I could never have imagined at the time that a master could be a demanding, unreasonable boss, an annoying neighbor, a difficult family member, an obstacle, a health problem…
With the new perspective I had gained over the years, I realized that, when I was looking for a master, I was, in fact, looking for someone to do the work for me… I was looking for an easy way out…
When we are ready to make changes and go forward the master (spiritual teacher/difficult person/problem) appears and when we do all the work we are supposed to do to “evolve”, they disappear.
I am not saying that it is easy to “welcome” problems or to “say goodbye” to people close to us. All I am saying is that we should be thankful to be alive. We should go through all these “passages” with equanimity instead of resisting and experiencing feelings of bitterness.
The choice is ours…
*a master in this sense is a (spiritual) teacher who can take any form, from that of an old sage/philosopher/religious figure/public speaker/writer to an friend/partner/spouse/colleague/child/neighbor etc whose role in our lives is to teach us a valuable lesson and help us move forward on our path of personal development.