People have accused me of many things. The worst insult they have thrown at me is that I am a teacher.
I blundered all the way to my bits of insight and inner joy. Not proud of it. Just stating a fact.
And I am not getting any wiser in my every day actions, judging by my continued fumbling at work and at play.
But then confidence is an illusion that one knows what one is doing.
“Confidence is utter crap,” my teacher, Khambatta, used to say when I was a boy in my hometown of London.
“The moment you meet someone who thinks they are confident about how to do things, know that you’ve met an idiot. A benign idiot, perhaps. But definitely one on the road that leads to nowhere,” he said.
Tough words in a world that needs clarity.
Constructing mental prisons
In work or play, Khambatta explained, you are always operating with a fraction of your real awareness. “In truth, you don’t know who you are, and therefore cannot see clearly what is around you.
“Your only protection lies in a surrendered mind that sees with all senses everything and everybody, including yourself, anew every moment…this is the only chance you have at anything resembling success and happiness.”
Khambatta continued, “You will limit your life and happiness by putting up too many thoughts and ideas about how you want things and people to be. Everyone pushes away the people they should have in their lives by stubbornly insisting on what people should be like and how they should behave towards you.”
The result: most people and opportunities for happiness will pass you by – with your full consent!
It seems that who you are now is, and always will be, complete.
Providing you do not imprison yourself with too many illusions built with “confident” thoughts.
By the way, I’ve received some queries about Khambatta. He was one of my early teachers. He passed out of my sight when I was nineteen. A quiet but powerful little figure. His words have somehow been etched into a layer of my subconcious so that whenever I get into the right mood, I can vividly recall key scenes.
The right teacher will have enough awareness of your past and present journey to ascertain your future experience.
Any advice from such a teacher has high personal relevance. Its for your own good to take note.
A student-teacher relationship is in some ways more private than most other kinds. So I will only say that I have tried to follow all advice.
My teachers had different views about personal relationships. Most encouraged me to live and enjoy all normal things in the world.
However, there was only one personal bit of advice I have fought against.
Khambatta, one day, stood up and looked down into my eyes and said:
“Stay away from certain ladies.”
Again — in my quest to find out who the “certain” ladies are — I continue to blunder in this part of life as well.
With heart and eyes open.
– written in Kuala Lumpur, 19 October 2007