I’m off to visit Karaj today. Aside from a couple of hours in his company a few years back, this is the first time I will have seen him since my training came to a close over ten years ago. I’ll be there for a week and, as part of my preparation, I talked the visit over with a close friend because he knows me, he knows my story, and he knows how all this works. During our discussion I wrote down the following:
- Observe who I am.
- Don’t try to be who I am, just be.
- No need to prove anything.
- I am the acknowledgement and the embodiment of Karaj’s influence on my life.
- Write every day.
I told my friend about a similar meeting with my old German teacher two decades after leaving school and years after becoming fluent. It was a chance meeting rather than a planned one and when I saw her I couldn’t wait to show off my German. I tried too hard, she seemed disinterested, and I felt embarrassingly like a schoolboy wanting to impress his teacher. I told my friend I want to avoid that happening again, which seemed to be a good conclusion to our talk. But there was something else. I also told him about one of the last things Karaj said to me in 2003. Karaj and I had just agreed it would be best if I left, and then he added:
‘I would rather remember the person you were, than the one you have become.’
For years afterwards, that line both confused and enraged me. After all, he was the one who was instrumental in me becoming who I am. But my anger never allowed me to realise what he meant, and eventually the emotion and his words faded. However, that line is back in my thoughts because, since I mentioned it to my friend five days ago, I have been busy editing my book; a selection of the best pieces from the 775 posts on this blog.
The book is a project which Karaj and I first discussed 13 years ago. It started to come to life with the advent of this blog and began in earnest a year ago. But it has really taken form in the last week because, having eliminated a number of the posts, I am now working through those that remain with a perfectionist’s red pen. I have spent the past few days reading closely the account of my first year with Karaj. It has been a chance to relive, reflect upon, and enjoy again the early months of our work together.
The timing could not be better because, as I prepare to spend time with him once again, I finally see what he meant. At the beginning of that journey, I was a different person. I took everything in. I was naïve, curious and determined. I asked questions and trusted the answers. I had faith in his teachings and I marveled at their results. There was a clear sense of fun and wonder, like a child in a brand new playground.
Maybe I’ll be him again for a week.