On the one hand it’s important to evaluate a situation which has occurred. To look back at what elements came together in order to facilitate it, what your part was in it, and what lesson there is to be learned from it. This is part of what it means to live an examined life. To live not just from event to event like a Victorian sailor trying to survive crossing the Atlantic, but to see patterns, weave wisdom out of experience and live a better life thereby.

However, learning from our experiences is quite different from assuming our experiences are meant to teach us a lesson. People can and do trap themselves in situations which either have no practical value or are even destructive because they hold the belief that they are meant to learn something from the situation and once they learn their lesson the situation will end or improve on its own. This can be true if the situation is completely supported and sustained by the lesson learner. As they learn, change, and adjust themselves the situation will reflect this change because their actions will reflect their internal transformation. If the situation is not solely controlled by the lesson learner they may find that no matter how many lessons they learn, how many epiphanies they have, how much they heal and transform, nothing changes. In fact the other parties involved might inflict negative consequences for each transformation which can appear confrontational or combative.

And what is the lesson in these difficult or even traumatic situations? What is meant to be learned? Well, perhaps nothing. Not all situations are predetermined educational events. Some parts of life, sometimes all of it, is a build your own adventure. With free will we  choose from the various options and therefore create our path. Life is experiential and with an examined life we can learn all that each event has to teach us. We can find the meaning and spin wisdom out of it in order to better craft the tapestry of our lives.  Therefore if a situation is harming us, we can choose to do something about it and if all else fails we can leave it. Learning isn’t exclusive to spiritual lessons. It’s available to us in every moment and if “harm none” is foundational to spiritual teachings, then we should take it to heart and apply it liberally to ourselves along with everyone else.

1 Comment

  1. As a therapist and a Truth seeker, I think the important fact here is to realize that if we haven’t changed our thinking and our actions, we will repeat the same unpleasant experience. It is how to change our thinking that can be really tricky, since humans hate change. They want to feel better, but not change. And to change for the better requires taming the Ego, which really does not want to relinquish control. Good article to spark more thought on the subject. Thank you,

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