The Peace Guru
There is a teacher at my school who pretends to be an enlightened Buddha. We call her "the peace guru" because sometimes she walks into the classroom and says, "I feel so peaceful today," but she doesn't look peaceful. She looks exhausted, the way my mom looks when she's swallowed too much cough syrup. But that's not all. If you say something she doesn't like, she'll pull you out of the room and flog you with the verbal equivalent of a fistful of incense sticks, some of which are still burning. After a while, her words mean nothing, as if she was reprimanding you in Sanskrit and the words have floated away in the dense and dizzying incense aroma.
One day, we placed a decapitated Buddha statue on her desk. We thought we were being symbolic and clever since a person can hardly practice mindfulness if her mind is gone, or in this case, rolling at the bottom of a locker room trash can.
When she came into the room and planted her eyes on the disembodied blessed one squatting in the middle of her desk, we thought she was going to faint. She didn't faint, and she didn't yell, and she didn't get out her singing bowl in order to lull us into obedience. She started to laugh. A hardy laugh that probably added a year onto her life. After that, we didn't call her "the peace guru" anymore, and she didn't pretend to be a tortured Buddhist monk anymore. She became one of our favorite teachers, and we started calling her by her real name, Ms. Albright, a name that suits her very well.
submitted at 10:44pm
22 November 2011
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