Now onto today!
Reality Has Been A Harsh Teacher For Me On Many Levels:
The reality I was born into and lived for a very long time was super harsh.
The lessons the Universe/my circumstances handed me were hard ones.
My body was born, through no fault or action or choice of my own, genetically weak. I was sick from day one and that illness got worse and worse. On top of that, I had caregivers who were in way over their heads - who had NO idea what was going on with me and due to that inadvertently traumatized me pretty severely.
I was born neuro-atypical and this wasn’t understood and life was NOT catered to me in any way. All of these things led me to being in near constant mental, emotional and physical pain - and this was not only ignored by my caregivers and the people around me, it was seen as me being EVIL. Being manipulative. Being weak and just not trying hard enough. The way I saw the world was really blunt and logical and this made people feel that I was harsh and preachy when I was literally thinking I was offering support and an opportunity to make things better.
Society wasn’t at all set up to support my natural way of being - the constant socializing, group projects, overstimulation, food that hurt - over and over reality was blasted in my face, in ways I had little to no control, degrading me, making we weaker and sicker - and that was that. Life didn’t protect me from the lineage of harm I was born into. It didn’t give me breaks or legs up.
There was no special treatment because I hadn’t done these things to myself. The mess I’ve had to clean up in my adulthood with my body, my traumatized nervous system, the deep levels of self loathing - I didn’t make any of those messes. Those were all consequences of things I didn't choose. Reality didn’t care about my feelings, my specialness, what I wanted or needed. Reality was reality. So long as I was in the environment of my origin, I was going to be degrading. I had to dig myself out, and I had to do it with the weakened system and degraded self esteem I didn’t weaken or degrade. I had to do it in spite of everyone around me telling me I was weak, evil, hurting them, wrong, bad, crazy and harmful for doing it. I had to work with the fact that I was deeply disadvantaged, and I had to do it anyway.
Life was just going to keep destroying me if I stayed. And getting out required strength I wasn’t always sure I even had. That was life.
No one was telling me I could do it. Or that I should do it. Or that I had a bright future ahead where I could thrive. It was very rare that someone saw me. Even a little. And no wonder - I was in SO much pain, the way I expressed made it pretty hard to really see me. And to think of all the things I know now, that I had to do to get out of that - I don’t think any reasonable person would have believed I could do it. Or that it was possible to do even if I was willing.
If I’d waited for a teacher who saw me, or for reality to be kinder to me or to bend to my emotional states - I’m not even sure I would have survived let alone ever having gotten to where I am.
Learning to believe in myself when no one else did and to OPEN myself to teachers and teachings who weren’t delivering their message in a way that was preferable/particularly empowering to me was literally the greatest gift I ever gave myself.
It meant I was and still am able to learn from ANYONE and ANYTHING, something I value greatly as I age and find that everyone has SOMETHING of value to offer, and my judging the packaging only limits ME - and it again, gave me the capacity to learn from REALITY - reality that doesn't’ bend to me or see me as special. Reality that is harsh and logical and consistent despite my insistence on it changing or caring about my feelings or seeing that I can’t take anymore.
It meant I developed that inner resource to see myself as whole even when others don’t. It meant I can now accept teachings I NEED no matter how they are wrapped up. I no longer request that the teacher change for me. I don’t ask to be treated in a particular way. I don’t ask to be seen. It’s simply not their job. A teacher who is teaching - it’s their job to get their message across. It’s not for me to judge HOW they communicate. And often if I am that put off by the delivery, by the wrapping, by the outer way the person is - I’m not ready for their wisdom. Or it’s not the right wisdom for me. Again it never comes down to them needing to change to suit my needs better. It’s either my job to see past the wrapping to the gift inside - because at the end of the day the only person I actually harm when I check out because I don’t like the delivery of a message is ME, the only person that misses out is ME - the teacher knows it, has it, is benefiting from it. It makes no difference to their experience if I reject their message. If it’s a good message, they are living it and it’s making their life better. If I walk away, I just cut myself off from the gift of that. Or it’s on me to say I can’t see past the messenger, and so again maybe I’m not actually ready for what they have to say - the reality of their teaching is too much for me right now and the teacher is being a deterrent for me, someone who’s making it so that I can’t access the teaching I can’t actually handle right now by being a way that makes me run away, or I assume the teaching isn’t for me.
But I don’t ask the teacher to change.
That’s not their job.
Their job is to live their life.
How they share is their path.
How they communicate is their job.
Sometimes the harsh teachers are the BEST again, because they prime us to deal with that harshness, so we can learn from REALITY the way reality teaches - harsh a lot of the time. Reality isn’t always gentle, so if we need our teachers to be ever gentle and empowering we actually disempower ourselves by never building the muscle to learn from the tough stuff of LIFE.
Advanced Teachings Can't Be Taught:
Lastly, I’ve learned that advanced states can't be taught. The foundations can be taught and we then grow ourselves into the natural unique advanced expressions. There's no utility in teaching advanced things. When I thought I was beyond the basics, that teachers were ‘hiding things’ from me or not revealing their secrets to me - the reality was that I wasn’t beyond those basics. Because if I had been I wouldn't be looking for advanced teachings - I’d be living those advanced teachings via reality teaching me.
ALL the more ‘advanced’ things I know/live came through experience.
I wasn’t taught.
