Live and Learn

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To live is to learn and to learn is to live, nest-ce pas?  That appears to me to be what life is all about, along with developing our capacity to give and receive unconditional love, and to survive.

I am grateful for being on a definite learning curve, having recently relocated just with my beloved cat and dog, across country from Colorado to central New York.

With a major relocation comes tremendous opportunity to ‘create the life of your dreams.’  At the same time it is rife with challenges: how to make the right choices so as not to recreate patterns or habits of thought or behavior you aim not to continue while establishing conditions for true growth and spiritual prosperity.

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So, here’s a thought.  When you set out to make a major move or a significant change of any sort, for instance either geographically or with work or a relationship, ask yourself what Life Lessons from earlier experiences do you intend to apply to establish new conditions rather than having to relearn these same Life Lessons yet again? There is a spiritual principle that says, once you have truly learned a significant lesson from some experience which has repeated in your life, you can finally move on. After crashing or butting into the same wall many times, psychologists would tell us, finally we might choose to walk AROUND that same wall when it shows up—and it likely will—yet again!

I invite you to reflect on some key Life Lesson that feels appropriate with respect to some new life adjustment upon which you are or soon will be embarking.  Is there one Life Lesson in particular that you would like to avoid having to re-learn this time around, once and for all?

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For me one of my core Life Lessons is to ASK and to LISTEN for (and then to ACT upon) inner guidance, before making major choices.  I aim to avoid acting primarily by ‘trial and error.’ This definitely applies to my search over this next year for a retirement home that will allow for me to fulfill my full life potentials and ambitions from here forward. This includes a goal I have set for myself with this relocation: To Be Happy! Not just to fulfill responsibilities and be ‘safe,’ I mean—though those will always matter—but to find a range of happiness, stable and complete, that I have perhaps always been seeking in this lifetime.

This goal reminds me of Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha (the Buddha), whose smile to his friend Govinda at the end of the story is a message of how to attain enlightenment:

As Govinda thought like this, and there was a conflict in his heart, he
once again bowed to Siddhartha, drawn by love. Deeply he bowed to him
who was calmly sitting.

“Siddhartha,” he spoke, “we have become old men. It is unlikely for
one of us to see the other again in this incarnation. I see, beloved,
that you have found peace. I confess that I haven’t found it. Tell me,
oh honourable one, one more word, give my something on my way which I
can grasp, which I can understand! Give me something to be with me on
my path. It it often hard, my path, often dark, Siddhartha.”

Siddhartha said nothing and looked at him with the ever unchanged,
quiet smile. Govinda stared at his face, with fear, with yearning,
suffering, and the eternal search was visible in his look, eternal
not-finding.

Siddhartha saw it and smiled.

“Bent down to me!” he whispered quietly in Govinda’s ear. “Bend down to
me! Like this, even closer! Very close! Kiss my forehead, Govinda!”

But while Govinda with astonishment, and yet drawn by great love and
expectation, obeyed his words, bent down closely to him and touched his
forehead with his lips, something miraculous happened to him. While his
thoughts were still dwelling on Siddhartha’s wondrous words, while he
was still struggling in vain and with reluctance to think away time, to
imagine Nirvana and Sansara as one, while even a certain contempt for
the words of his friend was fighting in him against an immense love and
veneration, this happened to him:

He no longer saw the face of his friend Siddhartha, instead he saw
other faces, many, a long sequence, a flowing river of faces, of
hundreds, of thousands, which all came and disappeared, and yet all
seemed to be there simultaneously, which all constantly changed and
renewed themselves, and which were still all Siddhartha. He saw the
face of a fish, a carp, with an infinitely painfully opened mouth, the
face of a dying fish, with fading eyes–he saw the face of a new-born
child, red and full of wrinkles, distorted from crying–he saw the face
of a murderer, he saw him plunging a knife into the body of another
person–he saw, in the same second, this criminal in bondage, kneeling
and his head being chopped off by the executioner with one blow of his
sword–he saw the bodies of men and women, naked in positions and cramps
of frenzied love–he saw corpses stretched out, motionless, cold, void–
he saw the heads of animals, of boars, of crocodiles, of elephants, of
bulls, of birds–he saw gods, saw Krishna, saw Agni–he saw all of these
figures and faces in a thousand relationships with one another, each one
helping the other, loving it, hating it, destroying it, giving re-birth
to it, each one was a will to die, a passionately painful confession of
transitoriness, and yet none of then died, each one only transformed,
was always re-born, received evermore a new face, without any time
having passed between the one and the other face–and all of these
figures and faces rested, flowed, generated themselves, floated along
and merged with each other, and they were all constantly covered by
something thin, without individuality of its own, but yet existing, like
a thin glass or ice, like a transparent skin, a shell or mold or mask of
water, and this mask was smiling, and this mask was Siddhartha’s smiling
face, which he, Govinda, in this very same moment touched with his lips.
And, Govinda saw it like this, this smile of the mask, this smile of
oneness above the flowing forms, this smile of simultaneousness above
the thousand births and deaths, this smile of Siddhartha was precisely
the same, was precisely of the same kind as the quiet, delicate,
impenetrable, perhaps benevolent, perhaps mocking, wise, thousand-fold
smile of Gotama, the Buddha, as he had seen it himself with great
respect a hundred times. Like this, Govinda knew, the perfected ones
are smiling.

