• Nadine Almer

Reflecting on Teachers, Happiness & Change: The Quiet Wisdom Of Lu Jong

So often in life we stumble across something without knowing where it will lead us. For me most of the time this happens when I scroll through my Instagram Reels (short videos, similar to TikTok or YouTube Shorts) and a free of charge self development class pops up. Usually they tend to serve the purpose of drawing you into buying the more extended version of the process, a whole course. It is clever and I am sure they have a lot of luck gaining new customers that way. But one of the perks of this is having access to a new idea, a new technique, a hidden and not yet discovered gem, so to speak. For me anyway. And then also free of charge, heavenly right?!

I confess I am aware that this does not truly serve those kind people trying to sell their very own creation, even less since I usually also unsubscribe immediately from the newsletter I start to receive after signing up. Still, I'd like to imagine that loads of people sign up for their whole program in the end and if not, at least most people won't unsubscribe as fast as I do. And if this makes me a lesser human being, so be it; defiantly I have to add that I also wouldn't have the money to attend anyway.

But I digress.


And thus it happened that I stumbled across Tulku Lobsang's Lu Jong practice. In his masterclass he mainly speaks about his own journey, buddhism, healing and happiness, concluding the hour with a very enriching guided meditation. Since I am a firm believer of the saying that I know that I know nothing at all, I kept tuned in although I felt a slight disappointment that there would actually be no Yoga practice at all. Which was why I signed up initially: Tibetan Healing Yoga.

Curiosity sparked me giving my mail address and in exchange I received... well, what did I receive?

The introduction and welcome mail was of more importance than the actual class itself, for it contained a workbook with three basic questions that serve as preparation for the masterclass.


And yes, you guessed right, those questions are what this blogpost is about this week!

Why, because why not?!

Just kidding, why: Because they truly inspired me and because in the end I found an underlying wisdom that connected all three questions, even if they seem to handle very different aspects of existence.

Let us dive in- and maybe you might feel inspired to answer those questions for yourself too.

Who Are Your Teachers?

What a question that is.

Honestly my first thought.

Then I gave myself time to sit and truly think about it. Because with over 30 years of life already lived, a lot of people crossed my path. Some had a big impact and some a smaller one. My thoughts started to drift off and a second later the first teacher popped into my head instantly. Which is funny because for one he was (or still is, probably retired though) a literal teacher, and also I only attended his class for one single year when I was about 11.

To this day the tunes of old German poetry and ballads are living rent free in my mind, like 'Der Erlkönig' by J.W. Goethe. I can still recite them by heart, and not because the stories or the words made sense to me back then, but simply because this teacher of mine brought the language to life. He assigned us roles, made whole short broadway shows out of the poems and songs that we had to learn by heart, assigned to do so by the curriculum enforced by the educational department of the government. Back in my days, or the generations before me, all the teachers did, was give their students pieces to recite by heart, with no real passion or love for them at all. One day pupil after pupil had to stand before the whole classroom, recite, sit back down and be graded. But Mr. Schreiber (which ironically translates to Mr. Writer) was nothing like that. He was passionate about staging, about phrasing and melody. He used to explain why you had to hold a pause or go up with the intonation, what the metaphors meant, why they were important. His love for language and his heartfelt contribution to make it come alive for his students was enticing. I think he was one of the first teachers I met that actually was burning for his profession: Shaping young minds, instilling admiration and joy for the German prose and poetry.

I have no way of thanking Mr. Schreiber, and quite frankly I do not even know if he is still alive. But I have thought about him often. Still, only now, due to this workbook and this specific question asked, did I come to realise that this teacher did more than shape my mind. I think he showed me how wonderful it is to spread joy and understanding in others for what you love. The enthusiasm of his character for his trade, language, reminds me of the times that I too felt so enchanted and enthused by a topic, that I could not help myself and go outside, talk about it, make it known, make it heard; either in conversations or organised workshops. Thank you, Mr. Schreiber, for being my first teacher to inspire creativity, passion and love for a topic within me and showing me that sharing all of it with others is one of the most rewarding and heartwarming things there is.


Immediately after this revelation my very realistic (I started calling it pessimistic, but we won't tell it that) part kicked in and wanted to number all the teachers in school that mistreated me, downright bullied me or simply called me a retard that should go to a special school.

I politely declined those efforts and brought my focus to another teacher.

Unfortunately he needs to be an honorable mention without a name because I forgot his name. He was my English teacher and despite the whole of his other student's who proclaimed him to be the antichrist, due to the amount of homework he gave and the expectations he had, I adored every single second spent in his class or brooding over the homework he gave. The more the better. I did not ever want to finish and sometimes simply worked on further chapters. I loved and still love this language although I am not as excellent as I would want to be. Thank you, dearest English teacher, for expecting excellence and hard work, I loved every bit of it.

After that came a long time of nothing special in the field of admiration for a teacher, mostly bullies or ignorant individuals, probably passing on what misery they had been put through themselves. I forgive.

