A famous spiritual teacher once said that the secret to his happiness was that he “doesn’t mind what happens” – meaning, I think, that he was always willing to accept the present moment precisely as it was. He knew that the present moment was all he ever had, and that therefore it was useless to resist it. He had seen the truth that resistance to the present moment is what causes all the problems in life, and he had made up his mind to avoid problems by simply relaxing and “not minding what happens”. He would willingly accept and even embrace whatever came his way, looking for its concealed blessings and benefits. I could certainly make use of this truth in my teaching, because, as it stands now, I refuse far more present moments than I accept. In fact, I seem to be almost constantly resisting what’s happening in my classroom, from the actions of my students to the outcomes of my lessons. I spend my days in the classroom picking and choosing – accepting this moment, combating this one, welcoming these two moments, spurning those four. This is disordered behavior, because if the present moment is all I ever have, to reject it is as foolish as trying to make Monday instantly transform into Friday. If this moment in my classroom, when the lesson seems to be lagging and the lassitude seems more present than spiritedness , is the only moment available to me, then it must somehow be right, letter-perfect, suitable, and superb. My job as a teacher is not to reject that moment, but to respectfully accept it and feel the special force inside it. There’s something profoundly perfect in every moment in my classroom, and I can discover it if, like the spiritual teacher, I simply slow down, loosen up, and don’t mind what happens.
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