Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this?”

Last week a friend of mine told me that he felt sorry for another friend. His friend was going through some rough emotional issues with his family, even involving lawyers, court and possibly a jail sentence. My friend really was shaken when sharing his story which got me to wonder what was really happening here?

He was extremely upset and emotional, because he didn’t want his friend to experience so much negativity. He basically resisted that situation and did not realize that this resistance was causing him emotional pain and suffering. Of course he wanted to help his friend and so he stayed by his side. He listened to his friend and offered recommendations, but he felt that no matter what he suggested, the feeling of relief did not come up with either of them.

It became clear that he and his friend were resisting the situation. Through resistance, they were also using their minds in the best of their abilities to win, while attempting to ignore the emotional side of things.

The spiritual savvy people will immediately shout out “Whatever you resist, persists”. And yes, we might have collected so many examples and experiences where this is true. But it’s easier said than done and right in this moment, it did not feel like my friend would benefit from just these 4 words.

After hearing all of this, an image came to my mind. The image of our life and world being a huge playground where we can play and learn. When we played as kids in the sandbox we learned from experience that things like throwing a handful of sand to your buddy, might be funny idea, but the reaction of a crying kid and shouting mother, quickly explained that this was less fun than anticipated.

Now that we are all grown up and don’t have the luxury of learning on the playground we need to strategize and solve issue before they get to the point of a crying baby, or in our case a stressed out adult.

How does the playground analogy work then?

If the world is the playground and we are the playing buddies, we will encounter happy moments and sad ones. If we enjoy the happy moments, but refuse to learn from the sad ones, then life will inevitably come back to us to give us another chance to learn about the sad moments. In my example, if the screaming mom did not make an impression on you the first time, and you throw sand at your buddy again, you will quickly see how they come back to you shouting even louder.

And this will happen again and again, until you are removed forcefully from the playground and sent home.

So instead of the typical “handling a situation” and therefore avoiding to learn your lesson, you might want to instead take a step back from the situation and learn from it. Obviously when you are in the midst of a challenging situation, this is difficult and therefore you find that having the guidance of a close friend, family member or even a coach helpful in keeping you grounded.

One method I use for myself is the coin-method:

I imagine the current situation imprinted on the one side of the coin, and the title of this learning chapter on the other side of the coin. I look at the coin and the challenging situation and then slowly turn the coin and read what this situation holds of value for me. Focusing on the value and what I can learn helps ease my stress immensely.

This way I can start understanding and most importantly I can start loving this situation and the content it wants to teach me. With this loving understanding of the situation you feel body, mind and spirit  align and you will graduate from this chapter and be available for the next lesson to learn.

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