Do you consider yourself a student, or have you at one point decided you are no longer a student and that you are a master? OK, maybe not master, but you know what I mean. You’re done with school or university or whatever certification you were last working on and you’ve entered into the territory of ‘subject expert’–at least on paper.
Why did you want to complete your term as student? Now that you no longer consider yourself a student, are you still learning? Are you challenging yourself? Are you questioning, still observing? Yes? Then, my friend, you are very much a student.
Once the composition books and Jansport book-sacks are shoved to the back of the closet or discarded (minimalists I am speaking to you too), its easy to imagine that you’re officially liberated from the title ‘student’. This separation of title may be vital for you because you simply can’t fathom another night with only 4.2 hours of sleep or reading countless chapters and passages only to forget them all the next week. You’re tired and need a break, a sabbatical.
As the years pass on, we find ourselves (if we are lucky) delving into a new hobby, skill, or career change. We take on and tackle various home projects becoming weekend warriors because of DIY tips learned from YouTube and the like. This is the critical moment for many of us where we choose (and not always consciously) to become tuned in or tuned out of our life, our surroundings and our minds.
I recently read a post from Elizabeth Gilbert where she discussed this topic and said to write “student” on your hand as a personal reminder. This simple gesture gives you permission to be vulnerable. Through this vulnerability we can allow our authentic self to shine and delve into the knowledge of where we are. Life learning is not rote memorization. Life learning is a practice one must engage in from many angles. I am a huge believer in Bhakti yoga.
Bhakti yoga is the language of the heart mixed with expression of the soul and is practiced through devotional service. I love that. I love that we can practice Bhakti in all we do. As I write “student” on my hand and sit with the stress and angst I place upon my own shoulders, I realize that if I am ever to learn anything, I must first love myself. If I am ever to love anyone, I am first to love myself. If I am ever to impact the world, I must start with me. Bhakti yoga is the catalyst. Living in devotional service–in pure love–impacts everything and changes who we are by removing the masks we wear. Essentially, we must lift our hearts so that we see and know everything through love and know that our most authentic self is a vulnerable self.
So, this is where I applaud those of you have not given up on being a student yet. It’s also where I ask some of you to deeply consider opening the closet and finding the old composition notebooks. Minimalists, you have a USB drive somewhere. You know who you are. It’s a journey if there ever was one. Join us.