In his book, 8 Habits of Love, Ed Bacon says there are 3 types of people: victims, heroes, and learners. And in fact, we can see our own lives from one of these perspectives. Do you want to live life as a learner?
We all have reasons we can be victims. “Life is suffering,” as the Buddha said “Life is difficult”, as Scott Peck writes in his opening line in A Road Less Traveled. I suspect all of us know something about suffering.
And many of us can see ourselves as heroes. That the universe is lucky we’re alive.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, many of us refer to ourselves as ego-maniacs with an inferiority complex. That we’re better than and less than all in the same moment. You get the idea.
I want live my life as a learner, with an open mind and an open heart. The challenge is that living one day at a time as a sober person I experience emotions and thoughts that cause me to suffer: fear, anger, regret, loss. And when I feel stuck with these feelings and thoughts, I am incapable of loving myself and finding my own peace, joy and creative power.
So how do we create full, meaningful lives? My sense is that we begin by staying open. To practice being learners. By practicing waking up and seeing each day as an opportunity to learn something new – about the universe, about the Divine, about ourselves, about each other.
Here are 4 steps I’ve discovered to help me remain teachable. To help me remain open – in mind, body, and spirit. To help me live my life as a learner.
To breathe in. To breathe out. To be still.
To know that each breath is the Divine breath breathing through us, inviting us back to ourselves, to our True Nature, to the Divine Indwelling.
To see ourselves in truth.
To see ourselves as we truly are – born innocent and blessed. Beloved children of this abundant universe. As beloved children made in the image of the Divine.
To nourish ourselves in body, mind, and spirit.
With life-giving foods, with life-giving relationships. With right work.
To be of service.
To give a part of ourselves as an offering of gratitude for being alive. In early recovery, we’re encouraged to begin offering ourselves to others in meetings. To greet folks at the door. To make coffee. To help clean up after the meeting.
When we’re newly sober, many of us need the help of a guide, a mentor, a recovery coach to help us get on the stable ground and begin opening our mind and heart to what the day has to teach us.
We’ll look at these separately in upcoming posts.