As a world traveller and spiritual teacher, I would be the first to acknowledge that teaching is definitely a powerful means of trans-forming people. However —and this is one of the key points of this post — teaching’s potency can be rather exaggerated. For instance, can the eagle teach the horse to mount up on wings and soar high over the mountain peaks? Flip that around: Can the horse teach the eagle to charge into the fray with tremendous strength and stamina across open country, eating up the ground in frenzied excitement?
One reason teaching is limited is this: nature matters. Nature confers possibilities, and potentials; but also limitations. There are clear limits to what any nature can do: A shark cannot walk on dry ground; a tiger will never be able to give birth to a crocodile; a tree will never be able to invent a smartphone—because nature matters. And because nature confers limits, some things cannot be taught by one nature to another. Thus, as potent as teaching is in transforming persons, it must be held within pragmatic bounds.
Several years ago, as I was getting set to give a lecture at our Success Academy, this picture popped up in my mind: On the stage, in a large lecture hall filled with horses, lions, deer, raccoons, alligators and anacondas, stood a bespectacled eagle. The title of its lecture was displayed on a huge screen behind it: How To Fly Like An Eagle.
Instantly, I intuited that the picture had everything to do with my efforts then at the academy. Like the eagle, I was wasting my time trying to do the stupid: giving lectures to horses on how to fly like eagles.
The horses might take note; they may nod their heads in agreement; they may even regurgitate the bullet points successfully in a oral and written examinations—but when push comes to shove, and they are pushed off the edge of a mountain cliff, nature will have the last scoff at their presumptions.
You don’t have much time to spend in this region of time and space we call existence. Don’t be stupid. Don’t waste your life in the folly of trying to learn to do what you were never built to do; to be what you were never designed to be. For the same reasons, don’t waste the precious moments of others by trying to force them into moulds they were never designed to fit.
I shared my story of the bespectacled eagle late last year with my seat neighbour on a flight from New Orleans to Houston; a bubbly lady from Vancouver that had just finished participating in a global conference of therapists, and was on her way back home. Leaning forward, her eyes gleaming with excitement, she marvelled, “Wow! That was exactly what our conference was all about.”
Of course, I probed her for more.
“We were taught at our conference,” she continued, “that the patient, not the therapist, is the real expert. You are the expert on you.”
“The first and most important duty of the therapist,” she went on, ” is to understand the patient.”
Referring to the bespectacled eagle, she concluded: “Rather than try to teach the horse to mount up on wings, the eagle should learn from the horse what it means to be a horse. Then try to show it the best way to do what the horse was built to do.”
Smiling at her, I replied, “That’s really cool.”
She helped me clarify the lesson in my vision of the bespectacled eagle: The best ‘teaching’ I can give to my world is to understand and accept their uniqueness; then help them excel at being themselves.
Observe how nature works. Note her flow of life. Feel the energy of your Source —the One you came from; that Inner Power that designed, built, and is still building you. Accept and celebrate your uniqueness. But you must also do the same for the world around you: accept and celebrate other people’s uniqueness, especially in those ways that they differ from you. This is vital to your inner peace, happiness and fulfilment in this brief journey of yours. This is also how to attract abundance into your personal journey.
So, here’s the deal: I’ll accept you just the way you are and not try to ‘fix’ you; as long as you accept me just the way I am and not try to ‘fix’ me. Be you and let me be me; there’s enough room to accommodate our differences.
Have a blissful week!
Image by: worth1000.com