Not knowing any more whether time existed, whether the vision had lasted
a second or a hundred years, not knowing any more whether there existed
a Siddhartha, a Gotama, a me and a you, feeling in his innermost self
as if he had been wounded by a divine arrow, the injury of which tasted
sweet, being enchanted and dissolved in his innermost self, Govinda
still stood for a little while bent over Siddhartha’s quiet face, which
he had just kissed, which had just been the scene of all manifestations,
all transformations, all existence. The face was unchanged, after under
its surface the depth of the thousandfoldness had closed up again, he
smiled silently, smiled quietly and softly, perhaps very benevolently,
perhaps very mockingly, precisely as he used to smile, the exalted one.

Deeply, Govinda bowed; tears, he knew nothing of, ran down his old face;
like a fire burnt the feeling of the most intimate love, the humblest
veneration in his heart. Deeply, he bowed, touching the ground, before
him who was sitting motionlessly, whose smile reminded him of everything
he had ever loved in his life, what had ever been valuable and holy to
him in his life.

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images are from pixabay.com

I invite YOUR Story and Comments!

Life Lessons

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Life is a Teacher in and of Itself; we learn daily through the forge of experience. How often have you said, “at least I learned something” about an experience in your life that may not have turned out exactly as you had planned for or expected it would?

“Chalk it up to experience!” we say.

Or maybe:

“Live and learn”

“It was a learning experience”

“I’ll know better next time”

Then there’s the infamous:

“No pain, no gain!”

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This week, I invite you to celebrate Life’s Lessons.  Large or small, long term or short term, what “Life Lessons” have you gathered as gems of experience along the road or Labyrinth of your Life Path so far?  

Make a list of some of your Key Life Lessons, organized however you choose. Then I encourage you to choose one of these to journal about; let that be a Life Lesson that feels relevant to your understanding of an experience with which you are currently engaged.

Let me try this life mapping Tool myself as an example. I will list some of my own Life Lessons and make note of the source of some of these.

LIFE LESSONS

  • Always Give UP, Always Surrender (to Spirit and Higher Consciousness; learned through contemplative inner guidance)
  • Patience is a Virtue (DM; this one has clearly stood the test of Time!)
  • The turtle only makes progress when she sticks her neck out. (from a ceramic figurine  I had as a teen)
  • Love all with unconditional love but reserve your warm sentiments for those you can trust to return that friendship deeply. (School of hard knocks; a spiritual principle)
  • Drive the car; don’t let it drive you. (My father, teaching me to drive)
  • “When you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” (a Goethe quote on a poster I once gave to my sister)
  • “Way Will Out” (a Quaker expression learned from a friend.)

Way Will Out

This is the Life Lesson that feels most relevant to my current experience this week as I am confronted with a question concerning copyright matters with an element in my book manuscript as I prepare it to go to the publishers. I had adapted a set of techniques I thought would be helpful in the book, but after a conversation yesterday followed by some sincere contemplation, I realize there is a GIFT in this experience. The GIFT is that I will redesign these elements completely to present wholly new techniques that are more directly grounded in a central feature of the overall approach in the book. This will be of even greater value than what I had before because they will add substance to a more coherent, fully unique “process.” The original concepts were in retrospect merely place holders until I could arrive at this awareness, and the timing has been perfect as it is just now that I am editing this section of the manuscript.

“Way Will Out,” to me, has always been a very calming proposition. It says to RELEASE any sense of conflict or concern, to Trust in the Universe or Spirit, and to act accordingly, with good intent.  It works!

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images are from pixabay.com

Your Turn: 

Print out this post if you would like to write in the space given below a list of Key Life Lessons in your life and an account of how ONE of these is relevant Now. (I invite you to send your own story here if you would like me to post it for others to read.)

List Your Life Lessons:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

6) 

 

Journal about the Relevance of ONE of these Life Lessons to your experience Now:

 

 

Warrior Ally Protectors

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Archetypal Warrior Allies often serve in epic narratives to protect the heroes as they fulfill their Epic Quest that benefits humanity or the Good. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring of course is all about this. Strider and the elves and dwarves form a Warrior cadre to accompany the diminutive hero Frodo and his companions as Frodo pursues his noble quest to destroy the One Ring that could cause massive destruction in the wrong hands.

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The various Warriors protecting Frodo on his journey fight Orks and the Dark Forces that threaten to destroy all humanity. They are pledged to the worthy cause of maintaining the forces of Light and Balance.  Gandalf, the Wizard (a MYSTIC archetype Ally himself), leads the expedition with his wisdom as long as he is able, but it is Strider (a rightful heir to his father’s royal throne as well as a Warrior archetype) who  maintans the balance and fights valiantly to uphold Frodo’s selfless cause.

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So, the story of The Fellowship of the Ring is of itself an Archetypal story. It is the story of Warrior protectors who uphold the Good and preserve a noble Way. Why do you believe these stories exist?

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I would say these stories reveal something about our own inner potentials. There are times when our own Inner Warrior must stand up to uphold and protect a noble Cause we aim deeply to fulfill.

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Can you relate? On Friday I will ask you to Tell YOUR Story of a time when your own archetypal Warrior Allies (outwardly or inwardly) have stepped forth to protect and enhance your capacity to thrive or to accomplish a noble objective.

I welcome and invite your story.