Teaching Styles

Coincidentally, I read chapters at the same time on fearlessness in Chögyam Trungpa’s Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior and Natalie Goldberg’s Wild Mind, or perhaps Writing Down the Bones (my books are in storage). Both come to similar conclusions. Chögyam Trungpa starts with the provocative statement, “True fearlessness is not the reduction of fear; but going beyond fear.”  Then he explained what he meant by fearlessness. It’s not Rambo, it’s closer to Mother Teresa holding the head of a dying person. Natalie starts more mundanely, but ends up the same place, stating that the writer is fearless and it’s also a good way to live a life.

Looking back over both of them’s writing I see the same pattern. Trungpa starts with the outrageous statement and then clarifies it into not so outrageous, but not conventional or trite. Natalie starts easy and builds to the outrageous. I suppose Trungpa deliberately jars you out of your rut and then guides you down to a new understanding that’s not what you expected. Natalie guides you from the conventional to the unconventional. Both styles work. Knowing which style works best for you can be helpful. But unless one style puts you off so much that you don’t hear the lesson, read both. See Ganging Up on Ignorance for more on combined approach learning/teaching.

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