“Allow the heart to empty itself of all turmoil” – The Tao Te Ching
How do we find gratitude for our darkest teacher? Who are the people who teach us the lessons we didn’t want to learn?
Our Dark Teacher
Sometimes I forget just how much generosity it takes to simply be ourselves.
We moderate, regulate, and over compensate to be something. What? It is likely if we were asked in that moment, of trying and changing and compensating, what we were aiming for, we would not know. More like that, less like this, or just this, only in this other way. We find ourselves contorting around an endless road of participation in something that has neither a means nor an end in the truth of who we really are or even aspire to be.
It takes a deep sense of giving to openly allow ourselves to surrender to the truth of where we are, when where we are is not close to the potential of where we would dream to be. It is an omnipresent need in the times when what we are capable of creating does not meet our idealism of creativity. When connections falter, ideals break and time passes to quickly.
So we stumble, and fall. We fail. We get rejected. We don’t meet our own expectations. As we stumble, we remember the dark teacher that pushed us down. As we fall, we remember the one that took the ground from below us as we slept. Confronted by rejection we feel our hearts weep for the time we didn’t ask but were taught, too young, too soon, the feeling of neglect.
The dark teacher is the person, place, time or space sent to educate us on the lessons we never dreamed of, to fill our worlds with experiences that we never asked for and to bring us to our knees with an abusive, neglectful reality that is too real to look directly in the eyes.
How easy it is to forget just how much generosity it takes to believe that we ourselves are reason enough. How quickly we forget, that we are the ones that need it most. It takes a kind of primal energy, to connect to the place within ourselves, to remember, like a homecoming of sorts, that if our needs are not pinned to our within, we are almost certainly going to go without.
I have often thought about the tightrope we walk, in the face of our own personal honest expression of who we are, what we think and how we want to be in the world. It comes from a narrative of never really fitting in, not at home, not at life. My own fine line to dace between the wanting to be myself and longing to be in communion with another. The balance between the expression of a cold truth and the warmth of acceptance.
Do we let our big dreams of being of service, of creation, of leaving a truthful individual expression of ourselves in the world become the hardest obstacle?
If we surrendered to our own fallibility and forgetfulness and humbly said, I’m sorry, I forgot just how generous I need to be with myself would it empty our hearts of the turmoil that we too often use as a tool to against ourselves through the pursuit of acceptance?
“To know tranquility is to embrace all” says the Tao. I don’t think this was referring to a kind of apathy to the worlds suffering. To embrace all may simply mean to surrender to our own mediocrity as the foundation of our pursuit to find our greatness. Perhaps it is that we are only ever accepted in the world outside with the depth of generosity that we are willing to give to our own self-acceptance.