Our lives are filled moment-to-moment with opportunity to learn. All that we encounter provides learning opportunities. Our reactivity to what is presented in our lives is the lesson. More than just our reactions, it’s our reactions to our reactivity that provides insight into the unique being that we are. Observing our reactivity provides the doorway to transformation and growth. In this week’s blog I thought I would explore the teachers in our lives.

People in our lives are our teachers. Often the best teachers are those that push our buttons. You know those people that just get under your skin and cause reactions no matter what they say or do. We are easily aroused and pushed by how we think they should be or how they should be behaving. Whatever is coming up for us provides insight into our own issues and beliefs. If anger is surfacing in you, what is the anger about? What is it about the other person that bothers you? Looking into whatever surfaces with an open, willingness to explore will bring insights into long held beliefs that may no longer be serving you.

Similarly, the people that we are the closest to can be our most challenging teachers. Being close to someone often prevents us from seeing the challenges right in front of us. Proximity creates a bias that we are unable to detach ourselves from. If we are able to step back from the situation and see it from a broader perspective we may be able to gain insight. It is like sitting right in front of a TV screen. You can only see what the blurry colours right in front of you versus the whole picture. We are very attached to the people closest to us. We don’t want to hurt them or in some cases challenge them, which may also be a result of the anticipated reaction we will get from them that we don’t want to experience. It is difficult to escape from those that we are closest to. Our partners or spouses are with us a great deal of the time which reminds us of the issues we have reactivity to. In some cases, we find it so challenging to be with our own issues we distance ourselves from our beloved in order to avoid dealing with what is surfacing for us. The only other relationship that is more difficult to escape from is with ourselves. It is very challenging to walk about from oneself when confronted with things we don’t like. The feeling is like having the scent of skunk spray on us. We can’t get away from the stench.

Situations and events provide further insights that help us learn about ourselves. Happy events, such as the birth of a child or tragic events with the passing of a loved one bring up reactions within us that show us our unconscious beliefs. Happy events can show us where we are open and receptive to life. For example the birth of a child may be a joyous and celebratory time for you. Others may react negatively with this event in their life. What is joyous for one may not always be happy for another. When we are open and happy to the events of life, it shows us how to react to challenging events that occur. When something unpleasant surfaces, can we remain open just were we are when we are happy about the event. With time we learn not to judge the events in our lives as good or bad but rather as events unfolding for our witnessing. Placing a judgement upon something that happens in our life is based in a belief that things should be a certain way. When they aren’t how they “should be” they are perceived as being negative. However, events simply occur. There are neither good nor bad.

Throughout life, we are both the student and a teacher. We are constantly learning and in those areas where we have some inkling of insight we become teacher. Where events and people don’t create a reaction for us, we remain the unattached witness to what is. If others are reacting we can be a teacher for them through the detached witnessing of the events that are surfacing. Similarly, observing how we are in these situations can help us when we find ourselves reacting to something. Our non-reactivity is a teacher to those times when we are immersed in reactivity. If we can stay open, as we are in moments of non-reaction, issues will be less challenging for us and we will remain free.

Being curious about whatever surfaces for us, rather than reacting to our reactivity, is a great way to learn from the events and people in our life. If I am curious about my anger when it surfaces, I will learn and the intensity of the moment easily passes. If I can be curious when I feel hurt by the comments of another I can learn about the limiting belief I am holding about myself so next time my reaction will be softer. As we practice being the witness more and more we find ourselves less reactive and more open to what is happening. Things that have pushed our buttons in the past are not so intense and we seem to let them go faster.

My challenge for you is to be open this week to whatever challenges present themselves. If someone ticks you off, be curious about why they have pushed your buttons. What is it about them that you don’t like within yourself? If an event challenges you, what belief are you holding about how things should be? What is the one thing you can learn about yourself this week?

May you always be open to whatever is happening
May you learn from your reactivity to people and events
May the intensity of your journey soften with time and insight