As I turned 14 though, the chapter of my musical formation began at a new school. Our head and simultaneously music teacher as well as choir director entered the stage of my life. It is because of Mr. Adler that I acquired an adoration for classical music, to this day. He was very kind, very correct and very much in love with his craft, composing. I assume that the same passion and euphoria that I experienced with Mr. Schreiber, took a firm grip on me and never let me go again. Mr. Adler had a quiet, held back, modest and very peaceful streak to him. I remember that we, the class as a collective, did something to disappoint him at some point. No idea what it was but usually teachers would scream and tirade against us if we did break the rules. In my memory it was Monday, and we were all sitting in the big room where usually choir practice took place. All anticipating his entrance. All very quiet and not sure what to expect. Mr. Adler came in, did not look at any of us, walked straight to his desk and did not say one word. The silence was nurtured by the tension and the whole room filled with so many unsaid words, mostly the energy of pleading apologies from us pupils. Again, as a teenager this might have been an event made bigger by the dramatic streak youngsters share. But after an endless amount of time past, he finally looked up at the class president. She immediately took this as a sign and stood up, scraping her chair noisily and in doing so broke the spell, words flooding out of her, trying to explain, put to right, voice apologies.

Seeing him so disappointed he wouldn't even talk to us was the most memorable punishment I have ever experienced because we knew that day, we definitely messed up. And that only worked because we also knew that he was fair, always. Come to think about it: Maybe it was also his calmness that made him so memorable to me, alongside the love for classical music.

Nowadays I think of pretty much everything as being an opportunity to learn, being a teacher for me. My parents, family in general, Marjorie, animals in general, ex boyfriends, ex friends and current friends, hosts, places, situations, books, songs... life itself. Thus my life and the life's of other things and beings, woven into the fabric of my own existence, connected and ever evolving, nothing else but teachers. A teacher split up into fragments of opportunities to learn.

What a wonderfully, comfortable, lovely thought.

What Brings You Happiness?

Again, honestly, first thought: What a question!

Second thought: Well, I kind of have challenged to answer that question for myself a couple of times on this blog, haven't I?

Did I find an answer...?

I think I do, in a sense. If you want to bear with me: This is a work in progress, constantly and ever changing. And I humbly go even further by boldly stating that happiness is not ever an accomplished still frame of life either. Happiness in an ecstatic form of experience and it brings with it the total opposite afterwards, desperation. Finding balance is the key to my happiness. If you want to think about it in a very abstract way that is. Though, as my life becomes slower again (which this magical island organically does to you, leaving the huffing and puffing and bustling mainland with its cities and constant noise behind) there are certain things that warm my heart and that are very substantial:

  • The warmth of Marjorie's body against my thigh, her head on my lap and her snoring, that I interpret as satisfied with the day's adventures.

  • The smell erupting once you pour the hot water over the coffee ground in the French press (or any other coffee making device I am using).

  • The hot water steam rising up from a cup of fresh brewing tea.

  • The freedom of seeing vastness and nothingness at the same time, alone in the midst of a landscape or looking out over the ocean stretching to the horizon. Where the sky meets the sea - it calls me.

  • The shelter over my head that keeps me from getting soaked and the sound when outside the raindrops rhythmically pound onto the roof.

  • The hot water bottle warming me while lying under the cosy safety of my blankets in bed.

  • The thorough brushing of horsebacks and them nuzzling me with their snout because it gives us both pleasure.

  • The smudging sound Wellies make when you walk through swampy undergrowth on the lookout for your dog that is probably hunting rabbits, hopefully only rabbits.

  • Life with all its highs and lows, the kaleidoscope of experience and perception and existence.

Underlying answer to this question: Simply, or not so simply, what makes me happy is living life itself.

Intriguing, isn't it?

Is Change A Constant?

You know me: My comfort zone is being outside of my comfort zone.

Or is it?

I came to understand that routine, within the constant of changing it up every month or so, helps me feel wholesome and healthy. My routine usually consists of Yoga, Meditation and journaling. I try to do all three consistently, either in the morning or in the evening.

Yet, sometimes those routines cannot be maintained, mainly because of travelling or because of the new location and a process I call 'Giving myself time to settle in first' (which is an approach I am still learning, giving myself time to do anything is hard if you are a people-pleasing perfectionist at core). Still, answering this question comes easy to me, naturally:

Change is a constant. For me, it is THE constant. It is the only thing that is truth and everlasting. All around us everything is constantly changing. Even if there are people who maintain the same routines for their whole entire life, things around them change and that inevitably has an influence on them as well. Therefore, change is the only constant and the only truth there is in this reality of life.

And, you might have guessed the theme, here comes life itself.

Life itself is an ever changing constant.

I thrive on change.

Even if it is disguised as a tragedy, change is something good, your ability to look upon it favourably or in resentment decides if it brings you growth or hindrance. Of course, again, all emotions are valuable. So honour your fear, honour your hurt and pain and sadness and anger, they are a part of you. Suppressing them only leads to them coming out at a less convenient time later, most likely exploding like a volcano with uncontrollable intensity. Value them for what they are: a process of coping and reflecting and working through to become a new version of you.

A changed version.

This is what we are and our life is about: Constant change with us deciding on how we wear it. Change is the ubiquitous, the all-encompassing source of life itself.


There we have it: Life itself.

How beautiful, is it not?

Something so graspable a concept for all of us.

So near and close to everyday, both abstract as well as concrete.

Have you given thought to it lately?

Maybe these three questions inspired something within you as well?

I hope they did.


I wish you, from my heart to yours, an exciting, enticing, enriching, evolving experience of life itself, beloved souls!

Love and light

Nadine


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