I don’t have a degree. In our day & age, I believe our education system is dysfunctional to the core. Primary schools morph young humans into well-behaved workers, and most universities gate-keep information most anyone can find online with a little diligence, and only share it in exchange for a lifetime of debt. Sure, the information is still skillfully transferred, albeit systematically building a nation of debt slaves. Becoming a qualified industry professional has become akin to “government approved” instead of possessing genuine expertise in a field. Its well-known how fresh graduates understand little to nothing about their field until they gain some experience in it.
There is no easy way to say I am a “qualified” teacher without letters next to my name. If your standard of care is merely a university degree, your best bet is to continue your search. No one has been there to monitor, edit and grade my performance at researching the human psyche. No one has taught me proven techniques to offer solutions to common mental-emotional problems, or helped me memorize all of the applicable laws when it comes to this industry. In that aspect, I am quite unqualified.
While there is no easy way to say this, there is indeed a hard way. And by hard, I am referring to the manner in which I gained my experience to teach mindfulness. Suffering, in all its forms, has been no stranger to me, and you know them too. You will not see someone in front of you who is trained to set iron-clad emotional boundaries with patients to protect themselves and the patient. This is, of course, a good thing and a standard I intend to uphold. However, my own past and journey into sobriety will always be what I reference from, and I’m a mindfulness facilitator, not a therapist. I won’t be reluctant to share personal experiences in order to exemplify my teachings. Teachers of mindfulness convert negative consequences of ego compulsions into lessons of peace, through dis-identification from their form, taking away its power.
This is where mindfulness facilitators & teachers differ from counselors or therapists. Through your sessions with a therapist, their minds are clicking the entire time you’re both talking, analyzing, evaluating, interpreting. Sessions with a mindfulness teacher are driven from presence, with or without structural execution or formality. They recognize the presence within you as one with their own presence, and they listen to the expressions of ego without judgement. Ultimately, presence always has the power to dissolve egoic pain, so anyone who is aware of their presence can speak to another from this state and be considered a mindfulness teacher. That which points to the ultimate truth and cannot be told to you by another, you must experience yourself. I will only be a guide to show you how I practice, offering wisdom from the space of now. However, this is not enough to be considered a good teacher. Good teachers help you heal, great ones guide you to thrive on your own volition. This is how I will do this for you.
Within our own minds, the ceaseless thoughts we have are often all we know to be real, our very existence. Our emotions. Our experience of our physical senses. Pretty much the scope of what we know. These diverse modes of experience have one thing in common; the one that is experiencing. Think of a different sock puppet for each of your modes of experience; physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Each one has their own rules, their own states of being they tend to induce. They are tied to, yet fundamentally different from, one another. The experiencer, the watcher, or the presence, is the hand that puts on each of the sock puppets. You are essentially the hand, not the puppets themselves. They would be lifeless without your hand.
And that is essentially who I will be speaking as, and to, in our sessions. Everyone has an ego. A personal ego, and likely a number of collective egos, like your job, religion, family, etc. I definitely have an ego. However, the modality of presence and “quieting” of the mind has been deeply integrated in my day to day experience, giving egoic challenges and dysfunctionality space to be accepted and let go of. There is not a “level” of superiority when it comes to mindfulness counselors, their only difference is their varying degrees of presence. Like riding a bike, once I’ve shared the how with you, you’ll have that knowing forever. The only difference between you, me, and the ascended masters is our degrees of peace, which are ever fluctuating. This is the only qualification. Nothing additional is needed to quiet your own mind, except the untethering of your thought patterns from your conscious awareness. Presence is what’s left when mind is hushed.
So, just as your presence is “aware” of your ego, there I will sit, being the presence for yours. This is the common thread through all mindfulness teachers’ practice. We have discovered that space within ourselves; and have become aware of it enough that we feel compelled to share it with the world. Not as a belief to shove down your throat. But as a decreasing of the mind and all its labels. An eradicating of what is not real in you to uncover the peace that was there all along.
I feel personally called to find my fellow mindful addicts because, well, I’ve gotten to do a bunch of drugs, get addicted and have the absolute shit beat out of me by life, winding up flat on my face and having to pick my own self up out of the dirt. If I could have letters after my name for those credentials… maybe Dr. Elizabeth Knell, F.U.B.A.R? All jokes aside, I must acknowledge that the lack of professional training in psychology has me feeling as if I am not serving humanity with the greatest possible integrity. I want all souls that I touch to know there is no end to the depth of my compassion for them. There is no harm I ever desire to inflict on them, intentionally or unintentionally. I am dedicated to being honest and genuine through my work. I lead and conduct myself always for the benefit of all. That is my life’s purpose now, you are my life purpose now.