I just heard for the umpteenth time that we humans incarnated to learn spiritual lessons. Since that paradigm is SO pervasive, and in my opinion often leads to people feeling icky about themselves and their lives, I'd like to put some alternate proposals on the table for your consideration.
Of course I don't know sh-t about the true purpose of life, but I have noticed that almost inevitably, when I hear the 'learning lessons' concept from someone, it's laden with self-judgment, as in, Well, I guess I haven't learned my lesson yet, or, If I had figured this out earlier, I wouldn't be going through this divorce/illness/crisis.
I hate to see people beat themselves up like this. What if the starting premise is inaccurate? What if there was a way of framing the human experience that was not about learning or progressing? What if any situation you find yourself in is perfect, not as a means to an end, or a lesson to be learned eventually, but perfect in this moment in and of itself?
What if instead of being here to learn lessons, we are here to simply experience? not to learn or to grow or to master, but just to feel and do for the fun of it? even when an experience is not pleasant, it's still something we can sense, attend to, and engage with.
what if we are here to create? limited circumstances (health, financial, etc) could be like choosing a few interesting colors for our palette so we can see what we can do with them. black and white photos are limited, but within the restriction we are gifted with beautiful subtleties.
or what if we are here to love? maybe crisis is just another opportunity to give from the heart to whoever shows up in front of us.
let's take a serious illness, for example. there are a lot of ways to look at it -- some viewpoints are empowering and uplifting, and some are disempowering and discouraging.
For example, are you sick because you ate hot dogs laden with toxic chemicals for lunch 5 days a week when you were a kid?
Or are you sick because someone in the medical system needed the gift that you are perfectly wired to give naturally, and your heart and soul responded to the call?
There's no right answer, of course. It's just a choice of perspective. If I decide that I am here to give love, I can do that anywhere, under any conditions.
I can love when I am healthy, and I can love when I'm sick. I can express love to the nurse, the radiology tech, and the other patients in the waiting room with my smile, my eyes, my words and with my thoughts. I can love the scared people with the same diagnosis in the online chat rooms. Illness often connects people with folks they'd never come in contact with otherwise. It's a smorgasbord of opportunities to emanate compassion and acceptance!
But it's hard to do all that if I am busy trying to figure out what lesson I need to learn from my illness so I can heal it and get back to my regular life.
St. Francis reportedly prayed Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. I tweaked it, of course. When I speak it, I say Love, make me an instrument. I took out lord because the concept is meaningless to me. Love, I can comprehend. I took out of thy peace because love is not always peaceful. Sometimes it's loud and messy. Sometimes it stirs things up rather than settles them down.
When I invite love to make me its instrument, I am coming into alignment with what is already happening. I am intentionally surrendering my personal will to my greater purpose. I am melting my mind's resistance, letting go of my little ideas of how my life should and shouldn't happen, and instead focusing on giving love within whatever circumstance I find myself.
Because wherever I go, there's bound to be someone who needs love.