A question needs courage, to expose yourself in your nudity. The teacher is not a man who is afraid of exposing his ignorance about his own profession. Usually the teachers, the professors, hide their ignorance in all kinds of borrowed knowledge. They never ask a sincere question.
I have been a teacher in universities, and you will be surprised that I have never come across more ignorant people anywhere else. Although they are burdened with knowledge, their ignorance has not disappeared, it is only repressed. They have made every effort to cover it up. But remember, ignorance is a wound; if you cover it up you are not going to be healed. Your wound needs fresh air, fresh sun rays. Don’t cover it! Expose it to the healing forces of existence.
What is true about your bodily wounds is even more true about your spiritual wounds. For bodily wounds you are not worried about having to go to a doctor, to a physician, to a healer. But for your spiritual wounds you never go to a master, to a mystic – he is also a healer. Because the spiritual wound is so deep, and you are afraid to open your wounds and allow others to see you in your nudity, you go on covering it. But the more you cover it, the more pus is gathered; the more you cover it, the more it is going to become a cancer. Almost the whole humanity is suffering from a spiritual cancer.
But because the teacher has asked about his own profession, Kahlil Gibran can share with him his deepest insights: No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. Because the question has come out of innocence, the wisdom, the awakening, the enlightenment is already only half asleep. If the question had come from knowledge, not from innocence, then your real being is fully asleep.
Your question shows much, from where it comes. That’s why Almustafa is saying that you are already half awake; just a little more courage and you will not need to ask anyone what truth is. And the authentic teacher is one who knows what truth is. Out of his knowing the truth his teaching becomes honest, sincere; then it has authority of its own, not dependent on any scripture or anybody else. His truth becomes his teaching. His truth transforms him into an authentic teacher.
Kahlil Gibran is not aware of the difference between the two words, the teacher and the master; otherwise he would have said that if you are only professionally a teacher, that means you are a medium of transferring knowledge from one generation to another generation: you don’t have anything of your own to share and to give. But if your truth is awakened in you, and your house is full of light and your being is full of fragrance, you have become a master; you are no longer just a teacher. When you are sharing your own truth, you are a master.