“Don’t teach if you’re tired or not feeling well” my teacher advised us during TT. I’m sure this is overall good advice, but a little hard to put into practice in the real world. Especially for me. I’d got a good early night, definitely not feeling well. Just low-level stuff. It could be a cold coming on. It might just be the usual me/ME. I hoped it’d just sort itself out.
Yesterday morning I turned out of bed at the usual time for my morning meditation practice. 20 mins sitting in the semi-darkness, wrapped in a blanket — just waiting for the bell on my timer to sound. No real attempt at meditation this time, no softening or opening, just a patient sitting it out. When the timer sounded I went straight back to bed.
And actually this experience made me happy! In the past I’d not have taken the time to acknowledge how I was really feeling. I’d have rushed to work before I’d properly woken up and realised that my body really didn’t want to be there. Now the space for meditation practice allows me to understand better what is actually going on, feeling the truth in my bones and my muscles. It’s hard to pretend when you’re on the cushion, nothing to distract you from the inner witnessing.
So I took the day at home, instead of the office, keeping the working day shorter and lighter. And then on to teach, subbing a friend’s class in the evening. My first for real, public class. And I wasn’t going to miss it, unless I couldn’t actually stand upright, unless I genuinely couldn’t keep the students safe.
And it was OK. Each time I teach is just another experience. I do my best each time, according to what each day offers. After all this is how my own practice is: each practice the same, but different. Each one the best offering I can make, according to the rules of the day. Be bold and adventurous, be curious. Or be gentle and slow. Breathe, move, repeat…
So, yes, I’m sure teaching when you’re not feeling 100% is better avoided. My class was not the best ever (even within my very limited experience). But I must trust that offering what I can is better than offering nothing at all.
Otherwise I’d never stand up to teach.
And if I thought about it too much, waiting for perfect circumstances, I’d never do my own practice either.