The Lessons of Life

The Lessons of Life

If we look at events in our life, we may notice both the consequences of choice or free will plus an element of determinism. That some things happen beyond what we intended.

This can lead to the idea that we come into our life with a certain number of lessons or that life is like a school. That we can choose, but we also have to choose correctly. Even when the rules of the game may not be clear.

This can also be seen as a circumstantial push to develop certain skills and talents over others that may not get enough attention. We all know people who never got a chance to develop talents and others who’s way was paved. You might not see becoming an athlete or lawyer as a “lesson” but it’s an aspect of what one might refer to as our calling. For some people, the calling is clear, for others it’s more a theme. But that dominant lesson can also point to our life’s purpose. It may be a push that takes place over a series of lives.

In any discussion like this it’s also important to make a note about we. That the idea of a “me” doing is incorrect. What’s going on is a we with a local focus (the apparent me) plus some prior choice we need to complete or correct for. Some call this second part karma.

These are the “lessons” of our lives that come to visit us. One of their key features is that they tend to come with blind spots. Because those areas of life are incomplete and we tend to have resistance around them, we don’t see it objectively. Hence the need for some learnin’.

When others we respect observe certain issues we don’t see, it’s worth considering if this is their bias or our own blind spot.

When we have some time under our belt, there’s another aspect that we may notice. The the series of lessons is often one lesson in layers. Just like emotional clearing can be like peeling the layers of an onion, so too the lesson. It’s the same thing being experienced on different levels.

What that dominant lesson or development is may be hard to see with the blind spot. But when we see, it is obvious. It is a background, sometimes foreground theme in our life. It illustrates life’s progression. It explains anomalous experiences. It will even show up in places like an astrological chart.

For example, lets say our lesson is responsibility. In our youth, we may find ourselves surrounded by others with responsibility. Or inversely have parents with little. We may then find ourselves in a position where we have forced responsibilities, like being an unexpected single parent. And finally we may reach a place where we choose responsibility.

Another example might be forgiveness. At first we may need to experience pain so we’re obliqued to look for a solution. We may be lead to look at how we feel about it. Then perhaps how we deal with those feelings. Then culturing more positive feelings. Then how to forgive those that trespass against us. And finally self forgiveness. In the end we may find there was nothing to forgive.

In a way, this is the complete lesson. When we no longer need it.

Both positive and negative scenarios can lead to learning. But if our life has ease in some area, it may point to being taken care of. Take money for example. If we don’t have lessons in value, thrift, self-control and such, then we’ll probably find money comes to us easily and in sufficient amount. We’ve learned that stuff. Or it’s taken care of to ensure we’re not distracted from our main task.

Inversely, if we find it easy to get into trouble with money then there is probably something to be learned there. Money is a big button for many people that may point to other areas where the lesson actually is, like responsibility above.

If an area seems lacking or unsatisfying, this is a good sign some looking is required. If we seem to be experiencing the same thing over and over, perhaps we’re not learning the lesson or there is further nuances to sink in.

Relationships can be a hotbed of learning as we may find oneself with karmic mates, people uniquely designed to make our issues conscious. (laughs)

When we complete a section or sub-lesson, it may be like a light bulb going off. We finally “get it”. A new sense of ease arrives. And then the next stage begins. (laughs)

Sometimes, free will comes into play (in the we – not just a me remember) and the best scenario for the lesson doesn’t come together. That’s when it can be much more difficult and the intended lesson much more obscure. For example, a responsible parent becomes an alcoholic, throwing off the “school”.

Some people talk about the age of the soul telling us the kinds of lessons we’ll experience. Lessons of survival early on, followed by ego lessons, then more subtle ones with maturity. But it’s worth noting that even advanced souls may sometimes have to go back and relearn stuff or finish the tail ends. We may also have lives spent simply in rest and enjoyment.

Above all, the intentions of the we and lessons of life form a process that creates the qualities of the path we travel on. We can look back on life sometimes like pages from a lesson book and see a thread of learning.

This is of course just one way of looking at life. But if we can see why we’re here and stop fighting it, life will be much smoother and we’ll be learning about stepping into the flow rather than handling the grief.

