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Becoming a Teacher—Capital T

By Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa

The moment I knew I had become a teacher was the moment that I not only knew I had to say something challenging to someone, but that I was also willing to say it.

When we start teaching, straight out of Level One Teacher Training, we’re concentrating on timing and music and making sure we don’t skip anything. Over time, we begin practicing “holding the space” and cultivating our observation skills, our sensitivity. Eventually, we begin the process of learning to poke, provoke, confront and elevate—the tools outlined by our teacher, Yogi Bhajan.

The journey is a long one and personal transformation begins on day one and, if you’re a good teacher, continues every time you teach. The challenge is to uphold the identity of a teacher throughout that personal journey. Because even though you’re just an instructor and you’re focused on getting the timing right, your students already see you as Teacher—with a capital T. Your job at this stage is to not blow your cover, smile. Trust the Adi Mantra and get out of the way.

As you mature as a teacher, your job is to become more sensitive, compassionate, and to stay steady—no matter what. Your students will get angry at you, your students will leave you, your students may even slander you; and your students will also adore you and revere you. Your job at this stage is to see it all as the same play and be the yogi: one who sees neither good nor bad.

Finally, one day, you will be called to challenge your student. And the first time it happens, you may pull back. You may not be able to go through with it. Fear, anxiety, desire to be liked, or just simple shyness might stand in the way of you and your doing what you know you’re being called to do—confront and elevate your student to their highest destiny. That’s normal. We all have a moment when we knew we should, but we couldn’t or wouldn’t.

The day that you are called to say the hard thing, confront the person’s soul and deliver them to their destiny, and you actually do it—that’s the day you know you’re a teacher. And that’s the day that your entire destiny changes. You can’t turn back from that identity. It’s no longer an on and off switch as it may have been in the beginning. Instead, you find that your radiance and projection calls out and brings you to the people and places that you need to be in order to serve. In today’s world that means a lot of calls and e-mails from people you’ve never met, or opportunities to teach in places you never dreamed you’d travel to—from small towns in upstate New York to major international cities around the world, like Berlin, Mexico City or Kuala Lumpoor.

So be brave. The Age of Aquarius is waiting for you to step up and be the teacher your destiny has called you to be. The world is waiting for you! Wahe Guru!

If you’d like to support others in becoming teachers, check out my new MP3 album, Another Beautiful Day: Live Aquarian Sadhana. Recorded with the Immersion 2013 students, proceeds from the album will go toward the Immersion Scholarship fund, which supports international and low-income students from underserved areas in becoming teachers of the Aquarian Age: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/satpurkhkaurkhalsa7

Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa is the author of Everyday Grace: The Art of Being a Woman and the artist of four sacred music albums: Nectar of the Name, Beautiful Day, Queen Be and Love & Other Miracles. She has a forthcoming album, One, which will be available in spring 2014 and her story of recovery will be available in the forthcoming title, Stepping Into Meditation: Kundalini Yoga and the Art of Recovering Your Life. http://satpurkh.blogspot.com/