I just saw the movie, Meetings with Remarkable Men, a film based on a book written by the Greek-Armenian mystic, G.I. Gurdjieff (1866-1949). The book and film are about meetings that Gurdjieff had when he was younger with several “remarkable” men.
At one point in the movie, Gurdjieff is in a monastery. The head monk says that every month, two preachers come through the monastery, Brother Seth and Brother Al. Brother Seth, says the monk, “gives eloquent speech that sounds like beautiful birds singing in Paradise.” Brother Al, he says, is the just the opposite. Brother Al speaks badly, almost indistinctly. The monk says, “The stronger the impression made by Brother Seth, the quicker it evaporates until there’s nothing left. Brother Al makes almost no impression, but what he says penetrates into the heart and remains there.” The monk continues, “We all came to the conclusion that the sermons of Brother Seth came entirely from his mind, and acted only on our minds. Whereas those of Brother Al came directly from his Being, and acted on our Being.”
As someone who teaches, this is often the only sort of wisdom I need to remember–to speak from my Being, and not worry about how eloquent I sound. There’s something real below the words that wants to be expressed.
P.S. My book on teaching, Getting Messy, will be available soon!