The Greatest Teacher

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‘Who will teach me to write?’ a reader wanted to know. The page, the page, that eternal blankness, the blankness of eternity which you cover slowly, affirming time’s scrawl as a right and your daring as necessity. The page which you cover woodenly, ruining it, but asserting your freedom and power to act, acknowledging that you ruin everything you touch, but touching it nevertheless because acting is better than being here in mere opacity. The page which you cover slowly with the crabbed thread of your gut, the page in the purity of its possibilities, the page of your death, against which you pit such flawed excellences as you can muster with all of your life’s strength. That page will teach you to write.

-Annie Dillard, “The Writing Life”

 

It is not the writer alone who struggles to find meaning in her work or life.

 

I think Annie Dillard’s advice to the writer in the above quotation could be tweaked a bit and read—who will teach me to live? And the answer would be life.

 

Life itself is our greatest teacher—life with its questions and surprises, life with its tender moments and desolate moments, life with its beauty and life with its wretchedness. It is not the guru or teacher or master who can teach us how to live. They may point a way but not the way, because we all come to life with different histories and DNA and hopes and desires. And life, like the pages of a book Dillard points out, has an ending point. While we may plan and scheme and create, all we really have is the present moment. And it is this moment of life, however it presents itself that is our greatest teacher.

 

So trust in your experience, your feelings, your perceptions, and continue to question yourself, push yourself and open yourself to your greatest teacher.

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