• Vanessa Anstee

Who was the first master?

In my twenties I developed a thirst to know things. It wasn’t created by inspiring teachers but out of a wounding from the shame and embarrassment of failure. The kind that makes you want to shrink, hide and withdraw. The hurt that has you believe deeply within yourself that you are not smart enough as you are; that everyone else is smarter. Underneath that desire to be smart lived a deeper need, to be loved. Being smart was valued in my family of origin and it’s what unconsciously drove me.

My quest for knowledge, to prove myself, to be enough has taught me many things about the psychology of success and failure. It’s been a long journey and finally lead to a realisation that as Adyashanti says, “All paths lead away from the truth. The truth is already here.”

I believe that the body doesn’t lie whereas the mind will tell stories. I’ve learnt to listen less to the stories and more to the urges, the rises and falls that sit deep within me. What guides me is my breath. It always takes me home. It calms me. It soothes me in a way that external knowledge never does.

One of the biggest challenges I have faced within myself is the dance between possibility and doubt. I see possibility in everything. I see it in humans, in organisations, in missions even in the tired houses that I have been viewing lately. I love to spark fresh life – to create colour, connection and flow. But when I practice a reliance on external knowledge I leave behind my intuitive instincts. I get in my head and give my trust and power to something outside myself.

The intuitive side of my nature is shy. She needs space to be heard, acknowledgment and affirmation. She speaks at the funniest of times; in the shower, on a walk or when someone is knee deep in their story. She talks in metaphors, in single words, in colours and in sensations. She is calm and unattached. She simply knows.

I was asked yesterday when I was questioning myself and in an old familiar doubt spiral, “who taught the first master?” That inquiry had my mind want to track the lineage of mastery to find a definitive answer. But if the first master begun with no knowledge and no one to teach them, they would have begun their journey and learned through their lived experience.

We live in a world where knowledge and information are power and yet self-knowledge is often still underplayed. I believe it’s time for us to step into our lived experience. To explore the wisdom that resides within and give up the search for answers, quick fixes and relief from suffering by pursuing endless paths that all lead away from our intuitive knowing. It's what I love about coaching because as the coach you really don't have the answers and when you think you know, you often don't. You're the catalyst, the spark and sometimes the guide that points your client back to their own internal wisdom.

Imagine, what it would be like for you to be your own master. How would it be for you to have a practice of moving closer to yourself, coming home and resting in your well of being?

That’s what I want for humankind.