“The Oath of a Kundalini Teacher: “I am not a woman. I am not a man. I am not a person. I am not myself. I am a teacher.” ~ Yogi Bhajan
I have a confession to make. I struggled with The Teacher’s Oath when I started my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. When I first heard it, I rebelled. What do you mean, I’m not a woman? If I’m not a person than what am I? And if I am not myself, then who is me? I didn’t get it, and it confused me immensely. Who was this guy to tell me I’m not me? Can you say “resistance?” How about that for a brilliant start?
In this article, I’ll explain about The Teacher’s Oath and what it means to me now compared to my first impression. I’ll also touch on the key ethical responsibilities a KY teacher has in terms of service to students, personal conduct, and roles. And finally, I’ll bring in my relationship to the teachings and to the source of the teachings.
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, of Golden Bridge in Los Angeles, says that, “as Kundalini yoga teachers, we take this Teacher’s Oath. It sets the precedent why we are there and what we are to deliver these sacred teachings. Our purpose is to deliver the student to himself-not to the teacher. We are there to inspire the students.”
How do I feel about The Teacher’s Oath now? It is about uplifting humanity! Yogi Bhajan gave the Teacher’s Oath as a reminder to keep our ego out of our teaching and to always respond with what is in the best interest of the student. He is trying to teach us to “shine the soul of the student,” not to shine our own egos. It is about being a messenger of the teachings; being a vehicle and letting it flow. The teacher’s Oath reminds us to be the teacher and to uplift the soul of each student.
Hand-in-hand with the teachers’ Oath are the ethical responsibilities a KY teacher has. These responsibilities are three-fold. First is an ethical responsibility in terms of service. As a KY teacher it is essential to keep the purity of the teachings and to teach them in a way that is selfless. It is the teacher’s responsibility to connect students to the flow of the teachings and to elevate the student to the awareness of the Infinite within them.
Second is an ethical responsibility in terms of personal conduct. This is about walking the talk and teaching by example. It is also about relating to the spirit, soul, and essence of a person, not their ego. The teacher-student relationships are to remain professional. Personal conduct is to be of the highest caliber and always from a place of deep care, respect, and concern for others.
The third and final piece is an ethical responsibility in terms of role. As a KY teacher, you need to let go of your identification with your own success or failure. In this role, a KY teacher needs to identify with “being a teacher” as an infinite task. It is about being mindful of the students (ability levels, never being harass’ve, honoring all belief systems, and keeping confidences). In terms of the role as a KY teacher, choose right over wrong, ethics over convenience…these are the choices that measure your life (not just your teaching experiences). Travel the path of integrity…for there is never the wrong time to do the right thing.
To close off this discussion, it is important to bring in what my relationship is to the teachings and the source of the teachings.
My relationship to the teachings is one of respect, consideration, love, appreciation, gratitude, and service, always, at all times, regardless of my particular momentary feelings and opinions, because that is the attitude I need to have toward my very Essence.
As for my relationship to the source of the teachings, it was difficult in the beginning. As a pure Sagittarian, I am often desperately unhappy in regimented situations as I become bored and restless, and I also resent authority. So, to come to this spiritual teaching that is based on the tradition of a guru transmitting the wisdom was an interesting choice. I know that, typically, people surrender to the guru to lead the way until you have the discipline of the pure teachings. It all shifted into greatness once I trusted my teacher and surrender to the experiences. Now, KY is a proven step-by-step system to walk my path. It is all LOVE…pure LOVE. I surrender my ego to my soul. I came to explore the knowledge and didn’t know that the knowledge would explore me. It was about the wisdom of yielding to, rather than opposing, the flow of life.
I get it now…just as Mark Ciaburri claims, “My whole being moves toward these teachings. I love what I am learning and unlearning.”