The importance of being prepared

The subject of being prepared before entering into meetings with a pupil or classes with students has been on my mind quite a bit lately. It has also been coming up in some of my teacher-pupil meetings, so I thought I’d like to explore it with you.

I think what got me thinking about it was noticing how different my sessions are when I have properly prepared myself for them. When I do take time to prepare––which is most of the time––everything just seems to flow. I feel a loving presence with me who seems to orchestrate things perfectly. I feel relaxed, confident, and loving. I feel that this is a sacred time for both of us. When I don’t take the time to prepare myself, I tend to feel scattered and quickly can get caught up in ENGA* teaching; that is, “it’s all up to me; I have to be on top of things; what do I do,” all that sort of thing. When I do prepare myself, I really join; when I don’t, I feel separate and apart.

A while back, I wrote a general members blog called “Antidotes to Criticism,” which arose out of discussions Janet and I had. I always used to prepare myself for my sessions by repeating the “Truly Helpful” prayer, and I still do, but lately I have also been using some of the statements I came up with as those antidotes to criticism, realizing that they don’t have to be limited to situations where I feel critical towards someone. So, I usually prepare myself by praying the following. Since my meetings are usually preceded by some busy work-related activity, taking the time to say this prayer always centres and focuses me beautifully.

Dear God,

Let me see _____________ with the eyes of Christ, with vision instead of judgment. (T-20.V.4:7)

Let me know her as I know myself [as Your beloved Son, created by you forever pure and holy as Yourself]. (T-5.In.3:8; Lesson 276)

Let me see ____________ sinless. (T-20.VII.9:1-2)

Let me teach him his perfect guiltlessness. (T-14.III.7:3)

Let me take him where he is and welcome him––as You do! (M-26.4:10)

Let me be a devoted teacher/brother to __________ instead of an egocentric one.

If I feel any worry or concern around the edges, I’ll add,

Let me be a devoted teacher/brother to __________ instead of an egocentric one, and I will not be afraid [or worried, or anxious, or impatient, etc.]. (Urtext)

If I do have any uncharitable thoughts, I’ll start off with,

Loving God, heal my mind about ________________.

Before teaching a class, I’ll often bring to mind the students who’ll be there, offer a general prayer, and notice the ones with whom I do have “slips into impatience” or unloving thoughts. I’ll apply some of the above statements to them as a group, or to those with whom I think I need particular help. Ever since starting to prepare myself in this way, I feel more loving and accepting and find that there are fewer and fewer specific people with whom I need to apply these statements.

Enough of my examples. I’d love to hear how you prepare yourself for meetings or classes. What have you found particularly helpful? What effect do you experience when you do prepare lovingly in comparison to when you don’t?

* ENGA: egocentric, narcissistic, grandiose, arrogant (from my “ENGA teaching” blog last April)