I had an eye-opening experience this morning in my tele-class discussion on spiritual ideas when our leader lovingly challenged us, again, to reconsider how we were reading, approaching the books we study.
- Unconsciously and usually with justification, most of us approach the day, the people we meet, our activities with not a small measure of prejudice. We’ve learned how the world works, how it should work and how it doesn’t and we go forward each moment with our own particular viewpoint. What our daughter should wear to school, what the neighbors should do with their money, what the governor should do about the state, how could some people think the way they think! If everyone followed our prescription things would be a lot better.
- I’ve learned a lot from this class and the woman who leads it, an author as well as a family and spiritual counselor with a broad perspective of spiritual and religious teachings. Often I question something or other we’re studying, something that conflicts with what I “know” already, or what I think that author is saying. And I’m not the only one in fairness to myself. Ann often points out that these books are written by people at various stages of growth and understanding, only wanting to share, so what’s written simply reflects their experience and understanding at the moment. Nothing to get upset or confused about. She has a lovely way or reminding us of this over and over, and I only “got it” this morning. She asks us, paraphrasing, to just consider what we can learn from it, not to evaluate it so much.
What patience she has I was thinking, having to make this point over again. She seems to be trying to get us to lighten up! It occurred to me that most of us, at least I do, approach things with too critical an eye, “how does this stack up with what I already know”? We pounce on the inconsistency, the flaw in the ointment, that sticking point which often makes us throw out the entire baby. I can’t begin to describe how much I’ve learned from just going with the flow in this class, gaining so much from what I thought wouldn’t be interesting.
A light bulb moment.
What if right now I attempt to do what she’s suggesting, see what this moment and every moment has to teach me from as open and fresh a perspective as I can? What if throughout the day, with every project, every meeting and errand, from the dishes to the board meeting more of us strived to stay open, willing to be surprised as a favorite mentor of mine used to say? What can I learn from this day, not simply how to get it all done exactly as I’ve planned? Leave my filters, my plans and predisposition behind, my preferences for or against, from food to culture to politics. Everything?
Imagine, open only to the new, the beautiful, the harmonious, the unique, in whatever way it presents itself, leaving yesterday behind and feasting on the here and now, the way other creatures do, like flowers and birds and salmon.
I don’t expect this will happen over night, but if I can at least make a start, it might make a brighter day! We’ll see.