Behind the scenes preparation
In Shambhala, there are always invisible resources and partners who are behind the scenes. It is completely helpful to have people who have more experience than we do take all the time they need to think through some of the fundamentals that are behind every class at the Shambhala Center. Obviously, those people include the Sakyong himself and all the people that work directly with him, but also it includes all the people who taught them (or worked with them) and the people who taught them, etc., going back for many generations.
I’m getting ready to teach “Who Am I? The Basic Goodness of Being Human” with David Parker (pictured, right). We’ve started to meet every week to talk about the material and how we’re going to collaborate. I’ve known David for many years, but working on a new and exciting project like this is really cool — a bit like starting a friendship all over. Among other things, we both draw on all the resources we have available — and share them with each other and then with the students in the class. On Sunday afternoon, David surprised me with a link to a video recording of a discussion about teaching this class.
So at the same time as I experience immense appreciation for the work that all those ancestors going back for generations have done behind the scenes, seeing people on the video recording on Shambhala Online inspires the occasional moment of being a bit intimidated, of being filled with too much admiration for all our ancestors and what they offer. Watching that discussion where a dozen master teachers like Fleet Maul, Charlene Leung, and Benoit Coté were “talking shop” was just great: “Think about this, don’t forget about that, you might try this, I’ve seen that…” Then there’s the moment of thinking, “Oh, here I am, listening to master teachers who are also master students! Now it’s my turn to show up!” I had a strong feeling of being in great company, of a living tradition, of help and inspiration from behind the scenes, going back centuries, but now with a little technology boost on my own desktop. THAT is really cool!