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Earth School

[Photo: Life is pink...sometimes by Arqstein]

The Daily Om sends inspirational thoughts via email. The following is an excerpt from the August 21 reflection which was titled, A Life of Learning:

Earth school provides us with an education of the heart and the soul, as well as the intellect. The scope of our instruction is dependent on our ability and readiness to accept the lesson laid out before us in the circumstances we face. When we find ourselves blindsided by life, we are free to choose to close our minds or to view the inbuilt lesson in a narrow-minded way. The notion that existence is a never-ending lesson can be dismaying at times. The courses we undertake in earth school can be painful as well as pleasurable, and as taxing as they are eventually rewarding. However, in every situation, relationship, or encounter, a range of lessons can be unearthed. When we choose to consciously take advantage of each of the lessons we are confronted with, we gradually discover that our previous ideas about love, compassion, resilience, grief, fear, trust, and generosity could have been half-formed.
I often struggle with remembering that each of my experiences, both positive and negative, is an opportunity to grow and advance emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. This Daily Om reminds us that we must strive to view our experiences objectively so that we are able to recognize opportunities to learn when they present themselves -- which is arguably every experience that we have. Often times we are blind-sided by our emotional interpretations of situations. These are often learned responses that inhibit us from moving out of our comfort zones and growing into a higher, but scarily unfamilar, mode of being!

What does this reflection bring to mind for you? How have your unique life experiences shaped the lessons you have learned thus far? What lessons has life presented you with?

I read a book some years back by Richard Bach, called 'One'. A few of his books are a strange mix of semi-autobiographic aviation and philosophy, rolled up together (makes me wonder how safe it is to truly fly with this guy :) )

In the book, he'd learned how to fly into just the right kind of cloud, and through deep enough meditation and thought (erm, oxym.?) he would have these out of body experiences in the mind and soul of another person, past or present, of his choosing. He'd specifically choose people off the street, or great figures of history in epic situations, and live out days or months at a time.. "being" that person. The overall point being that given enough time, and enough trips around to all the souls that have ever lived, a single entity could truly account for all the known life on the planet, spent in little chunks here and there across enternity. This idea that every single person, and every single situation -were- setup, orchestrated by the One to be how they were, simply for the ability to experience them all first hand. The fight you had yesterday with your mother, for example, may've been specifically taxing because at some point, -you- were playing the part of her, purposely doing and saying what she did to test your own reaction.. to provide a situation to grow from, yourself. ( It also means that -you- wrote this post, to offer yourself the chance to think about it, and comment.. and that -you-'ve written everything you've ever read.. taught yourself, deeply loved yourself, hated yourself, etc. )

It's what I thought about, reading the earth school topic you posted. The side of me that's willing to let the world be here for a Purpose finds a lot of this sort of thing just as plausible as any other.. how would we know? If it's set up so that we -don't-, by plain definition we can't. In the One model, we don't find out because everytime we almost do, we just go back and correct our memory of the events leading up to the realization. Even if it takes a few runs to get it right.. in an eternity, there's time.

Growing up, my mom used to always tell me that I'd chosen this life. That if I'd wanted an easier go at things, I should've picked a different person to be when I was given the choice before birth. Kind of along the same lines of thinking.. that we've all made the choice (long ago) to take a spin at -our- life; the one full of the challenges that 'this' life has presented us. There's some side notions about whether anything that happens then is because this life is meant to have them occur, specifically so that we can experience and fight through them. Tough to know for sure.

> What lessons has life presented you with?

What's the syllabus of my particular life? It's definately an interesting question..

1. Learn to live in an environment of rage/fear. Identify signs of a temper, and signs of normal anger. Avoid absorbing this behavior as the norm.

2. Learn how to know when enough is enough. Pay heed to the actions of your mother, who will spend the better part of 2yrs planning and saving for a divorce, for your sake.

3. Experience the challenge of a double life. Your life at Dad's and life at Mom's will be two entirely different worlds. Early on, you'll need to make this shift every other day.. but as time goes on, it will settle into a school week persona, and a weekend one. Later still, a schoolyear one, and a summer one.

4. Suburbia! Take part in the trials of a middle class kid, with a family that genuinely cares about you. Learn to develop extremely close relationships with very small groups of friends. The lessons you've learned in #3 should help you adapt to/for each. Learn the ridiculous joy that comes from loving a single person for a decade.

5. Summer! Learn to truly identify and embrace your shortcomings in sports. Attend a sports day-camp for 12 years, every summer, and do poorly at most events. Swimming and riflery (and chicken tenders day! mmm.) are there too, as places of refuge and balance. It won't be all bad. For as much as you hate this place, miss being there later on in life, and think about going back to be a counselor sometime.

6. Consequences. Lose your father to the illinois correctional system for 3 yrs. Learn that any failing can be covered up amongst your own family. Figure out some way to trust things they tell you in the future.

