Reality Isn’t Always Gentle – The Medicine Of A Harsh Teacher

Hello Love!

This week and next, I want to share something that's been on my heart and mind for a while.

The idea that there is a time and a place on our spiritual paths for 'harsh' teachers - the teachers that don't see us in our light, that don't think we're special, that don't make us feel safe or seen or loved. Teachers that deliver their message bluntly, with force and harshness.

I want to explore the gifts we may be cutting ourselves off from when we expect all of our spiritual teachers to be gracious, loving and supportive. I want to share why I think there is a real utility in teachers that don't love us safe, that don't respect us, that don't see us or hold us in our light - and why learning to learn from them anyway is the key to learning to learn from reality itself.

Let's dive in and see if we can't make friends with the medicine that is harsh teachers.


Reality Isn't Always Gentle:

Sometimes the BEST thing that will EVER happen to us on our spiritual growth path, is to interact with a teacher/teaching that’s harsh with us, doesn’t see us as special, treats us like everyone else, doesn’t offer us a safe space, doesn’t see us in our light or otherwise writes us off or dismisses us.

The universe is not human centric.

There's no universal structure that operates in order to fulfill each human desire.

There's no universal structure set up around the goal of us getting everything we want. Or even anything we want.

Rather we are arising within the structure - the structure isn't centered around us or coming from us.

While we can all feel that we are the centre of the universe  - because we are the centre of our own universe to a degree - in the context of real reality we are but blips on the radar.

I know the spirituality world is pretty committed to the idea that 'the universe wants to fulfill your desires and give you all you dream of' but I think if we all step back and get honest - there's no reality that bares this out.

Sure, many people seem to miraculously manifest and create the things they wanted in ways that seem supernatural. There are miracles. There are conscious acts of creation. This is true. We can observe that life DOES support life that’s trying to grow in many ways, and all life wants to grow. We are all trying our best in the systems we are in to express the blueprint we are. We are a PART of the greater structure and thus our desires and dreams are often possible, and deeply part of our unfolding - they are supported by reality and our effort towards them is rewarded.


Equally true, we suffer.

A lot.

We never get what we want.

There are BILLIONS (with a B) of people on this planet who don’t have access to clean water, food, shelter or clothing. Who will never be educated. Will have no hope of getting out of poverty. People born into illness. People born with mental/emotional A-Typicality that greatly reduces their capacity to care for themselves/exit in this world. 

These two realities both exist, they are both ‘right’ in the sense that we will never get rid of either reality.

There will ALWAYS be life that’s supported and life that isn’t.

Growth and death.

Chaos and order.

Structure and evolution vs. degradation and dismantling. 

We tend to want to focus on the shiny parts of reality, and to label the not so fun parts as inherently wrong in some way - we want to convince ourselves that we can one day ‘get rid of’ the harsh stuff - so that life will ONLY be the beautiful, aligned, manifesting experience.

***But this isn’t ever going to happen because both polarities are a part of this reality.***

Both polarities are vial for the continuation of life itself.

The more we label one as wrong, try to get rid of it, try to transcend it vs. learning to lean in and learn from/go with it - the more we cause ourselves to suffer. The more we do disempower ourselves because reality isn’t changing. If we don’t learn how to go WITH what is, we cut ourselves off from growth. If we keep waiting for reality to shift before we will accept and adjust, we will ALWAYS be thwarting ourselves from carrying on down our path. The path isn’t changing, and the more we resist it, the more we keep ourselves from growth. The more we can embrace the harsher truths of life, the more we can adapt ourselves TO them, find ways to live in harmony WITH them, and THAT is actually MUCH more freeing and productive. Accepting harsh reality and learning to adjust is the path to freedom. Continually waiting for reality to change means we will always be trapped.

We Don't Always Get What We Want:

I think all of us can think of multiple times when we ‘did all the spiritual things’ hoping to manifest our desires and it simply never panned out. Where we took ACTION. Strong action. Continual action. Where we tried every which way to do what we could to create what we wanted and still - the answer was no.