And even if I HAD been taught, I wouldn’t have been able to embody those teachings like I can now, because without that training in the basics, I never would have developed the FOUNDATIONS to support the advanced ways. There have been times when I tried to jump to where a more ‘advanced’ teacher was - and it always ended in disaster. It was just me trying to skip steps. I could never hold it. Being treated like everyone else, given the generic, basic, chop wood carry water advice - that shit was the real deal. Committing to that stuff set me up so that I didn’t need a teacher anymore. It set me up to build those base muscles, and then reality could take over and take me on MY path - a path no teacher could have taken me on anyway - because the more ‘advanced’ you get, the more individual things become. The more nuanced. The more complex and uniquely suited to you life becomes.
In my opinion, the BEST teachers, the most advanced teachers, have no interest in teaching ‘advanced’ knowledge or practices. They are there to get people on the basics. Because they KNOW that THAT is the route to everything else. They are there to get people on the basics so that REALITY can take over as the teacher. Experience can take over as the teacher. The person's inner self can take over as the teacher. The trial and error process can take over. They are interested in the basics that empower people to decondition themselves from the idea that knowledge comes from books and teachers. They are there to give you the tools to connect to FEELING and AWARENESS and EXPERIENCE the tools to OBSERVE, the tools to learn from trial and error - and from THERE they know that you will then have what you need to keep learning and growing forever - human teacher available or not.
Ultimately what I’ve learned is that reality isn’t always the loving, benevolent, kind, bending to our feelings teacher we all long for. We have to be that safe place for OURSELVES, that constant place of love, support, witnessing, grace and safety - because when we can develop this INNER resource, we are then SO MUCH MORE CAPABLE of learning from reality with how IT IS. It’s not a teacher's job to be this safe place for us. Sometimes we need that as we are growing to do it for ourselves, but ultimately, if all teachers were safe places they would be disempowering us massively.
When we face harsh teachers who don’t support or see us, it’s a growth opportunity.
It’s not about getting the teacher to see their flawed way - sometimes it’s not a flaw at all. It’s exactly what we need to develop that inner resource we are going to need to develop if we really want to take on the challenge of ‘awakening.’
Because the process of awakening is hard.
It doesn’t treat us as special.
I don’t think teachers who are harsh, unloving, non-compassionate, dismissive or otherwise unpleasant are wrong, bad or even unevolved.
Some of the MOST evolved teachers I’ve met don’t have massive amounts of grace for people.
I again don’t think this is a flaw in them that needs to be changed - I think it’s an excellent deterrent for people who aren’t ready for the message.
There are some teachings we just need to be tough to be able to take in and benefit from, if we need it gently, we aren’t ready yet. If the costume by which the message is being delivered puts me off, I assume I can’t handle the message.
Just like learning to accept that darker, harder, harsher side of REALITY is the best for our ultimate growth and expansion, so too is it best of us to embrace the harsher, not so loving teachers. They offer us a medicine we may not like the taste of, of course we all prefer the teachers that tell us the truth with a spoon of sugar to help us wash it down - but again, those are only one half of the reality coin. Those teachers don’t prepare us for the other half of reality, which is equally vital for us to learn to navigate. The harsh teachers are necessary aspects of growth. They prime us and set us up to develop the inner strength required to take this awakening path. I don’t feel the goal should be to turn every teacher into our ideal loving parent. That would be a total disservice to us. Hard and harsh, direct, non-compassionate at times, beings who don’t see us in our light are just as vital as loving supportive teachers. They are medicine we would do well not to try to eradicate from our spiritual diets.
Again, this isn't to say that spiritual teachers can't work to be more loving, compassionate and inclusive. This doesn't mean that the world isn't served by more of us becoming safe places for ourselves and one another. This doesn't mean we don't work to change SOCIETAL SYSTEMS of inequality, harshness and harm that are human made that we can shift to make the world better for everyone. It means that the harsh realities we CAN'T change need to be embraced as such. There's a balance here and we don't want to go black and white. YES we can always be more compassionate and YES we can change systems so that the world doesn't have to be SO harsh - but there is SOME harsh we can't get rid of, and shouldn't try to get rid of. This is the balance we want to strike.
The best thing I EVER did for myself was learn to learn from teachers who didn’t care about me.
Who were hard and harsh.
Who were exacting with their words.
Who cut straight to the issue despite my feelings.
Who didn’t have time and patience for me.
Who didn’t see me in my light.
These teachers set me up to love myself safe no matter what, and they gave me the resilience to learn from the tough stuff of LIFE.
I never would have gotten through the processing I have, never would have developed the capacity to take the risks and do the hard work I had to do from a state of total degradation had I not been gifted the opportunity to learn from teachers who required that strength in me. They weren’t going to lift me. I had to do it. They showed me. Their teaching was the gold. But they didn’t spoon feed me or make me comfortable, and that’s part of the reason their teaching actually served me. I had to work for it. I had to LEARN to work for it. I had to learn to be my own safe place so I don’t depend on that from reality.
Tough teachers are in alignment with reality. They are the flip side of the all loving, soft, benevolent side of life. They are just the side of reality most of us don’t LIKE - but that doesn’t make it wrong, in need of changing or otherwise out of alignment.
Tough teachers are just the flip side of the reality coin - equally necessary and totally true to the reality of reality and what we often need to help us mature into beings who can actually walk a path of growth.
I'd love to hear your thoughts - let me know how this landed for you!