7. SWM, seeks education. Explore the multitude of options presented to today's middle class, white males, when it comes to college financial aid packages. Elect to go with the armed services, since they're literally the only ones that will accept you, because the others all have specialties they're trying to fill. You will not be considered special. You can however Be All That You Can Be, by Aiming High!, so that's nice. Learn to run and shine shoes.

8. Learn to fail. Experience the uniquely emotional trials of mixed up priorities in college. Fail the one subject you've been good at your entire life, and learn to justify the decisions you made to others that led up to it. Still, accept responsibility, and get out into the world and do something. Absorb the heck out of what you're learning, because it's really all you'll have going for you.

7. #2 practice test. It'llve been 10 years, in a month and a day from the time you write this syllabus. Never forget. Try, and try, to trust other people, and fail a lot. Try, and try, to reach out beyond your own walls to let someone know you need them, and fail, a lot. /ghug

8. Go ahead and succeed. Be good at your job. Enjoy a career doing things you like, and helping people day to day through technology that you truly like to create things with.

9. .. erm, I don't know yet. :) Write this list up, along with this line here, not knowing what the next sentence will be. Turns out it was this one - not so exciting, but still a worthy sentence in its own regard. Ramble on, not knowing how to stop this item. Finally just stop.

10. Live. :)

Think about "Bloom where you are planted". I think when one meditates on these words one would realize that one must live and love to the best of their ability.

Like, this guy? :)

(i love seeing stuff like that out on road trips and such..)

LOL, I don't think that's what she had in mind, Loki :)

Some years back I was on a mailing list for MKs (missionary kids). Some would move constantly when they were younger, city to city, country to country, as their folks moved about, doing their thing. They very often felt as though they'd had a better, more worldly upbringing as a result; more developed in their ability to empathize and interact with others. Better at making new friends, and in general, felt badly for kids here in the states that didn't get to have the same experience.

It was an interesting topic to me.. I've moved a couple times, but certainly never far enough away to count as an actual lifestyle-changing change. I'd spent full decades with the same people, same friends, same family, etc.. which they all saw as a waste. Whereas I felt like they'd missed out on the pure depth that friendships bring after that amount of time.. the strength that comes from being linked to the same "hometown" for years (or more) at a time.

Neither of us, in the end, fully understood what the others' experience was like, without having lived it for ourselves.. but curiously enough, -both- felt the other had missed out on a good thing. And both got to "bloom" in the environment that they grew up in, making it very much their own. :)


I liked your post. I was in the same situation as you. I was around a group of people for many years and you do have a pure depth of friendship that occurs. Even if you do not see them anymore, they still made an impact on you to this day, especially if you were still growing phyiscally and emotionally. I'm a mold of everyone that was important to me during those years.

These kids growing up moving all the time may have had a more worldly upbrining, but I don't necessarily agree with them that it devloped their ability any better then you and I to empathize and interact with others. I think it depends on the individual. One kid could have moved all over, been shy and still is. Another, move all over and be outgoing and still is.

In either case, moving all over or being grounded in a location for an extended period of time, should not be a determining factor in the aboved mention discussion. I'm sure you and I and everone else in our situation are just as exposed to wordly ideas but in a different way. They may have saw different cultures, but had the same human experiences.

I play marbles.

I first went to the sand box to learn how to play Crazy Eights, but ended up learning how to play marbles, too. Marbles seemed like more sense to me, and that is exactly what I did.

So then I went to play at an official playground, played marbles all day, and then returned home. I played marbles at one place for a while, but decided I didn't like the shooter marbles that other people played with; I moved to another playground that had more fair marble rules. It was nice.

I played their marble games for a while, too. It was nice to play marbles during the day, and then come home and play Tetris and Scrablle, and other games, too. I knew all about marbles, and I was able to just leave my marbles at the playground in the evenings and pick them up to play the next morning.

Five long months ago things changed. I developed marble issues of my own. And now I get to play marbles with other people all day, and then come home and play with my own marbles. I don't have the mental break where I can play Frogger or Spades or Halo like I once did; now it's a whole day of marbles. That's just where I am right now, and lately I've been so consumed by marbles that all of my life lessons seem to revolve around them:

1. When you feel like all you're doing is playing marbles, sometimes the best thing you can do is make yourself pick up a coloring book.

2. This isn't chess; the pee-wee is as important to you as your lucky shooter.

3. You don't have to play for keeps.

4. When someone says to you, "Hey, do you wanna play pick-up-sticks?", say yes. You need the distraction.

5. Not everybody plays by the same rules; don't let it cramp your style when the house rules change.

6. You can always go back to playing Crazy Eights.

LV7 and genderist: Thanks so much for sharing your stories and lessons with us!

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