It is always an experience of deeper realization and reflection in working with the elders. Today I did a little painting demo for Richard, one of the students. The painting itself was a simple technical exercise, but perhaps the pouting of the little girl in the piece was an unconscious reflection of what was on my mind. And here it is, made conscious. The elders are blunt. They are here and now. They are near the end of the path, and they are open and direct about this often. The basic path of existence- birth to life to death is an obvious one. And how often we miss out on life only to arrive at the end. And the elder experience always brings memento mori (remember death) to the forefront. I meet so many people so much of the time. I live by the code that everyone is my teacher. I listen and learn from all. Its interesting to myself how for example, so many younger people exist outside of reality. Existing in concepts, prejudices, neuroses'... wrapped up in their own minds. Always talking about the past or the future, and missing the experience of the earth beneath our feet and the sun shining on our faces... the present. And so in looking into the nature of the lives that we are building day in, day out... the career paths for example. What is the essence of these goals? Is it taking us towards reality, or building a pseudo-reality outside of it? In the process of the lives we lead, are we living in the true nature of reality or outside of it. The true nature of reality being here and now, how much of our awake time is in harmony with it? As an instructor, its my role to attend class and share what I know about drawing/painting with my elder students. But in the medium of life, of the nature of reality, it is the elders that teach me weekly. There is treasure all around us, and all we need to do is simply pick it up. But we must first know what it is we are looking for. It is often in the state of our suffering that we realize this, or this door seems to open, but it is always there. Our deepest treasure, always waiting for us.