The journey of life is a constant joyful amazement of unfolding patterns of opportunities to grow emotionally and spiritually. These opportunities can take many forms; oftentimes we can see the lessons in the life situations in our own life, sometimes we can see it in other people's lives.
These lessons can come and we see the lesson immediately and other times we scratch our head and wonder what this is all about. Most of the time our lessons come within the normal patterns of our life, but sometimes the universe hits us in our head with a two-by-four — something happens that is so completely out of the ordinary it seems that this experience belong to another person. "Why Me?" We may ask. "Is this really happening?"
If you have had such an experience, congratulations, you are on your spiritual path. When we consciously start down our path we, at some level, invite whatever lessons we need to learn into our lives. The farther down the path the more we invite them in; this is part of the process of spiritual growth, we need to address all that we do not own no matter how big or small it may seem.
When someone becomes a spiritual teacher such as a practitioner, monk, nun, guru, minister or the like, life's lessons start to amplify and come forth in a prominent way. When our lessons are painful or very challenging we often judge them as "bad." Furthermore we judge ourselves as "bad" or "not worthy" or "less than."
We hide a lesson and try and make it go away, we are giving more energy to the situation and then it expands and becomes bigger or longer. Ernest Holmes said that there is no punishment or judgment for what we do only the immediate physical results.
It has been my experience that whether the lessons are joyful or challenging, or even sometimes painful, at the end of the day one can look back and be thankful for all lessons no matter how difficult or challenging.
As in the Buddhist tradition when one is confronted with possible adversity, the Buddhist will say "Thank You" in gratitude for the opportunity the lesson presented. We can be thankful as when we have been through the fire, owned and embodied the lesson. We come out a "burnished sword" — stronger, wiser, and with a greater knowingness of who we are. The key is that we must move through the lesson and not get stuck repeating the lesson over and over until we "get it."
Someone may say, "This is not my lesson. This other person did something to me and it is their fault! This is not my lesson!" Well, I am here to say that it really is our lesson and at some point sooner or later we will see why another person or persons are involved in our lesson. I believe that at some level we may have made an agreement with them to set up the life circumstances so that each actor in the play has the opportunity to grow, own, and become.
When the time comes when one is ready to exit the stage of life, it can be done with great gratitude and love for all the acts and the actors who at some level were willing to participate in the Great Work of life.
Rev Jim Hatton is a minister at the Center for Spiritual Living-Rogue Valley. The Ashland Daily Tidings invites residents of the Rogue Valley to submit articles on inner peace, how do we find it, what path works and how has it been helpful. Send 600- to 700-word articles to Sally McKirgan firstname.lastname@example.org. Find more than 200 inner peace articles on the Tidings website: www.dailytidings.com search on inner peace.