Okay, my life isn’t always crappy, quite frankly, it’s rarely crappy. I’ve had a great life and I certainly can’t complain too loudly. But I’ve learned many things in my umpteen years of life, one of which is that there are teaching moments – and teachers – all around us and if we’re diligent students, we’ll learn something new now and then.
Dr. Bernie S. Siegel in his book 365 Subscriptions for the Soul, brings up this topic in one of his daily meditations. He starts out by offering the following Taoist quote:
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
The key element of this sentiment, in my understanding, is that the student must be open and vulnerable to what any particular teacher is saying. (That teacher most likely isn’t the academic type – but he can be; that teacher is usually someone or something that comes our way that addresses or fits what we’re doing or where we’re going and should be heeded if we’re gonna learn our lesson.)
Criticism polishes my mirror.
If we’re to see our direction clearly, then our mirror needs to be crystal clear, otherwise we’re just looking through a glass darkly – a biblical phrase attributed to the Apostle Paul.
I’m becoming more and more of a diligent student in my advancing years so that, as happened to Dr. Siegel, I’ve learned that
… everyone is my teacher. If you are trying to be a better human being, then look for teachers. They might be your colleagues, your family, and even your pets.
I don’t have any pets and I usually steer clear of random animals I encounter, but just about everything that happens in my life has the opportunity of being a teaching moment: newspaper articles, random comments from people with whom I come in contact, fiction and non-fiction that I read on an ongoing basis, family members, personal failures and successes; the list is too long to elaborate in the confines of this article.
But I’m constantly learning and hope I never make the mistake of leaving life’s classroom.
How about you? Do you have a front row seat in life’s classroom?