“Sometimes the student is the teacher. Sometimes the teacher is the student.”
In Qigong, we don’t place any importance on titles, levels, achievements, etc. All those ideas are concepts of the ego, man-made labels to place us into categories in order to satisfy our ego’s need to classify and compare things.
When you practice Qigong, you are the teacher and student at the same time. You are the student in the sense that you are learning about your own energy and paying attention to how you feel. You are the teacher in the sense that you are teaching and training yourself how to relax, breathe and do the movements. In fact, the only way to really understand Qigong is to practice and teach yourself. Your teacher (whether it be books, a person, etc) can show you the path, but you must walk it yourself.
It is also true that in our everyday lives we are both teachers and students at the same time. As parents, we are teachers to our children, teaching them how to survive in this world. Parents are also students, as they must pay attention and learn their child’s nature, what works and what doesn’t, and how to let our children walk the path by guiding but not pushing. The same is true at work – even if your job title is not one of a manager, you are always setting an example of how to act (or not to act), which makes you a teacher.
Being a good student and a good teacher takes practice. The key to being a good student is to have an open mind (or as we say, an empty cup). Don’t worry about accumulating knowledge, rather you should absorb the teaching so it becomes part of you. Don’t judge, just be open. In being a good teacher, you must sense how your students learn or respond and teach them in a way they will learn, not how you think they should learn. This requires the teacher to constantly evaluate their teaching methods and make adjustments as necessary. This is easier said than done, but anyone can do it.
So remember, in life you are always a teacher AND a student, simultaneously. Enjoy it!