Monday, March 23, 2009

How do we choose our teachers?

It starts with respect. You have to believe that your teacher knows something that you desire to learn and has the capacity to share it with you in a way which you can hear. Their experience, be it lived or learned, has to have taken them to a place you want to go to.

Capacity is a function of shared language. This is not so much about English or algebra, but about assumptions. Do we share a belief in science or magic? Is it about our personal experiences, or the counsel of great minds? Does it matter if it is couched in politically correct terminology or off color jokes?

Finally, for me, it is about being seen. I seek a teacher who both appreciates what i have done and recognizes where their lessons may help me to grow.

I spent the weekend with George. He was a successful Wall St wizard who got out when that kind of work stopped being fun. A time which seems to correspond with the arrival to the financial markets of the current ponzi scheme/robbery artists who are currently so fashionable. He is an urban income sharing community pioneer, having helped found Ganas on Staten Island over 30 years ago and helped it grow to 70 people and 8 houses. With its intense and highly public interpersonal growth work it has been quite a wild ride. He is practices polyamory (which he prefers to call "free love" because he wants it freely chosen). A historian and a polyglot, with roots in Spain and Germany, he speaks eloquently of Catholic priests who espouse zen and the scientific basis of magical orgasm. He decoded his own chronic stress (where the specialists could only treat the symptoms) with a complex mix of practiced biofeedback techniques and dead simple meditation. He is unequal parts pragmatist, philosopher and clown.

He is writing a book (that i have my doubts about its completion) about being the Canary in the Coal mine. About what he learned in starting community and how the scientists/materialists can find their hearts and integrate. And after this weekend lively meandering conversations, punctuated by his animated laughter, it is already clear he has much to teach me.

He is arrogant, heretical and iconoclastic. He is a giant among men and i am proud to call him my new friend.

1 comment:

George said...

Hey Paxus
1. I don't think my colleagues at the Investment Management Firm I worked with from 1979 to 1997 would agree to the title "Wall Street Wizard".
2. I am not sure Ulrike would appreciate this pictures and that caption. We didn't consult with her, right?

Hug bro.

Jorge
www.ganas.org