Teaching August 2011: More Reflections on the Teaching not the Teacher

Teaching August 2011: More Reflections on the Teaching not the Teacher

I am privileged to be involved in very moving correspondences with people from all over the world.  Sometimes we have met together face to face in some capacity, very often the first I know of them is an e-mail that arrives, out of the blue. Some piece of work that I may have written has triggered a journey of opening or awakening.

It seems to me that there is a sort of radio wave transmission which is picked up by people whose antennae are alive to a certain frequency.  I cannot possibly know what that frequency is, so I cannot somehow aim it at a target.  I only know that as I speak or write on certain subject which seems to just arise, then there are people who are equally present to that arising.  In some people this situation might arise from intellectual study.  I do not think that that can be the case in people like myself, it is simply the teaching reformulating in this time and place, in this form, with these people.

In some people the stirring is so strong that they want to also make it, the teaching, available in other circles.  And a new epicentre of ripples is born.  Often this person will ask approval to teach and the answer will invariably be simple…” yes, you should but be certain that what you teach is your felt sense, your experience, your embodiment, above all, not mine.  Thus there is a new, fresh, time, place and space and the awareness expands.

All the time we are acknowledging and standing on, the shoulders of our teachers and the work does the work in a new voice.

Very recently I had a correspondence that beautifully illustrates the process I am trying to explain.  I have generous permission to quote from the parties concerned;

Bonnie is someone I have not met; Coease is her teacher and I, for a while contributed to Coease’s process;

I received this…

Dear Mike,

Over last weekend, I put “trust the tide” into a search engine, and found your moving poems that so pointed toward what I am just beginning to experience in my year-long relationship with Coease Scott – as his client (although that word doesn’t begin to capture the quality of relationship I experience with him – his respect, humility,  deep care, capacity for presence and contact). Recently, he told me  that you had been his teacher for a time, that you had introduced him to The Tide – there is a tide, I am in the tide, I am the tide – and  trust the tide. I am writing because your teachings (although I don’t believe you would claim them as yours), as they flow through Coease, have become the greatest blessing in my long life.   I don’t have any adequate words for what unfolds in our joint practice – healing from significant childhood wounds, a sense of “we” that has

been hard for me find in this lifetime, and growing awareness of what  it is to be a human being in a body is a bare beginning.  I am only in the earliest stages of this spiritual unfolding, maybe a little like a baby in this profound lineage, receiving and receiving so much grace.  Thank you for what you are contributing to this aching world.


deep gratitude,


The following was my reply…

Dear Bonnie,

What a beautiful letter.  I am very grateful that you wrote it.  I have not been in touch with Coease for a little while now but I think of him with great affection and recall all those qualities that you find in him.

One of the important realizations in my teaching career has been that what really counts is the “teaching not the teacher.”  The teaching is perennial and arises and takes differing forms in different time, places, and language, whenever the teacher is ready to voice (become) it. This manifests in Coease.

You have just given a fine example of this happening and I would be very pleased if you would allow me to quote you in an article I would love to write on this phenomenon.  I would have to ask Coease too but you first put a toe into the water and in any case I shall not write to Coease about this unless I have your permission. I look forward to hearing from you.

Very kind regards,


She came back…

Dear Mike, How sweet to find your email this morning!

I would be deeply honored for you to quote what i have written in any way that would be useful, and i will let Coease know that he is free to talk about our work as well. If there is more you would like me to say, i am open to that as well, and perhaps this is just right as it is. i feel joy inside at making this connection with you, too, Mike.

My heart would like to share two other experiences. The work with Coease is significantly influencing my work as a trauma therapist, day by day – allowing a small amount of greater stillness to be present, changing the pace, deepening the respect, even changing the words i speak – and i see how this brings a greater safety that allows my people to open in a little different way than ever before. i am so grateful for this. The other is that for all kinds of valid reasons, my spiritual life had seemed to be dormant for a long time, a great sorrow for me. So to find myself given, by purest grace, a second chance, at 68, to deepen in this way is the most meaningful experience of my life. i have the sense of being drawn into a river of grace, not of my own doing at all.

I wish you every blessing,


Coease has graciously given his approval as well so I would like to share the whole thing with you all. Would anyone else like to contribute thoughts?



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