A picture with direct personal significance- my wife Neal Harris with Betty Brown.
Neal- adventuresome soul that she is- married me five years ago. Betty brought me into the Gurdjieff work many more years ago. Both of them had the courage to "take me on" despite my forceful personality, strong opinions, and overbearing qualities. I feel a real gratitude for this. They are very special people to me and it's worth acknowledging here in this space.
Not long ago, Betty reminded me that we often don't tell those around us how much we value them.
If we don't speak of our relationships and how much they mean to us, others may never know we cared. Typically, one way or another someone kicks the bucket and we're left there wondering why we never said out loud how much we loved them or valued them. It takes a special effort to really be there with someone. I was with my parents for the last four days and I repeatedly saw how difficult it is to be in direct relationship, especially with them. There are a lifetime of habits dominating the exchange. How difficult to overcome that and see them for the people they are.
One thing I like about the Hindu tradition is that yogis typically keep and venerate portraits of their teachers. Respect for the lineage, the tradition, and the effort, as well as an unstinting recognition of the support and direction offered by our teachers, is a vital thing.
Perhaps it seems quite ordinary to offer a picture like this and make a comparison. To me, it isn't. As I grow older, it increasingly seems that every human being I encounter becomes a "guru" of one kind or another. The people I am in relationship with all teach me, whether I want them to or not. Every relationship is a learning experience, and every moment between two people is food.