This is a great description of what a teacher’s task is – any kind of teacher.
The teacher never tells the disciple what he or she should do. They are merely travelling companions, sharing the same uncomfortable feeling of “estrangement” when confronted by ever-changing perceptions, broadening horizons, closing doors, rivers that sometimes seem to block their path and which, in fact, should never be crossed, but followed.
There is only one difference between teacher and disciple: the former is slightly less afraid than the latter.
Then, when they sit down at a table or in front of a fire to talk, the more experienced person might say: “Why don’t you do that?” But he or she never says: “Go there and you’ll arrive where I did,” because every path and every destination are unique to the individual.
The true teacher gives the disciple the courage to throw his or her world off balance, even though the disciple is afraid of things already encountered and more afraid still of what might be around the next corner.
- an excerpt from P 233 of The witch of Portobello, by Paulo Coelho