Apparently, I sometimes am! Or am I just slow to catch on? For instance, I am now 80 years old and did something today at lunch for the first time. Am I a slow learner or just slow to change patterns in my life? Am I teachable? Yes, but maybe I have a harder time with my answers when they are not given to me, and I have to figure it out for my Self! Here is what happened. John and I went to a Chinese restaurant that we enjoy. Usually, a waiter asks what we want to drink. Me: “I want mine with no ice, please.” John: “I also want water, but with ice.” Then we go to the buffet and acquire the food. I sit back down at our booth and see my napkin with a spoon and a fork inside. Realizing that I need a knife to cut my broccoli, and I do not know where the knives are, I try to get the waiter’s attention. I have done this every time I have gone into this restaurant. Sometimes I get frustrated because I cannot acquire the waiters’ attention. Suddenly, John and I talked about patterns, simple ones; I realized I could help the waiter by asking for a knife when I tell him what I want to drink. I began eating in this restaurant years ago, and I just now figured this out! Yes, I have had the previous pattern for years! It was my pattern! Ha! Today, though, I asked for the knife initially, and when I sat down and looked, my water was there, and my napkin with a spoon and fork rolled neatly inside. The waiter had nearly placed the knife with the blade resting on the napkin not to have it on the table was neatly placed. How great! No more frustration! It is difficult to change patterns, and this was a straightforward one. Think how difficult it is to break bigger patterns.
How long do people live with emotional or physical abusers before taking steps to change a pattern? Someone on the outside can clearly see that something is wrong, but it is much more difficult to admit to ”self” that we can improve life if we are willing to change our own pattern rather than trying “to control” someone else’s behavior. So how do we become aware and take steps forward?
Sometimes we go back to the way we have been taught. We choose books to read that might help us. That is the way I began a huge transformation in my life. I turned to books. I told God I would listen for the name of a book, and when I heard it three times, I would buy it and read it. We have always had teachers who taught by reading books or memorizing what we needed to know. That gives us book knowledge.
Perhaps I was ready for another type of teaching and was guided to the Native American path that John and I were both on for twelve years. I will never forget when I stepped onto my first reservation experience for a ceremony and walked up a hill to find a seat on the ground to listen to the Elder and leader of the ceremony. I heard someone say as we were walking, “Listen carefully, we are going to receive a teaching.” I expected something quite different from what we got. No paper or pencil, no pages passed out that we could have for a guide, no instruction.
Their way of teaching is to ask you a question, tell you a story, or perhaps later send you out on a task. They do not come back and quiz you on what you learned. Instead, they watch! One of the things that they are doing is to distinguish between the people attending the ceremony. There will be true teachers, and then there are others that are “would-be teachers.” There are also people that “think they know it” but do not.
This Native American teaching is never meant to be definitive. Their whole way of teaching is for you to learn the answers! You will never be taught more than 80% of a particular story or teaching. The teaching they give always leaves room for you to fill in the blanks. This Native American way of teaching is a medium for you to find your truth within YOU!
A true teacher, in this way, will never tell you that you are wrong or argue a point with you. The purpose is for you to find your truth within yourself. It is not to make you over in the image of your teacher. The true teacher is to help you find out who you are and see what talents, gifts, and skills you can discover and develop within. The whole purpose of their teaching is to assist you in finding your Self! The fact that I am passing this along is not for you to go out and teach others this as great teaching…because this is only my understanding of how they taught us.
I truly thought I was unteachable at first. I did not understand the point of the stories, nor did I understand why they were sending me on some of the errands they asked me to do. I began to understand a little when a ceremonial leader would ask me a question like, “What did you learn when you went to collect the sap from the tree? What did you learn about yourself? What did you think about when you were collecting the sap?” I was much more used to my teaching from reading books and what people told me. You know, parents, preachers, and others. I took everything literally. For these answers, I had to look within. Slowly, I learned about why someone suddenly told me a story on the reservation. Sometimes it took me quite a while before I got the “aha” and received my teaching from the story!
I thank all of the teachers in my lifetime, everybody from parents, relatives, and even those that brought me my most difficult times (they were great teachers on what not to do or what not to choose ever again). I love life. We may all think we are unteachable, but we are not! We can learn. We learn from without, but learning from within is amazing!
LESSON: When a teacher appears in life that is a true teacher, listen. Listen to the four parts of Self, the Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual part or, in other words, body, mind, heart, and soul. If the teacher is good, it will be great. Know the teacher will eventually no longer be in your life once you have learned!
Gaining new patterns and new understandings about my life as well as all life!
Gaining more compassion and empathy for self and everyone else!
Gaining a relationship with nature and all within and upon this earth!
Appreciation for all teachers that taught me!
Maybe I am still open and teachable since I am now “asking for a knife along with my water” in both the Chinese restaurant today and when I go to the Mexican Restaurant where I generally ask for a knife to cut the tortilla on the bottom of my chalupa! New patterns, a simple change. It makes it easier for me as well as the waiter!