We enjoyed exploring connection of self efficacy with wellness and performance on a retreat recently.  In Bandura’s opinion, self-efficacy is trust in our own capacity to achieve a specific goal or adopt a specific behaviour.   Our personal experiences are the key source. But so are the vicarious experiences of others. We can foster trust in our ability to do something by seeing others succeed.

Everyone is a teacher

Everyone has something to teach us.  Some people however take our learning to a deeper level. They are our positive role-models. And they hold mastery in what they do. They have characteristics we want to emulate. And have knowledge we want to learn.  They come in a variety of forms.  Sometimes with a big label. Sometimes cleverly in disguise.  They can be our loved ones or famous strangers.  We can find them everywhere. But to recognise them we often have to get rid of our own prejudices. And question our own beliefs and behaviours.

A role model

S.N.Goenka, meditation teacher and responsible for popularising Vipassana around the globe, was one of those positive role-models for me. And undoubtedly for millions of others.

I never met Goenka. My experience of him is listening to his chants, instructions and perspectives via recordings.  I remember hearing him chant. And how it made me at first feel physically ill. I wanted to get up and run from that meditation hall.  Obviously in experiencing such a strong reaction, I knew it was someone I needed to pay attention to.  I had to learn to sit with what was uncomfortable. To accept whatever what was arising. And to let things come and go. Neither reject or crave.

Vipassana as taught by Goenka offers the simplified and direct version of Buddha’s teachings.  For some it is “like the extreme sports version” of meditation. Which perhaps for a ‘kiwikid’ coming from the extreme-sportsmad NZ is part of the appeal.  Aside from his teachings, which continue to provide a significant challenge and curiosity for me, he was also a role-model for combining a depth of knowledge with application of practice. Of applying patience and persistence. And of embodying what it means to serve. He role-modelled humour and humility. And with his astute business mind, provided an example of how to expand internationally whilst keeping the purity of one’s product/service. If I can call it that.

It took me 20 years from when a dear friend first told me about Vipassana, to finally turn up at a 10 day retreat at Dhamma Atala in Italy.

As the saying goes “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”

Who are you ready for?

Photo by Bruno Kelzer on Unsplash


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