Here is our newly arrived Thai massage student to study with a well-known teacher in Thailand. To his surprise and dismay, the teacher continues to smoke cigarette after cigarette while he teaches.
He goes to another famous healer/teacher and discovers that he doesn’t smoke, but his personal life is a mess and he has a lot of problems with his girlfriend.
Once again, another known teacher has an overwhelmed ego. These are not examples that I just made up, but eleven years ago, I was this new Thai massage student in Thailand, and I studied with these teachers. Body Massage in JLT
Life is rarely what we imagine it to be. Our ideal perception of a healer is a calm, spiritual, modest, and kind person, ideally vegetarian, meditative, non-drinker, and non-smoker. A saint in other words. Shouldn’t the master’s healing abilities be reflected in every part of his life, shouldn’t there be congruence between all aspects of his life? Logic tells us it should be that way, but life tells us otherwise.
The first time I saw the chain smoker, he looked at me and pointed out that he had an ankle problem. This was very true as I had severely sprained my ankle several months before and the ankle was still causing me a lot of problems. Then the teacher told me to lie down and started working on my ankle for a few minutes. Then he adjusted my ankle with a crunch like when a chiropractor adjusts your back. It costs nothing. After the treatment, he lit a cigarette and we chatted for a while.
I struggled to reconcile his great talent, his intuitive powers, and his smoking habit. After experiencing many of these challenges with Thai massage teachers, I decided that I needed to change my expectations. After all, there is no point in expecting life to be one-sided when in fact it is not.
It is similar to a relationship or a marriage. We often make the mistake of expecting our partner to be perfectly compatible in all areas: a sexually perfect partner, a perfect communicator, a dance partner, a sports partner, an intellectual, emotionally stable, and supportive partner, an excellent cook, gardener, or handyman.
What a huge responsibility it is for a partner to live up to such a romanticized image! Of course, no one can fill that role, and having such expectations is the fastest path to a failed relationship.
I had to learn my lessons in this field, and it helped me with my less than perfect Thai massage teachers. Many students put teachers on a pedestal and make them gurus. I have seen this both in the Thai massage scene and in the yoga community. Students expect them to act like the perfect instructor they imagine. Certainly, there are healers and teachers who are truly balanced in all walks of life, but they are a minority.
A great talent in any area of life does not make a saint. It is possible to create excellent music while having a completely unpredictable personality. Ask Mozart. It is possible to be an inspiration to the world and have a totally messy personal life. Ask Marilyn Monroe and many other famous people. And it is possible to be a great Thai massage master and healer and be addicted to nicotine.
It is better not to put the masters on a pedestal and worship them like a guru. It is better to accept their talents and gifts without expecting them to be holy on all levels. Being adored and glorified does not assist instructors. It just makes it that much harder for them to keep their egos in check. Spa in Jumeirah
Human beings are full of imperfections and these are our opportunities for learning and growth. Some people have great talents, but great skill in an area doesn’t translate into human perfection, and we shouldn’t expect it to.