James Murphy on Mary Dunn

James Murphy on Mary Dunn, who passed away in 2008, at the age of 66:

What Guruji saw in Mary Dunn was a very raw and eager student who didn’t have other layers of stuff on top. She had a body that hadn’t been imprinted with different kinds of yoga or training. She was able to accept his teaching very freely and the respect that went with it. He imparted a lot onto Mary Dunn. Mary got it and got it quick.

Mary’s teaching was so spontaneous and full of joy and she used what was available. I mean she’d get sparked by what was in the room. By an article she had read, or a restaurant she went to the night before, or something she saw in a museum. She just loved words and puns on words. She was always tickled by the way Guruji used humor and she used that too. One of the things that stood out about Mary is her generosity. She was willing to share and give enormous amounts and there wasn’t any kind of greed or holding on to the learning or teaching that she had been given. When she was in the classroom situation she was at her best and she wanted to be at her best and it would all just come out. She would just transcend and sparkle. 

She loved to teach and her whole last year was a teaching. She shared her entire journey, from the initial diagnosis right up until her last breath, and that was a huge gift to all of us. She stayed unbelievably positive throughout, to the point where one would say, “You can’t possibly be positive about this,” but she would always find something. She would weigh the different options and then look for the positive direction to take from where ever she was. It was a wonderful teaching of being in the present, moment by moment.

James Murphy is an Intermediate Senior II teacher in New York City.