Or we get things we really DON’T want. We’re born into families that don’t get us. That didn’t have provisions for us. That led to us being mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically or otherwise neglected and abused. We were raised in communities that made upward mobility next to impossible with all of our friends and family members being parts of systems that caused harm/were harmful - and those systems were the most available systems for us to step into. We get sick. We get mugged. We go about our day, desiring things, not getting them, stepping in dog poop and wondering how the day could have gone so ‘wrong’.

With this, many of us rationalize that we were being saved from something that wasn’t actually ideal. We look back and can be grateful for the stuff that never came to be because we ‘got something better.’ We spiritualize the traumas and tragedies of our own lives and the lives of those around us - soothing ourselves with the idea that it’s all a part of some grander plan that our soul has devised for our true awakening. That everything that’s occurring - no matter how painful or chaotic it may appear to us now - is happening FOR A GOOD REASON. It’s what we/they need in this lifetime to learn what the soul needs to learn for that eventual lifetime when we reach liberation and can rejoin the light consciousness that we know ourselves to be somewhere inside.

There are no mistakes.

Everything is orchestrated for our good.

It’s a plan we willingly chose to participate in on some level, in some incarnation, in some form.

The human being, the human life, the human species - we are the pinnacle of consciousness and we are the favourite of the Universe. God’s chosen beings.

We individually are chosen, seen, cared about and guided. T

here are mystical forces at work that care about US - our happiness, our fulfillment, our ascension.

These are deeply comforting sentiments no doubt.

I’m not saying there’s anything objectively WRONG with believing these things. There’s SO much benefit in being able to see the good in our experience. In being able to find meaning and purpose in our experiences. To not allow the pain of our lives to take us down, and rather using it as a reason to become stronger, wiser, more connected, more alive. I personally love looking for the ‘blessing’ in everything. I see connections between my life and the grander experience of life. I see the connection of myself and the universe. I value witnessing life as a grand arc of learning, thinking of myself as having a kind of special blueprint, life path, purpose and potential.

But again, if we were to zoom out, we may see that to even be able to rationalize these things, to be able to hold these ideas as obvious truths - requires a pretty high level of privilege. Either that or we have to have super high levels of resiliency to hold them in the face of what may be considered an otherwise deeply painful and disappointing life experience. Holding this point of view is at once a tool and a reflection of a life that is specially gifted in ways others may never be able to dream of.

There are the miracles, the ease, the alignment moments. There is the safety and the provision. The times when life treats us well and we have peace. Yes.


The truth is - reality is also often harsh. Unforgiving. Unrelenting. Reality will make us clean up messes we didn’t make, reap consequences of lineages and lines we didn’t create and will have no regard for our feelings.

Which brings me, finally, to my main point here.

Harsh Spiritual Teachers Are A Gift We Need:

Sometimes our spiritual teachers/teachings are going to come across as harsh too. We might have to get used to the idea of messages not being delivered in a way that leaves us happy/feeling heard/comfortable - because that actually helps prepare us for learning from real reality - which isn’t built around what we desire or want to feel. Sometimes the teacher who’s not catering to our desire for delicacy is actually one who’s best serving our capacity to face the very non-delicate task of personal growth.

***Now, I’m not nor would I ever suggest that we should accept ABUSE from any spiritual teacher/teaching. Ever. What I’m saying is that we may be doing ourselves a disservice when we reject, write off, demand a change from the teachers/teachings that come across as not seeing us in our light all the time, that come across as harsh, blunt, not mincing words, that don’t see us as special but rather treat us like we are the same as everyone else. We may be cutting ourselves off from a massive growth opportunity when things aren’t said how we want them to be said/we aren’t seen how we want to be seen and we walk away instead of looking for the message anyway.***

Because REALITY doesn’t serve us our lessons in ways that are always comfortable, preferable and full of care. But we still have to learn from them if we want to have a better life. If we want to grow, we have to be able to learn from the chaos, the hard stuff, the painful stuff - the times when the universe treats us just like everyone else, no special attention or privilege or gifts.