Last Updated on April 8, 2014 by

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  1. Pingback: Unassailable « In 2 Deep

  2. K

    Talking about lessons and insights. I am in the throes of some clearing and processing. Some of the emotional things to work through are things that others have done. Earlier on, I confronted some of the people involved. Nowadays, the events that come up just get processed through. The hard issue is unskilled behavior on my part in the past. These have come back into my active memory recently and I am considering contacting the people involved and apologizing. This was many many years ago (think decades) when we were all young and unformed. Surprisingly, I have no fear (or cringing sensation) when I think of contacting and apologizing whereas in the past, I would have cringed to even consider bringing these things up. I do have some inertia though. My question is this – have you dealt with similar things and how did you handle them? Did you try to go back and apologize? Thank you

    1. Hi K
      I would say it rather depends. The big part from our side is resolving the charge in old memories and letting go of perceived hurts.

      We all make mistakes. But we have no control over how others respond or if they hold resentment, etc. Their response is for them to resolve and is independent of the past.

      We may feel it is important to apologize. Thats actually become a popular approach more recently. But who is the apology for? Who does it serve? Will apologizing just revive it for them? Perhaps they’ve long since forgotten about it or it never landed for them the way it did for you. Bringing it up again may help you heal but may not help them.

      In other words, it has to be done with some skill and consideration. If it’s about you resolving your past, then just do so without reviving it for others.

      It is healthy that you’re prepared to apologize but you have to consider if that will serve them too. It is more than possible to resolve your past without engaging the others. Our healing is not dependent on them but can help them release when it does arise for them.

      Here, yes, I have done some deep forgiveness. I think I talked about that a little on articles about gratitude (that helped culture it).

      There are a couple of people I apologized to but they were people still in my life. For the most part, we’d already discussed such things – what needed to be healed is the charge I held, not the circumstance in the past.

      Watch for things like guilt – they are a symptom of something to heal rather than something to act on.

  3. K

    This is helpful to consider why I want to apologize. I think if I were asked, I would say it is because I treated people unfairly and I feel that should be acknowledged because they are people too. When I was (much) younger, I did not always see everyone as people just as myself. I did however feel very, very bad if I did unskilled things when I was younger – in fact the guilt and suffering was always out of proportion. But it was about myself. Nowadays, when I recall things that I did – I get a brief emotional surge and I acknowledge my unskilledness to myself (and to God). So the reason I want to go back and apologize is in acknowledgement of the fact that the recipients of my actions were people just as myself and I was “no more no less” a child of God than them. I am not going to tell them about the thought in the previous sentence – but if I apologize it is an acknowledgement to myself that they were human beings just as myself and so should have been treated with consideration. (On the whole, I was not that bad a person – just immature and self-absorbed and not aware).

    1. Hi K
      It can also be useful to have a bit of perspective. For example, this stages model. (I talked about this some in my Stages talk at SAND)'s_stages_of_ego_development

      It’s very normal to put ourselves first until the late-20’s, assuming we even outgrow that. It’s also normal to regress from our stage when under stress. We use terms like “acting out”.

      When we mature and look to heal our history, it can be pretty harsh looking back. Many avoid going there to avoid this. But it’s also pretty normal.

      Learning to put down our regrets is deeply healing and makes us much less inclined to continue carrying the shadow and its potential for that behaviour to arise again when stressed.

  4. K

    I wish I knew the time frame for the processing and unwinding. I seem to be spending have been spending the last 2 years or longer processing and unwinding and I assume that I am learning some lessons. Clearly, there is a lot to process :-). I wish I had not been so busy racking up this curricular material 🙂 now I am digesting it. Lot to digest. One thing, is that exact lesson is not obvious to me. My behavior and reactions have changed but perhaps the behavioral change is the lesson? Ultimately, in dealing with this, one has to deal with it on one’s own and process it. Just like no one else can digest things for you.

    1. Well – its the mind that wants to know. It’s not so much we learn lessons in the unwinding but rather learn how to be with life better from the experience of unwinding.

      Unwinding is essentially a letting go rather than a doing. An allowing rather than controlling.

      Mind would like that to end so it can get back in the drivers seat. But thats not the end result here.

      This stuff goes back a long ways so we can’t expect to unwind it quickly. We tend to work progressively deeper and more subtle until we’re working on universal levels. In that sense the process doesn’t really end.

      However, the process does lead to change and a progressive improvement in quality of life. It’s more than worth the effort. And there is huge learning in that process.

      1. K

        Thank you. Yes – the mind wants control back – mainly because my focus on other aspects of life such as work is not as one-pointed as I could do in the past. I am practically laid back which is very unlike my prior personality. And Yes – even though some of the unwinding is tough going – the quality of life (actually I would say clarity of perception and self-awareness) is better. Thank you

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