I learned long ago that in order to grow, I needed to experience things for myself. I relearned this wisdom while playing the role of teacher or a mentor. I could explain something until I was blue in the face, but my students would always return to old habit patterns. If I created a situation where a student could discover the lesson for themselves, it stuck with them. I found that the most successful strategy for mentoring was to try my hardest to love my students and live according to my personal values, and allow them discover their own path in their own time. It was hard to let my student make mistakes that I could have prevented, but they learned so much.
When I first learned Vipassana, I forgot all of these lessons. I started trying to convince people to sit 10-day courses so they could learn from their own experiences, but I completely forgot that individuals needed to discover the practice on their own. The second I pushed the practice on people, it became my stuff instead of theirs. If and when the time is right, they will inquire about my practice, or find it for themselves. All I need to do is love people as best I can, and try to live according to my own personal values.
As I integrate Vipassana more closely into my daily life, I start wondering how I ever got along without it. This creates another excuse for me to push this practice on others. The reality is, before I learned Vipassana I was getting along just fine for where I was in life. I was growing and learning at a very high rate without Vipassana. After entering my life, Vipassana has pushed me to continue growing, but I’m not sure it would have been helpful earlier on.
In the end, people need to discover their own path and make their own choices. That’s certainly what I did, so I should respect and support that same opportunity for others. I definitely fail to remember this all the time, but that’s just another opportunity for me to grow. Time to meditate.