My Experience With Harsh Teachers:

I’ve personally learned SO MUCH from teachers that wrote me off. That didn’t see me as special. That thought I was stupid or incompetent/had no hope of getting it. I’ve been literally mocked by teachers. Told I was broken. Made to feel that I was just a number. I’ve been made invisible. Excluded. 

There have been multiple times on my path where I wanted extra attention, extra time, to be seen in my specific questions/thoughts/concerns - and was absolutely ignored or told no.

Times when I was sure I was special and in need of a more ‘advanced’ or somehow different curriculum and was told to chop wood and carry water like everyone else.

There have been times when I felt that I must be heard, understood, seen - 'if they could just shift their perception of me they’d see! I’m capable! I’m amazing! See me in my highest! Don’t talk down to me, don’t tell me I’m not special. Don’t belittle me.'

I’ve experienced the sting of just being a face in the crowd. Not given extra time. Not given extra attention. Got given the benefit of the doubt or any form of respect.

There have been multiple times when I could’ve been justified in walking away from a certain teacher or teaching that were seeing me as broken, treating me as lesser, ignoring me, not seeing me at my light or my highest potential. Where I could have been upset enough at being treated as silly, small, normal, average, whatever that I was motivated to write off the teacher or teaching altogether, looking for someone or something else that made me feel more like the special butterfly I wanted to see myself as being.

What I learned for myself, or what I at least DECIDED for myself, was that when I was dismissed or disempowered by a teacher or teaching it was an opportunity for me to empower and validate myself while still looking for the message being shared.

To not exit the teaching environment because the teacher wasn't seeing me.

It was a challenge to see myself AND stick with the wisdom I’d been drawn to initially.

I’ve never asked a teacher to see or treat me differently. I just got to work. I used the lack of love from them as a reason to love MYSELF safe, to love MYSELF empowered, to love MYSELF as whole - no matter how I was being perceived externally - and this was a DOUBLE blessing.

One, it gave me the strength to hold this vision of myself ALL THE TIME - because let’s face it, the world isn’t going to see me as empowered. It’s not going to see me in my light. I’m never going to exist in a reality where I’m always supported and loved and seen through my process. Being able to do that for myself when the external world isn’t is IMPERATIVE to this growth process. Without that skill I would have been left feeling tossed about by every person who came into my life and didn’t see or validate me - and that was a trap I am SO glad I was forced to get myself out of.

Second, it helped me learn how to learn from the harshness of LIFE. Because reality isn’t gentle. Reality is harsh. Often.

Learning from harsh teachers made room for me to learn from the harshness of life.

Because reality doesn't bend to my emotional preferences. It doesn't stop me from suffering the consequences of my actions OR of suffering the consequences of my lineage and what I was taught before I knew I was being taught. There's no exceptionalism in reality. We all face the same structure and the pain and pleasure that comes with understanding and not understanding it.

Expecting a teacher to always be kind disempowered me.

It means I will reject the often harsh, preachy, demanding and righteous lessons of reality because I'm expecting to be loved forward. That's just not reality. It is my job to be that space for MYSELF - to love myself and always be a safe space inside - so that I’m empowered to walk through the world that is often harsh and unsafe. And I'm grateful for the teachers who helped me develop that robust capacity - some of the greatest rewards if my life came through learning the hard and harsh way. I'm so glad I didn't demand to be treated gently and to have my feelings respected. Reality doesn’t respect my feelings - it's what it is. I can trust or go with - but it's never made an exception for me because I was struggling or had guilt or wanted to be treated nicer.


Let's leave it there for today, and I'll see you next week!



Author perceptiontrainers

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