When the Student is Ready

Power of What?

When I first tried to read ‘The Power of Now’ (by Eckhart Tolle), I thought it was total rubbish. Mumbo-jumbo, psycho-babble, pseudo-spiritual fluff. I lasted maybe ten pages. When I eventually read it from front to back a few years later (with a slightly different mindset), I thought it was brilliant. Somehow, the rubbish had magically turned into treasure. Wow! How on earth did Eckhart do that?

Party Boy

For years, one of my junk-food loving, cigarette-smoking, borderline-alcoholic mates would ignore, if not resent, my well-intended encouragement for him to treat his body better. “And turn into a boring f*cker like you?” was his kind-of-tongue-in-cheek typical response. The day after his forty-first birthday Mr. Party Boy suffered a heart attack and subsequently found himself in the intensive care unit wired up like a Christmas tree. Needless to say, he was a little more interested in, and respectful of, what I had to say from that point on. In fact, he went from being not ready (to pay attention or learn) to couldn’t-be-any-more-ready in a single day.

Academic Aversion

When I finished year twelve, I couldn’t wait to leave the world of academia. Not that I was particularly academic. At eighteen, the thought of going to university and subjecting myself to another three or four years of study was about as appealing as celibacy. Fast forward seventeen years and somehow university seemed like a great idea to me. For some reason, at the age of thirty-five the prospect of becoming a full-time student just seemed right. For me. Being the owner of a successful business, some people thought I was crazy to step away from my gym (for so many hours each week) but then logic doesn’t always equal happiness does it? Returning to study in my thirties made me illogically happy.

Ready to Learn

Last week I bumped into someone that I haven’t seen for a long time. A decade maybe. It’s fair to say that last time I saw this particular guy, both he and his life, were something of a mess. Physically, professionally, financially and even emotionally, he was always something of a disaster. A likable disaster but a disaster nonetheless. Always broke. Always out of shape. Always talking but not doing. Always wasting his considerable talent. But not any more. He now looks and sounds amazing. Healthy, fit, happy and content. I was pleasantly surprised. “Wow, what happened to you?” I asked. “I finally got my shit together” was his honest response. “I paid attention to what my life was telling me. When I turned thirty something happened and the thought of being in the same situation at forty terrified me. It was like I got yanked into reality and I was actually ready to learn.”

Information Vs. Application

Over the years I’ve come to understand that, in most cases, the likelihood of a person transforming their life (or part thereof) has almost nothing to do with the lessons on offer and everything to do with the ready-ness of the student.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

grasshopper January 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Love it! Master! When the student is ready, the teacher will appear! Always our messenger! grasshopper xoxox :)


Anonymous January 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Not sure what makes a person ready, time and experience seem to be factors (both things you can’t manufacture).

Thanks for the recommendation – just bought a copy of The Power of Now for my kindle. Hope I’m ready for it to make sense.


Sulagna - Love in India January 30, 2013 at 1:14 am

Edutaining as always… :)
It’s true that we’ll rarely run out of concepts to apply rather than the grit to apply. :P


Fiona January 30, 2013 at 2:14 am

Love it! And coincidentally, I just started back at university today, and I’m 52 :-) I’m doing a course online at http://www.coursera.org. I believe in being ALWAYS ready to learn something new.


Jac January 30, 2013 at 2:15 am

Wow, you are so right I was given Louise Hay book You Can Heal Your Life back in the 90′s from a friend my thoughts were well, that might work for you, but it’s not for me. For the life of me I thought about the book 10 years later my thoughts were maybe she was right, that book has merit, I asked the same friend if she could loan it to me again?I read it 2 times through and it blew me away how true it is! I have also got The New Earth have read it once a couple of years ago, thought once again not or me, I am going to dust the cover and read it again. Thanks for the reminder. ()


Sandy Fishwick January 30, 2013 at 9:31 am

I really like this post it speaks to me. I have like picked up books and gone this is not for me, but other times I pick up a book or seen a program or a subject on the internet that interests me and gone this is so me and head down the road with gusto, reading and exploring everything about the subject. At the moment I am simplifying my life, so reading lots about minimalism.


Trolley Wife January 30, 2013 at 11:14 am

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” – Buddhist proverb. When we are ready as students, the mind shifts to being open to receiving new information.


Candy January 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Well said Mr harper :)


Anonyfem January 30, 2013 at 2:06 pm

My life is full of lightbulb moments, usually in the most inappropriate places! Often I received a lesson that I’ve not fully understood, but have stored it in my mind for future use.
It may just sit there, or it may be brought out sometimes to mull over. Invariably, some time in the future something will happen or I will think more deeply about what is happening in my life, and the lightbulb goes on, and I can understand exactly what was meant, and how I can then act or think differently.
It is important that the teacher realises that the fact that the lesson was not acted upon at the time it was given, does not make it any less worthwhile for the receiver.


chebbieanne January 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm

After my Christmas tree moment I met the most unlikely person I thought I would ever ask to be my PT. I was thinking a month or two if I could tolerate him and exercise! We still train together most days 3 years later. One day I commented to him that I really liked some great bamboo growing in a garden I pass regularly – he said thats where CH lives. Who? I asked – a guy that owns a gym where I train myself was his response. You mean the one I must drive past every day and have never noticed I asked?. He then told me he was thinking about training clients there and would I be interested? What ME going into a gym ??? The first time I walked in I nearly passed out – think rabbit caught in headlights – now I am there 5 days a week.

I remember CH referring to Eckart Toll’s book and thinking it might be interesting to read one day. Months later I was looking for a book on my bookshelf and there was The Power Of Now – just sitting there patiently waiting for me to find it. I didn’t remember buying it but I really enjoyed reading it.

Everything you need is waiting for the day you really need to use it.


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