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Teaching people a lesson, in real life…

March 24, 2011

in Spiritual Growth

That’s me. Or used to be. I hope.

I’m not talking about what the saying ‘teaching them a lesson’ has come to mean in every day speak. I don’t mean deliberately sabotaging things, or setting people up to fail or anything like that.

Over the past 6 months or so I’ve been facing up to what I’d like to call: the teacher in me I least like. That is: the teacher in me that does things a certain way, a not so good way in fact, and rationalizes it as ‘well, perhaps they’ll learn’. At worst it involves a lot of shouting. At best it involves me trying to get through to people this way and that – all the while forcing myself into shapes I just wasn’t meant to have. I think this sciatica of mine is my body shouting NO as loud as it can.

What I’ve come to learn is that:
a) Trying to teach in this way leaves me in a very bad place emotionally. Teaching THEM a lesson is draining. It takes me away from doing things that work for ME.
b) I hate what I become while trying.

The fact is: those I was trying to teach rarely learned what I’d hoped they’d learn. Doesn’t mean I was wrong. Just means it wasn’t my lesson to teach. Reminds me of what an old theosophist in my first lodge used say: hammering a nail won’t help it come out. I understood what she meant, and yet I’ve been hammering an awful lot of nails that didn’t come out.

I’ve had to learn this the hard way: sometimes walking away is the only thing you can do. Leaving them to learn their own lessons is really the only path to take. And really – what kind of control freak tries to shape the lessons other people have to learn anyhow?

I guess this is a roundabout way of saying that I’ve come to a place where I understand what they mean when they say: “take care of yourself first”. They don’t mean you stop giving. They mean you should find a way of giving that doesn’t leave you dry. And maybe, that way, there’s actually something WORTH giving involved.

{ 6 comments }

Marcelo Ramos March 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm

There is just on master: the life, with their wonderful diversity, teachs everyone. I think we can make just sugestions.

Sylvia Powell March 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Hi Katinka,

I didn’t know what mirroring meant until I found Byron Katie and The Work. Look for her website. Fill out a worksheet. You’ll see exactly what people are mirroring to you and why. Don’t be afraid. It’s all good. People do for us what we won’t or feel we can’t do for ourselves. Those hardships really are gifts, meant for you!

Sylvia

Pablo Valente March 25, 2011 at 12:41 am

Hi Katinka
Just a question (or maybe more than one :-). Who is the one who is teaching a lesson? Maybe it is life teaching us that, the condition of being “the teacher”, it is not a constant. Sometimes we think that we are the “givers”, other times we think that we are getting the lesson … Probablly it works in both ways all the time. Isn’t it?
Maybe, expressing what one thinks or what one feels, it is not necessarily a teaching for others but for oneself, sometimes. Probablly we have this tendency to see ourselves at one side of the mirror but … Aren’t we at both sides of this mirror all the time? Aren’t we the mirror (in real life)?

Katinka - Spirituality March 26, 2011 at 1:43 pm

I was only referring to my inner dialogue here. And the inner teacher has been an excuse for me to react in ways that weren’t healthy, looking back. Part of my growth.

As what the people I’ve been having trouble with are miroring… Well, without naming and blaming them, I think all I can say is that it’s that my work is elsewhere.

tommy gerlach April 23, 2011 at 10:08 am

The decision making is the Fear….Get lost and find your way back…Maybe you’ll end up on a different road…Just like the
Wizard of Oz…..Don’t wait. ACT!

Karma Mar May 24, 2011 at 10:28 am

What you have learned is true for me also; it is a bad place emotionally, it is draining, an unnecessary distraction and I too hate what I become from it.

BUT:
I am surrounded by people who think they know better than me, ABOUT me, and who think it is their god given right to humilate, bully, antagonise, persecute, ignore and deny me even basic rights.

I am effectively being taught an extremely harsh lesson.

I cannot ignore them, they are not a figment of a desperate mind. Also I cannot ignore the fears and depression every fresh onslaught against me brings.

But I can, through my own actions, teach them where their mistakes lie against me. I HAVE to do this, there is no other option.

I have no monastry to retreat to, no family protection, no eldars to turn to, no friends, no support what so ever.

Slowly they are learning. I am the enlightened one, not they.

Many hammers have broken on my nailhead.

As they will be more reticent in the future to pick on someone they consider to be inferior in some way then I consider my teaching to be not wasted.

I am, I see, I know.

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