Teaching up for investigation: “It’s not up to you what you learn, but only whether you learn through joy or through pain.” ~A Course in Miracles
Upfront disclaimer: If you hear a charge in this post, you are right on. I’m irritated with certain spiritual teachings (I’ll get through it, but right now I am learning in a slightly painful way). I think some teachings are only useful in keeping us away from the real work, which in the long term is not useful. This one (above) for example has those markings. So, let’s investigate- if I believe in this teaching, that would mean I have no possibility of insight into my lessons. There is some being somewhere in charge of what I need to learn. It would also mean that I have a choice whether I learn through joy or through pain. I would agree, we have choice- and if I am using my strong will, I can will myself to choose to learn through joy, instead of pain. I mean who the hell really wants to learn through pain…..?
But, can we be honest? I can’t be the only one who has learned a lot of my lessons through intense amounts of pain. Pain, I was so immersed in I didn’t have the will power to choose joy, to even think that was an option. Does this then make me weak? Insufficient because I chose to suffer instead of jump to those lessons with glee?
To learn in joy is a certain kind of mastery I don’t believe I could even talk much about (I don’t like to talk about ideas without having personal experience). I’m not there. I think it’s possible for those who have worked diligently and intently on their path, and gone through lots of pain, but for most of us common folk, still ignorant to our True nature, this type of spiritual teaching might not be helpful. It keeps us in the superficial layer of our spiritual growth, where we think we can control how we feel by will alone. And where some of us who have gone a bit deeper than the superficial layers might feel bad because we aren’t choosing our lessons through joy. There were many times, as much as I was inspired by Wayne Dyer’s teachings, I felt like a failure because I wasn’t all happy, happy, joy, joy and maintaing my spiritual perspective through my shit, my hand on the trolley strap, so to speak.
To go back to this teaching that it is not up to us what we learn- this makes me feel disempowered. I know there is a soul, and I know contained within this soul are my lessons. I believe these lessons are universal, and we will all learn them as we are ready, which means we are the ones who choose to receive those lessons or to put them off. I also know we are given the extraordinary gift of insight, which can be used to look within and have knowledge into our lessons. I also trust, as we evolve into this soul, we will be able facilitate and consciously prepare and participate in those lessons. We may not know how those lessons will come to us, but we can know they are coming and will remain open and ready to receive. This may be the point in which there is joy- a sort of anticipatory joy, like YAY! Today I am going to be stretched and I can’t wait because I want to grow. But so many of us are unaware of this going on inside of us so how can we consciously participate, let alone joyously (therefore not knowing might be a more comfortable belief for those wanting to stay safe on the shore). This means the lessons that do come are probably going to hurt like hell because we don’t know what is going on or why and we are resisting them all the way.
Looking for the positive:
What this spiritual lesson does do is bring awareness that there are lessons we will learn and are learning. That is essential to know. It gives perspective. It also brings awareness to choice of joy or pain, but it doesn’t go deep or wide or guide enough to where many of us are right now in our evolution- not where we can choose joy in a pure authentic way while we grow (but we can pretend :-). Having only read bits and pieces of ACIM, maybe it does do this throughout the book. What I did read, the words inspired higher aspects, but it wasn’t very grounding for me. I am not content only with ideals. I want to be those ideals, and that is quite a process of unraveling and discovering. It’s work. Often painful- just being honest.
Lesson: The most helpful teaching/teacher for me inspires my true nature, while also holding the space of where I am with insight, guidance and compassion.