In my time as a student of NextStage, I have often heard my Teacher Joseph say “Everything is your teacher, you decide the lesson.” He says this to me a lot, as well as here, and here, and on page 224 here. I have often pondered this statement on many levels – what is that person’s behavior teaching me? What can I learn from my own reactions to certain events that happen? What does that felt marker on my desk have to offer for my personal development?
This approach is an excellent method (perhaps the only real method) to learn more about myself and about the Universe around me. I have uncovered uncomfortable truths about myself, found love within me, and generally moved away from my perception of who I was and moved towards who I really am – closer to my most authentic Me. This process for me is both brilliantly joyful and incredibly painful. I invite you to read about my learnings in my other blog posts if you’re curious.
One little catch, or in my case a huge stumbling block – I focus on what I want to learn, not on what’s being taught.
The Universe, which includes my NextStage Teachers, has/have a great deal to teach me – and I have a habit of deciding what I want to learn, or will learn in advance. This is part of my perception of who I was/am, how I grew up, and the society that I grew up in – and it’s all standing in my way of discovering the real lessons.
Imagine walking into a college biology class (expectation), and then suddenly the teacher begins discussing calculus (experience). That would cause significant confusion and discomfort within me. The difference here is that my Teachers know me intimately, they know me and understand me in ways most people can’t understand.
Because of this knowledge, my Teachers offer me the lesson which will be most useful to me, and this is seldom (never) the lesson I had in mind. On my path to personal development if I need a lesson in calculus next it’s because I will need to learn that lesson in order to be prepared for the next lesson, and the next lesson and so on. The lessons and learnings build on themselves.
Unfortunately my expectations often get in the way of my experience. The lessons I am offered require me to discover their truths, not to be simply told what to do or how to do it, and discovering a truth is difficult when I come looking with an expectation of what I will find.
To quote Lizard in Mani He – “Truth waits for eyes unclouded by longing.” I’m learning to learn, to trust my Teachers, and to return to innocence so I can understand that the lessons being offered are what is important, not the lessons I am expecting. What I learn and take-away from each lesson is my responsibility, and the most efficient way to do that focus on what’s being taught, not what I want to learn.
I suggest a small edit: Everything is my teacher, I discover my lesson.