Recently, I was taking a yoga class and my teacher shared with us Deepak Chopra’s four soul questions. The idea is to engage with these questions as you start a meditation. Deepak states:
Before you begin each meditation session, ask yourself the four soul questions: Who am I? What do I want? What am I grateful for? What is my dharma or purpose in life? It doesn’t matter whether answers come to you immediately. Simply ask the questions and let them go as you enter the inner quiet of meditation.
And I thought, how interesting would it be to apply these to our teaching? And, as Deepak says, it doesn’t matter how you answer the questions. Let’s just pose them and see what happens. For today’s post, I’m going to compose a brief response to each question as it connects to my teaching. I’m not going to do any editing except to clean it up and make it readable. My responses will reflect what immediately entered my mind. I’m also going to keep questions limited to a one paragraph response.
Who Am I?
I am a teacher, but what does that mean? Do I give my best to my students every day or every class? Is it ok if I don’t? Doesn’t that just make me human? Why am I answering this question with only more questions?
What Do I Want?
I want my students to learn, but I want them to want to learn. Does this mean that I’m always just projecting what I want out onto them? Maybe sometimes, but not always. But I have to work to recognize when I don’t get the response I want and let go of it. I have to work to be ok with getting whatever they give. It’s not for me to control.
What Am I Grateful For?
I’m grateful that I have the space to sit around and think deeply about my teaching practices. I am grateful that I have the time to study them and overhaul them. I am grateful that I have the resources to do these things. Not everyone does, and I think it matters a lot.
What is my dharma or purpose in life?
My purpose is to inspire and motivate through teaching. That’s at least one of them. That doesn’t always play out the way I imagine it in my head, but I am learning to let go of the stories I tell myself and be present with what I receive.
Now, You Try
Take the four soul questions and apply them to your teaching. What responses pop up for you? These are just thoughts wafting through your brain. They may have little to no meaning (they might just be mind chatter) or they might be profoundly significant for you. You can try this like I did (thinking about your teaching at larger), or I could see how you could use the first three questions to think about a specific class you had or are planning for. The fourth question could be used by modifying a bit: What was my purpose with this lesson/class today?
Take a moment. See where it takes you.