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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Help Wanted:Teachers

On the booksleeve of Muriel Barbery's 2006 novel "The Elegance of the Hedgehog", a psychiatrist who is also a book reviewer says she has started prescribing Barbery's book to her patients. As I made notes in my book journal after finishing "Hedgehog", I found myself musing on how I (continue to) sometimes act superior when I'm feeling inferior. Then two thoughts came to me.

First, the psychiatrist/reviewer's decision is very apt. Some of my longheld psychic baggage felt a little lighter as the book drew to a close and Paloma began healing herself. At 12, she's getting that lesson in superiority vs. inferiority. Second thought: I'm 61, not 12. And although I often quote Buddha ("When a student is ready, a teacher appears"), I wondered: How many teachers will I need (including Muriel Barbery/Paloma) before I'm "ready" for this lesson? How many teachers have you needed in your life to learn a hard lesson? What lesson is/was it?

I'm a little concerned that by the time I get any of this big stuff worked out, I might not remember why it mattered to me that I do so. But I'm committed to keeping my eye out for more teachers. If you know of any good ones, please let me know.       

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