Life is our valuable teacher

When I came across this statement, ‘Life is our valuable teacher’, I asked myself how often do I listen to what life has to say to me. And not just listening but reflecting over it and doing something about the lessons I learned. I acknowledge that most of the times I did listen but just as often I forgot what I learned the next moment; and life, being the patient and understanding teacher will continue to teach me and show me, repeating the lessons till I wake upĀ  from my dream state, to take the appropriate actions.

Though many of us may be open to learning about life and its wonders, we tend to seek these lessons ‘outside of us’, thinking that the answers lie somewhere in the sky above or some special book or with someone else; but not often we are aware that everything that we are seeking are already here within us. All we have to do is to be alert, to be conscious of what life has to show to us through all our encounters and experiences, be they painful or pleasant.

Adyashanti shared in one of his teachings:

“Life is full of grace – sometimes it’s wonderful grace, beautiful grace, moments of bliss and happiness and joy, and sometimes it’s fierce grace, like illness, losing a job, losing someone we love, or a divorce. Some people make the greatest leaps in their consciousness when addiction has them on their knees, for example, and they find themselves reaching out for a different way of being. Life itself has a tremendous capacity to show us truth, to wake us up. And yet, many of us avoid this thing called life, even as it is attempting to wake us up. The divine itself is life in motion. The divine is using the situations in our lives to accomplish its own awakening, and many times it takes the difficult situations to wake us up.

The irony is that most human beings spend their lives avoiding painful situations. Not that we are successful, but we are always trying to avoid pain. We have an unconscious belief that our greatest growth in consciousness and awareness comes through beautiful moments. We may, indeed, make great leaps in consciousness through beautiful moments, but I’d say that most people make their greatest leaps in consciousness in the difficult times. This is something a lot of people don’t want to acknowledge – that our greatest difficulties, suffering, and pain are a form of fierce grace. They are potent and important components of our awakening, if we’re ready for them. If we’re ready to turn and face them, we can see and receive the gifts that they have to offer – even if the gifts sometimes feel like they are being forced upon us. Whether the circumstance is illness, the death of a loved one, divorce, addiction, problems at work – it’s important to face our life situations in order to see the inherent gifts that are available.”

I am guilty too, of seeing life from this lopsided perspective that only beautiful moments offer the greatest growth in my consciousness. I had the tendency to revere the pleasant encounters, seeing them as ‘good’, and avoiding the painful ones, defining them as ‘bad’. It didn’t cross my mind that both types of experiences were teaching me things about life, and more so, about who I am. Now I am learning to accept everything that life has to offer, and discovering more of myself through all situations (painful and pleasant ones).

Adyashanti added: “If we are willing to look, we will see that life is always in the process of waking us up. If we are not in harmony with life, if we are working in opposition to it, then it is a rough ride indeed. When we are not willing to see what life is trying to show us, it will keep ramping up the intensity until we are willing to see what we need to see. In this way, life is our greatest ally. It is almost a spiritual cliche to say that life is your greatest teacher.”

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