“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
Do you ever teach yourself a new skill? Are you satisfied with your life and resist exploring new ideas? Or are you always open to new perspectives on your life?
For many years, I taught in high schools and universities, and what I liked most about teaching were those moments when a student suddenly “got it.” A new idea or perspective suddenly entered their life and shifted their attention to that moment when it all came together. That’s what I saw as my purpose as a teacher—to awaken the students to think and explore their view of life and expand their thinking.
Learning Awakens Us
Hopefully, we’ve all had at least one teacher who helped us untangle the confusion of our lives or urged us to step into the unknown and discover talents we never realized we had. Those moments when something shifted were significant because we had to make a decision. Were we willing to explore this new idea or did its newness frighten us into retreating? When we chose to explore the unknown, we chose to let life and our participation in it become our teacher.
Our Choices Determine Who We Are
Every teacher must first learn the material that is to be taught, assimilate it, and decide on what is important to present to others. These steps are also useful in living life. They help us decide who we want to be, and the choices we make determine how we develop spiritually, emotionally, or intellectually.
Reflection Connects Us With Our Spiritual Core
If we want to truly understand ourselves, others, and our world, we must be willing to reflect. At our core is a spiritual essence that is unique. When we talk about finding ourselves, we usually are referring to being in touch with that depth in ourselves, but how we connect this to our external selves is how we create the whole of who we are.
So, how much are we willing to expand? Becoming our own most important teacher means that we accept full responsibility for our lives. We choose a set of values to guide us, and we see each challenge as an opportunity for learning. We make the best decisions we can, and then we reflect on our behavior. Did we accomplish what we hoped? Did we do it without harming anyone? Are we comfortable with the consequences of our choices?
Spiritual Solutions to Problems Are More Lasting
When things don’t work out the way we wish, it is often difficult to admit our mistakes and get help solving our problems. Our egos don’t like to admit our choices weren’t good, so we may choose to resist any suggestion we made poor choices. The more we resist, the greater the problem becomes, and the more we block valuable intuitive and inner guidance.
When we’re willing to reflect honestly and look at the situation from our hearts, we then open ourselves to the spiritual guidance that is always there for us, through prayer or meditation, from Spirit. Developing our relationship to Spirit will offer a new dimension to our decision-making abilities. Solving problems at this level can give us more substantial and lasting solutions to problems.
Being Our Own Best Teacher Requires Self-discipline
Teaching ourselves is a life-long process, and like the classroom teacher, hopefully we share what we learn on this journey. Over the years, dealing with fears of inadequacy and rejections was a major challenge for me. I explored many techniques for releasing it. In each case, I had to teach myself to use the technique. I had to choose to work with it every day, month after month, until I could see if it was beneficial or not.
Others can teach us about a technique we can use, but we have to teach ourselves to use it, and that requires self-discipline. While I often heard that it was natural to experience fear, I saw too many examples of the way psychological fears controlled people’s lives in negative ways. I decided to teach myself how to live without those fears. From my modern dance career, I had learned that I had to practice if I wanted to achieve a skill level that would allow me to perform. So, I applied that same persistence to learn the technique to release my fear. As a result, those old fears no longer dominate my life. I decided to become who I wanted to be.
Because learning to release my fear has been so valuable to me, I teach workshops on this technique several times a year and share with others what I have learned. Since I live in a community of conscious people, I am grateful for the things they have learned and share with me. I am particularly grateful for the way people have shared their technical knowledge with me, many of whom, like me have chosen to be their own teachers.
Teaching Ourselves Expands Us
Today, especially with the internet, there is an endless opportunity to learn. As our minds expand, our lives expand, our spirit expands and we become so much more than we ever dreamed we could be. What will you teach yourself tomorrow?