I have been sitting with this for a while now, mulling it over. Longer than usual, normally by now I would have an article up or something. But I haven’t felt much like talking lately.
I always assumed that this saying meant what it said. When I am willing and perceive myself to be ready to learn something, the teacher I need will show up. But this has not been my personal experience, so I suspect I missed something here, and I think I know what it is.
The saying is attributed to Buddha, and I don’t think it has the first thing to do with the sort of readiness we think is meant by it. We think it is all about being allowing, open, receptive, ready to learn. Then, if you are anything like me, when the teacher fails to appear you t know the saying out. It must be false! I am ready but my teacher is not here!
I am not sure that Buddha ever spoke of frequencies or vibrations directly, but I am fairly certain he is speaking of that indirectly here. I was watching one of the Law of Attraction In Action videos when it occurred to me. Readiness is not mental, it is vibration.
If you are not familiar with Abraham and other similar teachings you may be wondering what the heck I am talking about. Your frequency or vibration is not something you can directly change or influence. It is not some dial you can adjust to “tune in.” It is something that can be worked with indirectly, based on the beliefs you hold, feelings you feel and thoughts you think.
If you are depressed, sad, angry, impatient, etc. that is a sign you are operating at a low frequency or vibration. If you are content, happy, joyful, peaceful, etc. that is a sign you are operating at a higher frequency or vibration.
The circumstances and situations of your life are all created around your current frequency or vibration, just as your physical form stays apparently solid and in the same shape it is in because the bits of it of which it is comprised vibrate at a particular rate. If that were to change your physical form would change. Similarly the body, so-to-speak, of your life is the way you perceive it because of the frequency or vibration all the little bits of it operate at.
Yeah I know, that is getting a little hard to understand, so I will use some examples. You get up, and immediately you feel bad because you say to yourself, “Damn! I didn’t get enough sleep!” You burn your toast, your coffee is too hot so you scald yourself and spill some of it on your clothes, you see it is raining outside (pouring actually) and you forgot your umbrella. You are soaked through by the time you step inside of the building where you work, and everything just keeps going wrong for you the whole day.
Your partner gets out of bed, having fallen asleep the same time as you and gotten up when you did. They stretch, look outside at the rain and smile, thankful for all the rest they have been given. They make a perfect breakfast, seem to have a lot of time to get ready before work, even some extra for reading. They remember the umbrella on their way out the door, but decide not to use it at first, just enjoying the rain falling. They step inside of the building where they work and everything seems to fall magically in place for them that day.
Note that this is not about positive or negative thinking. Both people work, both have the same time to sleep and get ready, both encounter rain. But one person claws and fights their way through the day, while the other drifts through it effortlessly. Each has created their experiences of the day based solely upon their beliefs, feelings and thoughts.
How does this tie in with Buddha’s saying? Simple. You have to be at the frequency or vibration of the one who would teach you in order for them to even enter your experience. In our example the partner would be able to learn from a teacher, should they show up. He or she is in the right frame of mind.
But just imagine, for a moment, someone trying to teach the person who is angry, grumpy and feels nothing is working out for them? At best the words would fall on deaf ears, at worse they might turn around and slug their teacher. The last thing any grumpy person wants to hear? “Hey cheer up! It will be OK!”
So I think this is what Buddha is actually saying. When you are ready, meaning you are operating at your highest available frequency or vibration, the teacher will appear! But there is something else to keep in mind here. Your teacher may not appear like Mary Poppins out of the sky:
Your teacher may be your grumpy partner, your boss, your ex, or any other number of people (places or things) you encounter every day. But you can only receive the lessons they are teaching you when you are operating at the highest frequency you are capable of reaching! I know, it would be nice to have some wrinkly Yoda-like Zen master show up and teach you the mysteries of life. Maybe for some this happens. But until then your teachers are the very people, places or things that you interact with every moment of every day. The only way to learn from these interactions is to be in the right frame of mind. That is what Buddha means when he said, “When the student is ready…”
Another example, hard to quantify, but a few years ago (I can’t remember if it was before I was a Christian faith or after) I was reading John Daido Loori’s, “The Zen of Creativity.” I mentioned this at writing group today. I was struggling with this book at first. Not because of how it was written or my English capabilities, but because, I see it so clearly now, the teacher was writing from a higher frequency and spiritual level than where I was at the time.
I was just high enough to be able to access and notice the book. Sometimes that happens. I purchased Eckhart Tolle’s, “the Power of Now” and it sat for a long time. I was operating at the right frequency to receive it, otherwise I would not have even noticed it sitting there at the book sale. But I was not ready to read it then. In the case of Loori’s book, a change happened as I read it. Suddenly the process of reading the book became effortless. That is the first and (so far only) time this has happened.
All around us, every one of us, there are things we don’t even notice, that don’t even enter our awareness, because those things, be they people, places or actual things, are on a higher frequency we outside the one we are currently operating at.
So if you are looking for your teacher, they are all around you, every moment of every day of your life. If the story you are currently telling yourself has closed you off from receiving their lessons, change it. I had fun with my mother this evening. She was complaining about how she was able to watch only one show, and couldn’t do much with the dog on her lap. I turned it around,. I said something like, “Hey, I got to watch 1 show, I finished the things I needed to do, and my dog is feelings better now!” While you may not be able to directly influence your frequency, you can directly influence your perceptions about the things happening in your life, moment-to-moment.
Become a better storyteller. Be thankful for the desirable or good things happening to you, focus on those. Tell a better story about those things you would change. Tell a story about them being the way you want them to be. Ignore anything that presents itself which is not desired. Everything presented to you is a gift, you can claim it or you can leave it with whatever or whoever gave it to you It can remain theirs or you can claim it as your own. Select the gifts you accept as your own carefully. If they don’t feel good, don’t inspire or uplift you, graciously decline them.
No matter what happens to you, no matter how dire, grim or horrifying things may become, you can always, without exception, choose your response. That is your point of power. It is your magic wand. Changes may not always be immediate, but they are inevitable, as long as you keep choosing your response, accepting only the gifts offered to you that support your desires, and continue telling the story of what you want, instead of the story of what you perceive to be happening to you, should the two stories not be the same.
Who knows? In the right mindset maybe some version of Yoda or Marry Poppins will appear in your life to teach you. Anything is possible, all possibilities exist.