Teaching what we don’t know

We are brought up to think that we should only teach what we really know well. Expertise is so highly prized in our culture and many of us spend long years and decades of our lives studying enough of some topic to be able to be considered a teacher. And yet, perhaps, in some cases it may be that we teach best what we don’t think we know well or, even, at all.

This possibility has reappeared a few times recently in my life, so I am paying attention. I first encountered it in Caves of Power by Carlos Magana, who is a Mexican man trained in ancient Toltec healing practices. He tells in his wonderful book about how he was once someone who led the kind of life you would not normally associate with being a healer. And yet his teacher advised him that he did not have to be perfect or even near to it to teach others. In fact, he was told, if he stepped into the role of teacher with conviction and courage, he would teach himself at the same time he was teaching others.

A few weeks after finishing this book, I read a Paulo Coelho book – The Witch of Portobello. In this story, the main character Athena is always searching for some spark of meaning in her life and yet no matter what she does – she still feels dissatisfied. While in Romania trying to find her birth mother, she meets a woman named Edda whom, it turns out, is a member of a group that worships the Divine feminine, which is the Earth itself: both as spirit and as matter.

Some months after their initial meeting, Athena journeys to Edda’s home in Scotland searching for answers – sure that Edda can tell her what to do next. Yet Edda only gives Athena the following advice: “You’ll only discover the path when you start to teach….You need to teach what you don’t know; what Mother wants to reveal through you.” (p. 134)

Teach what you don’t know? What could that possibly mean? What can be revealed through you when you step outside your mind and ego? From where does such knowledge come?

This, of course, is one of the greatest philosophical questions of all time. When I started to receive information about crystal healing in meditation – a topic I had never studied nor had any interest in – I doubted my sanity and wondered who and what was sending such a transmission. Yet as the years have worn on since then, I have many people of all walks of life and everywhere I travel with similar stories. It has become increasingly clear to me that each of us in our own unique way have the possibility and potential to connect with cosmic consciousness.

The more important question perhaps is not “can we do it?” but “to what purpose do we put such knowledge and wisdom?” Sharing what flows through us when we open wide as a vessel is a tremendous act of faith. Allowing such an experience to be considered ‘normal’, not aberrant, behavior may go far in healing many people who fear (often rightfully so) to reveal their true self and gifts to the world. It may just be that these human channels can teach us how to solve some of the many pressing problems now facing us all – in our human communities and our global one as well.

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