To Learn is to Love

What are you learning?

Without exception, the deepest, truest learning points us in the direction of kindness, justice, equality, generosity, peace, humility, and so many other similar qualities — or, in short, love.

The deepest, truest learning does not occur sipping an exotic fruit juice on the beach while watching the sun set (some, to be fair). It occurs in the belly of the beast — when the lights are off, we are scared, and can’t see the way through to safety.

In such times, if we are wise, we question everything. Particularly, we investigate what got us in the predicament we find ourselves in now. If we are really paying attention, painful though it may be to realize, inevitably we will find volunteerism for the part, not victimization.

Somewhere — you may have to go the subtlest of levels to find it — there was a choice, conscious or not, to have the experience you are having right now.

And thank goodness for that. If we were purely the victims of unfortunate circumstances, we are powerless to change them and so doom ourselves to further misfortune.

Finding the flaw in our decision making, even the most egregious and obvious, by no means makes us bad and unworthy people. It just means we took a left turn when we should have turned right, and wound up in a strange town — lost and in need of directions.

There is no way to discover the flaw unless we experience its, what you might call, “harmful” effects.

Once it’s out, we can make the needed adjustment and get back on our way.

That is how we learn. Through trial and tribulation.

The more you learn, the more you can experience what you really want.

The more trial and tribulation… means, you know what.

Being Yourself

It will get better when…

I find my soulmate.

I lose 10 pounds.

I have more money.

I get famous.

There is peace on Earth.

Poverty is eradicated.

I recover from _______________.

Hope has its place. All progress is based in some sense that things will improve in the future, if something is corrected now.

At the same time, there is no end to the project of progress. It spins like a Ferris wheel, never reaching a final destination.

Some of us, after enough go arounds, get hip to this and realize, “We’re moving but not going anywhere,” and become appropriately frustrated.

It takes a keen eye to catch because the drama of progress can be so all-consuming, so seductive and entertaining, we never pull back from it — even over the course of a life, or lives.

Abiding peace and fulfillment is not found in the future. Unfortunately, we have to learn that the hard way by watching our precious dreams and aspirations become subject to the Law of Impermanence, which means watching them come, stay for awhile, and go — over and over again.

Understanding we can’t count on the future and the filling in of “missing” people, places, and things to improve our welfare, our orientation and awareness moves toward the present moment.

We start looking for a way to transcend the Law of Impermanence by asking, “What is permanent?”

For this answer, you must close your eyes, sit quietly, and watch your breath.

Being in this world but not of it means being yourself without attachment to the outcomes you are working toward.

(But only if you want to lessen the struggle in your life.)

It’s All Medicine

Medicine is packaged in many different forms.

There are the types we are familiar with. Doctor-prescribed tablets, herbs, various physical and energetic modalities.

Pausing for a beautiful sunset, agenda-less walks in nature, and time with friends would also qualify.

What about job loss?

A divorce, or other painful end to a meaningful relationship?

A car accident?

Illness?

These are things we would never actively seek out or qualify as medicinal and, yet, if we are really paying attention, we will see that they can be some of our greatest teachers and catalyzers of change.

Medicine is that which brings about your highest good.

Unfortunately, we don’t know what our highest good is.

And so, we must learn to trust what is showing up in our life right now — the good and the bad.

It’s all medicine.