Today I begin another class, a college course, with a syllabus, credits, and grades. We’ll meet for ten weeks, three hours a week, just 15 students. While it sounds completely ordinary, I’ll ask students to think about how we might really learn within the constraints of this oppressive system. I’ll propose that a way to do this is to imagine our class as a storytelling teahouse.
We will honor the teahouse virtues:
We will also be conscious of how we are transformed at the threshold of this space. The door of the teahouse is short and narrow. To get in we must remove our armor and weapons. This brings vulnerability. We must bow and get down on our hands and knees. This induces humility. Now we are open to being affected by what happens in that moment.
We recognize that we are all imperfect human beings, the same and wonderfully different. The master is there in service. And we can be there just as we are. If others speak, we can listen with compassion. If we choose to speak, we can share our stories from our hearts.
What happens can be a tiny miracle.