The Perfect Teacher


There’s a whole lot of truth to this quote.

I know, because I’ve been wrestling with it all summer. When we encounter feelings of anger, sadness, disappointment, etc., something in us flips a switch; and instead of dealing with it, we find something to distract ourselves from the discomfort. It’s like seeing your “check engine” light coming on in your car and ignoring for as long as possible. It’s a risky strategy, but we all do it. Even me. Especially me.

But those moments are like messengers. They’re the proverbial slap in the face that wakes us up to our immediate experience. And we avoid them valiantly, because dealing with them is too difficult. Too painful. I think the problem lies in the language we use. You don’t need to “deal” with anything. These moments aren’t mountains to be climbed. They’re opportunities to look inside. They are the fingers pointing to the moon. And yet we so often focus on the finger pointing that we miss the moon entirely.

Perhaps one reason out of many that we avoid these opportunities is that there’s no “safe” way to view them. Unpacking our problems is a daunting task, magnified whenever a friend or loved one tries to help. That’s where meditation comes in. Meditation is that safe place. Meditation is the classroom that allows you to take notes from these moments that act as teachers. There’s no judgement in meditation: no problems to be solved, no hurdles to be overcome, no obligation. You sit, you breathe, you listen and learn, and when you stand up again, you have the understanding that the discomfort is there to help you on your journey.

May all beings be happy and well,

Zack.

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