Seeing Beyond Our Conditioning

By October 28, 2016Dennis Curran, Teachers Course

From the lecture as part of Japa Meditation Teachers Course, October 2016:

Our role as teachers

Surviving by the skin of your teeth all the time is not a good thing. You are sitting here because you want to learn and grow and teach others.  It can be frustrating working with people because you have a 40-year-old sitting in front of you, but they are acting as if they were four. Your job as Japa Meditation Teacher is to bring that person out. In the course of teaching meditation, memories, feelings and emotions will come up for students. You are going to be challenged if your student has low self-esteem or low confidence. The student sees you as an adversary just as they see a person who challenges something in them. That is a natural subconscious reaction.

Upbringing and conditioning

We are brought up in certain circumstances and we learn how to survive by developing certain roles and traits. Some of them can be positive and some negative. If one of your parents has an inferiority complex, what is that instilling in you? These are the things we have to work at and iron them out. It is not a problem or a flaw in us. It is just how we learned to respond. We need to acknowledge that learned behaviour and not judge it. How do you respond to different situations?

Holding your space

People ask me where I get my wisdom from. Wisdom is just a good understanding and clarity of the situation. We come to those realisations when we meditate. Sometimes we freeze instead respond. Then we are not able to hold our space correctly. Why is that? We need to learn how to hold and grow our space. If we are subservient in relationships, then we are not growing. When are doing what everybody wants us to do, we are just getting through. We are happy and feel protected in that position, but when we come into new environments we should grow in them. Stepping into a new space where we have a chance to grow and develop can be scary sometimes.

The pygmy and Watusi warrior

Pygmies in the jungle with a white man

Pygmies in the jungle with a white man

Joseph Campbell told a story once about a pygmy. Pygmy lives in a forest and everything for a pygmy is within a foot of him. A pygmy, like anyone else, will go where they can find resources and protection. On the other hand, for Watusi warriors – big tall guys – everything is far away. For them to get dinner, they will have to chase after a deer for about three days. While for the pygmy, food falls out of a tree down on top of them.

One day this anthropologist brings the pygmy to the edge of the forest and shows him the planes. The pygmy is standing there and looking out and he sees nothing in front of him.


Watusi also known as Tutsi warriors

After about ten minutes he sees this dot on the horizon. He stays looking and he knows this dot is not part of the horizon. This dot is moving towards him from hundreds and hundreds of yards away. He sees this dot getting bigger and bigger, coming towards him. Eventually the Watusi warrior is in front of him. The pygmy thinks, “this is magic, this human being came from nowhere”. The pygmy runs back into the forest, he cannot handle it. The Watusi warrior gets to the edge of the forest and he says “I am not going in there” because he cannot handle the confinement.

The inner child

We are the same, we are no different. We develop in environments where everything is only a few feet away. Then all of a sudden, we come into a new space. We get a shock and we do not know what to do. We see these dots coming towards us, and that is a bigger space for us to fill out. That is the inner child. The inner child is the pygmy. We start to deal with our inner child when we want to look and when we are not afraid. How do you deal with a Watusi warrior coming towards you?

Are you willing to expand beyond your conditioning?

As I am teaching you, your conditioning will cause you to go into your “I need healing” mode. Imagine that you are the Watusi warrior standing outside of the forest. Ask yourself: Do I go in or do I not go in? Imagine the Watusi warrior going into the forest where the Pygmy is. The tall warrior is banging his head off branches and getting torn by briars. The pygmy understands that jungle inside, and knows where to hide in it. When someone tries to look for the pygmies it is not so easy to find them. That is why we have to bring the students out when we are teaching.

What is spirituality about?

The amount of fear in people about space is unbelievable. We build these worlds around us in which everything is a certain a distance away. Only when we get that little bit of courage that we start to move into a new space and we begin to experience. That is what spirituality is about. We are here to experience and to evolve. I can have all the conversations in the world with you. I can inspire you to go to India or America, but when you go there, what are you going to do? Are you going to build the same little jungle as the pygmy?

Dennis Curran is a healer and Japa meditation teacher Read more about Dennis here

edited and posted by Joanna