On Teaching Esoterics PART I
by Fr. E.S.Q.S.
More often than not, it very much seems to be the case that the moment a beginner starts to study Esoterics – and especially Pythagorean Hylozoics a la HTL and LA - he also wants to go about teaching Esoterics. Undoubtedly, he is just so incredibly eager to share his newfound esoteric knowledge; however, teaching Esoterics is not a simple matter. Teaching Esoterics is far more than just sharing newfound esoteric knowledge: when it is at its best, is a thankless and self-effacing sort of work. Likewise, teaching Esoterics is a grave responsibility that extends over the course of many lives and, so, should not be entered upon lightly. The following short article will discuss various issues pertaining to teaching Esoterics; however, due to character limitations, this article will not be an extensive one covering all areas of Esoteric Pedagogy (i.e.: teaching). Instead, I will address common issues – not least of all various myths concerning teaching Esoterics.
Everyone wants to be a teacher
Following from the introduction, then, we need to examine the fact that everyone wants to be a teacher. Granted, this is an absolute statement that cannot possibly be true; however, in general, it very much seems to be the case. The question we need to consider now is this:
Why does everyone want to be a teacher?
Three points will be considered here – although, I’m almost certain that there may be many more.
1. Eagerness to share newfound esoteric knowledge
2. Being a teacher is easy work
3. Being a teacher is prestigious
In the first case, we have eagerness to share newfound esoteric knowledge. This is probably a most natural sort of response, one elicited by a sense of excitement in having discovered something as worthwhile as Esoterics; however, it is also a quick, unthinking, and mechanical sort of response – one which often mistakes “making noise” or propaganda for Esoterics as teaching Esoterics. Pronouncing Esoterics from the rooftops is not going to do much good – in fact, “making noise” or propaganda for Esoterics – and especially in the case of beginners, dilettantes who hardly know what they are talking about as of yet - often has a deterring effect on the public. Thus, let me reiterate:
“Making noise” or propaganda for Esoterics is not synonymous with teaching Esoterics. Do not do it.
In the second case, we have the misguided notion that being a teacher is easy work – hence why so many beginners pretend to be teachers, right away. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being a teacher requires considerable qualifications: numerous qualities, including - but certainly no limited to - patience, tolerance, forbearance, understanding, a sense of proportions, a sense of humor, a measure of impersonality, frankness, impartiality, objectivity, discriminative powers, powers of judgement, wisdom, love, sympathy; impeccable character; the ability to think clearly; the ability to formulate ones thoughts, clearly and concisely, in writing and/or speech; also, but certainly not least of all, it is required that the would-be teacher has mastered the things of which he would teach - that’s just common sense, after all.
The point of all of this isn’t so much to scare beginners away from teaching; rather, the point of all of this is to show them that teaching Esoterics is not for beginners. Before they teach, they must be qualified to teach. They must work hard to become a teacher – and that takes a lot more than just having read through the first few pages of KR a la HTL. Teaching Esoterics should be a long-term goal, one that may take many lives to perfect. In any case, not everyone is suited to teach. Some people are natural-born teachers, such ones that are connected with the second department. Then they may have a knack for it.
In the third case, we have the misguided notion that being a teacher is prestigious. Once more, nothing could be further from the truth. Teachers are often some of the most despised workers, not least of all because their work does not produce immediately tangible results. A teacher’s work is, primarily, a psychological work, an inner work: a work of cultivation. As a teacher, you will be loathed, you will be disregarded as superfluous, and you will be treated as a second-rate citizen more often than not. To teach is, largely, a sacrifice. Do not expect accolades. A teacher’s work is a thankless, self-effacing sort of work – a work very few people can appreciate and understand.
That being said, if you are looking to become a teacher because of prestige, then you clearly are not fit to be a teacher. A teacher does not teach because of how it appears to others. There is no vain glory in it. It is thankless, self-effacing work. It is hard work. It entails grave responsibility. Teaching Esoterics is not a fun little game for beginners, for dilettantes. You do not tamper with people’s conscious growth and development lightly. The consequences for misleading, for standing in the way of people's conscious growth and development – whether intentionally or otherwise – are the same, are equally severe. Teachers want to see their students succeed. In other words, teachers want to see their students surpass them, surpass what they can give to them: they want to see themselves become superfluous for their students. There is no prestige in this. There is no glory in this. On the contrary: there is humility. There is self-effacement. There is self-sacrifice. The “personal”, the “personality”, cannot factor into it. Those who seek prestige – which is a relative matter here, mind you - can only maintain it by keeping their “students” beneath them. As such, they are not “teachers”; rather, they are deceivers. They want to appear to be teachers. They want to appear to teach; however, what they really want is prestige, glory, and feelings of superiority.
That said, before moving on to the next main point, it might be wise to say that the would-be teacher ought to carefully consider his motives for teaching Esoterics. There is a very real moral danger that a man is teaching Esoterics, not some much to help his fellow brothers to greater understanding, but instead to make himself appear superior to others in his own mind and in the mind of others. Let us recall that Esoterics is, already, by its very nature, a rather obscure and specialized field of knowledge and those studying it are far and few between. They are, already, “special” enough. The title of “teacher” in a specialized field such as this, then, has a ring of greatness to it that can be quite seductive to men desirous of power and prestige. The real teacher is not motivated by fame, fortune, praise, or recognition; rather, the real teacher is motivated by love. The real teacher teaches out of a love for his brothers, not a love for himself. The real teacher teaches because he must. He does not think to what he will gain, but to what he will give. He wants to see his students grow. After all, the end result of teaching is to become, ultimately, superfluous and unnecessary. The end result of teaching is, ultimately, to stand aside and let your student ascend. Those desirous of power and prestige could never understand that and, so, they are no real teachers of Esoterics.
Following closely upon a careful examination of his motives, the would-be teacher ought to gain a certain measure of humility. The proud, arrogant, and self-important do not make very good teachers, after all – they have no interest in seeing their students grow. The would-be teacher would be wise to reflect upon the relativity of his position as a teacher. Every man is, himself, both a teacher and a student: a teacher to those who have less understanding and a student to those who have more understanding. This position is also one which is in a constant state of fluctuation. As a person grows in understanding, so too does his ability to serve as a teacher. It is not static and pre-determined for all time to come.
Another thing the would-be teacher would be wise to keep in mind is his own relative imperfection. Teacher though he may be, he is certainly not perfect in his understanding of Esoterics. He cannot possibly claim to know the whole of Esoterics as a man, for Esoterics, properly speaking, is not the province of man. He may be a teacher, to some small degree in some particular cases and circumstances, but not in every case. He is still learning, himself. If he claims that he is done, then he is certainly not fit to teach Esoterics. His claim to be done is clearly indicative of misunderstanding.
END OF PART I
Thanks for your time,