Every Moment Is a Teacher

This very moment is a gift, the present they call it, and this gift comes in the form of a teacher. Every moment of our lives, good or bad, is here to teach us in some way or another. We usually cannot fully understand what exactly we are being taught but we can know for sure that all the variables which have brought us to this moment have not just been a chaotic series of events but have been ordained and planned by a higher power. There is great purpose and reason not only in our lives as a whole but also day by day, minute by minute. It is our choice on whether or not we use the present moment to awaken and fulfill our purpose or to put up walls and barriers preventing lessons learned because of fear and ignorance.

I cannot speak in confidence for everyone else out there, but in my own life I constantly find myself reaching out for something else to find peace and happiness. There are fears and demons hiding within myself and most of the time I’m trying to find ways to ignore them or somehow pretend to deal with them. Yesterday I suddenly realized that I have not been fully experiencing the emotions within myself. Once I broke through the wall of fear I realized that I still have a great deal of pain and anger. I sat in silent meditation to experience these emotions in order to let it go but I had trouble finding them. Then coming out of my standing frame, an accident happened in which I tumbled out of my chair and fell to the floor. In all seriousness laying there on the floor actually helped me to find some of that pain I was looking for.

One of the meditations I have been doing recently is called tonglen meditation. In this type of meditation you do exactly the opposite of what seems natural. On the in-breath you actually breathe in the pain and suffering of your life and then on the out-breath you let it all go. It’s not about believing that one day I will be able to let go of all the suffering I feel. It’s becoming at peace with the suffering and realizing that I can feel the pain and experience it but be able to let it go at the same time. Life is not about finding a certain place in time where everything is okay. It’s about realizing that this moment is here for a reason and being able to experience all that goes along with it, all that we feel and all that occurs. Until one truly faces their demons, they will only arise again and again.

I realize that this path is not for everyone. It is truly the path of the spiritual warrior. It is not easy by any means. Sometimes I’ll be sitting in meditation, feeling all the pain and suffering of my life. Not that my life has been all that bad but there is a great deal of pain there, as there is for all of us. I find that even when I am feeling good, I sit and look within myself and suddenly I find anger, sadness, and resentment. I sometimes wonder why on earth do I sit here and find all of these uncomfortable emotions? Many times I just want to shut it all down deep inside of me and find some way not to think about it. But then it just sits there and festers and always arises sooner or later. One of my favorite authors Pema Chodron describes it as constantly pealing away the layers of armor which surrounds us. As we face and fully experience all that is us, we slowly peel away layer after layer.

The goal is to fully experience each moment with nonattachment. Most suffering is not caused by the actual emotions or events of our lives. Samsara it is called which is a cycle of suffering which is caused by believing that happiness should be constant. The moment we are happy we think that it should never go away and then the moment it does we are constantly trying to find some way to get it back. A cycle occurs where we are never satisfied. Living in this manner we fail to experience the teachings of this moment and therefore never learn the lessons which we are meant to learn. Instead of pealing away the layers of armor, piece by piece more is added.

I sense an air of negativity in what I’m saying here. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been frustrated with my path as a spiritual warrior. I am tired of the present moment and tired of constantly having to face my demons. So many times I look within and try to accept what the present moment is trying to teach me. With peace I try and except God’s will but at the same time I fight it not wanting to believe that this is the path I am meant to take. Yet I realize that the times I’m able to breathe in and breathe out, and experience all that is me, eventually I find a feeling of peace. I find a love, a kindness, and a gentle spirit which is at the core of my being. I find this and I realize that my purpose is being fulfilled.

There is great joy, love, and happiness to be found in the experience of being a human being. There is also great sorrow, pain, and anger. It is not our purpose to find one or the other and accept it. I believe we are meant to go through this life experiencing every aspect of our being inside and out. We are meant to experience it all as is our purpose. May I accept the present moment as my teacher and learn all that it has to offer so that I may live a fulfilled life, a life which I am destined to live.

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9 Responses to Every Moment Is a Teacher

  1. Beth says:

    Colin, you are wise beyond your years.  This is an excellent post and it has got me thinking.  I am sending my thoughts and prayers your way.
    Beth

  2. Samuel says:

    I am reading the words of a emerging master of the human experience.Thou not paralyzed in your physical way, I have been devasted by addiction my whole life.I first came about your site by pure accident or"devine intervintion." I have followed you with much compassion.Thru your very power you have introduced me to Francis the healer, which led me to two special healers he trained here in houston.Wow my friend! Thank you……contact me any time you need a place to stay or anything under the sun that I can do in service to you and your family.I will only gain from it and be very honered if you were to call…..thank you…samuel….

  3. Dallas says:

    I believe God reached out to you and touched you in a way you may not have expected, but might have needed. So many people either do not try to feel what is happening or attempt to accept it and give back what has been given. Sorry if this thought isn\’t making much since, usually my thoughts flow freely and are more easily expressed, but I now have distractions as in my children\’s demands to make thoughts struggle somewhat. Will be more than willing to talk with you. Good luck with everything and you are a very good writer, will you write a book?

