DreamTime Vol. 25, No. 2, p. 13, Fall 2008.
Photo by the author
Montague Ullman, M.D. in his Saturday dream group, Summer 2007
Montague Ullman – Our Teacher
by William R. Stimson
Our teacher is the one who can see us for who we are; and who cares enough to go to some trouble to draw that out of us. At first we stand in awe of him as a great individual who showers upon us a grandmother's kindness and to whom we owe so much more than we could ever in a lifetime repay. Only gradually does the real truth dawn on us, as we begin to discern that the greatness we have come into contact with transcends this one person. It likewise transcends the rich community clustered around him, that we ourselves have entered into, benefited from, and become a part of over the many years. And it even seems to transcend the long and rich thread of lives that we glean link from his, one to the other in unbroken succession, back to distant times and places. The audacious truth presents itself one day that the greatness we feel in this man's presence is our own. The teacher has given us who we are. We can't know what that is. But we can be it and, being it, see it in others. We discover to our surprise we possess the uncanny power to awaken it in them. Our teacher at this point sends us out to teach. Students begin to find their way into our lives.
Scattered far and wide, we carry on the work he began in us. Doing it is so very different from doing it well; and doing it well is such a longer and richer journey than any of us could ever have envisioned. We discern by degrees the true human accomplishment wrought by this work; and can know what a wondrous task we have been gifted with. It seems incredible at times to think that we ourselves should be doing this, especially when we think back on the poverty and rags of our humble beginnings. It's as if a glittering storybook king stepped into our pigsty as we labored in the mud, claimed us as his son, took us to his breast, and lifted us to his rank; so that now, grown into privileged manhood, immeasurably rich and free, we ride back out ourselves to the land we came from, with princely resolve to give to others every bit of what we ourselves received.
What happens, to our great surprise, is that only in giving it away do we really begin to receive the teaching that we imagined ourselves to already be in possession of. And only at that moment of kindness and magnanimity, also, do we really, for the first time, encounter the real being of our teacher -- and know him deeply and truly in our own person for who he is.
Not by getting more do we find him, but by giving more. Not by building ourselves up, but by stripping ourselves down. The real teaching and the real teacher present themselves to us as layer after layer gets torn away. The process seems -- no, it doesn't seem, it is -- never-ending. We would never imagine how much we have in us to teach, if it were not for the throwing of ourselves wholly into the teaching of it. And we could never begin to fathom the true stature of our great teacher, Montague Ullman -- except to the extent we ourselves go forward in our journey to reach and perchance, in some small measure, transcend it. Carrying forward what he began is how we best honor him, the only way we really have now to thank him, and certainly the one true method to receive still more of what he can give us.
* * *
William R. Stimson leads Montague Ullman experiential dream groups in Taiwan and teaches the method in Taiwanese universities. At Montague Ullman's prompting he also began to conduct dream group leadership trainings in Taiwan. He would be very interested in being contacted at bsstimson[at]mac.com by others who lead Montague Ullman dream groups.