What are you looking for? Do you want to make a change…discover how to stop suffering…realize the essence of your true self? There are so many beautiful teachings available – more than you will ever need. But what is most imperative is this: you must be a very good student.
How to Learn
You can hear or read the most clear and articulate teaching, but if it falls on deaf ears or drops into a mind that is closed like a bank vault, then things will stay exactly as they are. If you are lost in seeking, if you keep trying to find answers, you need to reflect on what you are bringing to the table as a student.
As you know, the momentum of conditioned habits is very strong. They infiltrate your body and mind and squelch your spirit. Unraveling them takes great resolve and commitment. You need to be very aware so you can see how they begin to take hold. And you need to stay open so you can receive the teachings you need in the deepest part of your being.
There was a moment in my own journey when this lesson landed. I had been hearing the same words over and over, retreat after retreat. Finally, in a stroke of grace, the clouds covering my mind parted, and the light poured in. I realized that my task was to take what was being spoken and apply it in my moment-to-moment experience.
It was the end of spoon-feeding, which doesn’t work anyway, and the beginning of true transformation.
Embody These Qualities
It is so easy for our brains to get congealed. We become so attuned to the familiar that the new seems inconceivable. But here is the truth: you have the capacity to know the peace you long for.
Are you waiting for your life to begin? Are you seeking but not finding? Then maybe you can be a better student by tapping into these essential qualities.
Let every aspect of your being be open. Open your eyes, your ears, your pores and cells and heart, your brain and mind. It might feel strange at first, like the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz who is just getting oiled. But just this degree of openness may be enough.
Be willing to go into the most feared places within yourself. Be willing to try something new, go out of your comfort zone, challenge your thoughts and beliefs about the world. Absorb the teachings you need, then apply them diligently to your own experience.
Enthusiasm comes from the Greek meaning, “possessed by the gods.” Let yourself be possessed by your quest for wholeness and freedom. Be willing to go out on a limb, to do things that don’t make sense, to let your journey unfold through you.
Be acutely interested in your in-the-moment experience. Be curious about how your reactions work. Shine your laser-like attention into the heart of your habits.
Teachers come in all shapes and sizes, but the ultimate teacher is life itself. Your teacher may be your child or an illness or loss. Trust that you are getting exactly what you need for freedom. And if you follow a person who is teaching, choose wisely, then trust completely.
Forget what you already know that isn’t serving you, and adopt an attitude of, “I don’t know.” Recognize that your mind tries to solve problems it can’t begin to know the answer to. Empty yourself of what you think you know, then let something new come forth, fresh in the moment.
Stay with it. The journey to wholeness and healing can bring you all kinds of challenges. Remain connected with your true heart’s desire. Keep the fire burning.
Habits run deep, so treat yourself with tough love. Be unceasingly attentive, and unendingly kind. Relax and breathe. Not resisting anything is the most loving thing you could ever do.
If there is something you know you need to learn, be like a sponge. Absorb the teachings and let them filter in completely. Then, as if you are reborn, emerge – fresh, alive, and whole.
How are you doing as a student? How can you incorporate what you learn into your daily experience? I’d love to hear…