  4. N says:

    Colin, firstly, the article was an enjoyable read; there are
    quite a few topics you touched on that I truly wish a great deal more of society
    would turn an eye to. To an extent, we all have suffered and endured tremendous
    hardships; some of course more intense than others. It is, I believe, our true
    human nature to pursue happiness however faint the signal maybe. However, I
    feel that the presence you sense such as a "higher power" or GOD, is
    actually our own minds, subconscious if you will, looking and searching for
    that deeper understanding of what was (the past), what is (the present) and of
    course, what will be in the future. As I said, humanity is at such a loss when
    simply we fail to realize the wonders this planet has to offer, and more so,
    the joy and happiness we can easily discover within each other. If life turns
    out to be a lottery, then all of humanity has received a gift far grater than
    any monetary supply and as such, if our physical presence can not be made in
    the usual way, then our mental presence must provide for both. Please keep
    writing, as I\’m sure you realize that your influence is truly felt and
    appreciated.

  5. KIRSTIE says:

    Colin, Thank you for sharing with us your journey, both your physical and your spiritual journeys. It is true what the others have commented. You are wise beyond your years, and are truly becoming a master of the human condition. You are so eloquent in your description of emotion and the struggles we must experience. It is so inspiring to see you still smiling and still fighting. So many of us tend to give up on the most simple challenges, you are truly an example of what the human spirit is capable of. I have heard it in a Hindu proverb and also in book I just finished, that you cannot truly help others without helping yourself. Just reading about your experinces, your journeys, has helped me and so I hope it has been helpful to write about them as well. I have been struggling with depression, at first I thought it was mid-life regrets, but I realize I have always struggled with depression. I hate to admit it, it is embarrassing. It seems I really shouldn\’t have anything to be depressed about anymore than anyone else. It makes me feel weak and rather silly. I hate not being in control of my emotions and I hate feeling being ruled by my emotions. I guess embrassing them and really feeling them can only make yous tonger. recognizing that our spirit our mind can give us some control over them is very hopeful. My thoughts will be with you and your beautiful spirit. Thank you.

  6. Lucky says:

    Hi Colin.  My name is Sandy.  I just happened upon your blog.  Many of your thoughts strike me as common truths.  Coping with your loss by training your thoughts as well as your body is certainly the way to go because your mind is amazingly adept.  Comparing losses is like comparing oranges to applies, both are fruit, but totally different.  I have experienced loss but in a totally different form, but I still must train my thoughts to lead me out of the darkness.  As is yours, my mental training is worthy of the lifetime fight.  Keep up the good work and keep reaching out.

  7. Patricia says:

    I have missed you Colin! But you have been in my thoughts. I love this entry as I love all your entries. I guess one of my thoughts in reading this was the term "warrior" and realizing that the path of any warrior (as I do believe every human being is) is never always easy, it takes bravery and strength and a million emotions and choices of reactions to be present. I remember one time you asked me if perhaps I was "addicted" to my sadness in some ways when I mentioned how I can use my hard times often in my art or to motivate me to try new things. i loved that you said that because I still keep that in check and ask myself that question if sadness seems to be "taking over" – i know that sadness and pain and anger are not preferred emotions but they are part of the spectrum of living I think. To be without them would be a bit like living on a planet that never had rain, storms or tides. When truly depressed, I try to remember the tides, well aware by now the way that those emotions do recede and I will feel better. I remember a time where I actually think that I was scared of the range of emotions or at least the unexpected intensity of them after my accident. THen one day while I was trying to learn something in photography and failed miserably at the assignment – I got SO mad about everything – it welled up and I literally thought I would explode physically. And then suddenly my REACTION to that emotion changed. I took all that "mad" energy -there was so much of it! – and refocused it on a constructive way to reapproach things step by step. I wasn\’t pleasant that day – not remotely – but instead of letting the upsetting emotion take over – I sort of had this child-like approach suddenly of having a temper-tantrum feeling and then going to build a giant sand castle. It sounds bipolar or something but I just think that every emotion as you mentioned has its place and time. Although somtimes unpleasant it is energy and our reactions to that energy are important. So many hugs to you and so much thanks for making me think about this. You are a great teacher. and as our regular sign off – "Dream big, my friend, I believe in you! L, Patti   

  8. Greg says:

     

    Hello Collin,
    I encourage you.
    Yes, the physical pain is tremendous at times. Many do not realize the pain that comes with paralysis or all the other dilemmas.
    My neck was broken at C4,5,6.
    You know, before my injury I was what could have been called a AA personality. Going a hundred miles an hour all the time. My injury has humbled me. Made me grow from the inside out instead of the outside in.
    When our physical bodies are hindered we depend more upon our spirit. You see, we are first a spiritual being, have a soul (mind, will, and emotions), and currently live in our bodies. Even if they are damaged goods.
    Our spirit is everlasting, it is designed to be our perfection. It is our perfected form when our day’s are done on this planet On the outside we may look somewhat beat up. But faith in God’s promises and His true wisdom. We still get strong and continue to heal
    Be well,
    Greg
     

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