Am I teachable? Am I open-minded enough to hear what the universe is telling me? Or, am I running the show, only thinking that I am open and teachable? In my humble opinion, I always think I’m wide open and like a child, curious, interested and teachable. But the reality is, most of the time, it’s just the opposite. It’s not that I mean to not be teachable, it’s just that, well, let’s be honest: Sometimes (oftentimes?) I’m spiritually arrogant and I think I know what “God’s will” is for me, when nothing is farther from the truth!
And let’s face it – my spiritual arrogance has gotten me into a lot of trouble in my life. Anytime I think I know something, I am closed off to other points of view and other truths. Religion has this potential to make someone feel religiously safe, but it is hubris. Do we really know what will happen to us in the afterlife? Do ever put other religious beliefs down to make our own beliefs right? Do I seek security over growth? If I do so, I close down my teachability and lose out on forward motion and spiritual growth.
There’s a story of a monk who approached the Buddha, asking to be taught enlightenment. The Buddha could see that this particular monk was arrogant and full of himself. So he invited the monk to have some tea. He placed a steaming hot cup of tea in front of the monk. Then, he turned to get the boiling tea kettle so he could pour more into the monk’s cup.
The monk stopped the Buddha saying, “What are you doing?” He said incredulously. “If you try to pour any more into my cup, it’ll overflow and scald me! There’s no more room in my cup!” And the Buddha answered the monk, “if there’s no room, how could you expect to receive anything?”
The monk then understood that he had to be open and teachable. He left the Buddha with new vision to be open to new: Ideas, teachings and lessons.
It made me think – How often I have walked through my life thinking I had the answer? How often I have thought I knew how a situation would turn out?
When I am in that state, I lack humility and the ability to be teachable.
I had a relationship which I was sure would be the answer to all of my problems…I was wrong. I had a job which I thought would last forever, or at least provide for me a living for as long as I wanted it. Wrong again. I thought that I would be fulfilled as a person if I could just have children. Um, no, that wasn’t the answer either.
But as long as I thought I knew what I needed, I couldn’t hear the message of what was truly right for me. And as a result, I ended up making all kinds of mistakes in my life because I didn’t trust my inner voice. As long as I think I know what I need: The right partner, the right job, the right <fill in the blank> – I can’t hear the spiritual answer. I am not teachable.
So, now I confess I have vast experience in being wrong. I have been a full cup instead of an empty cup. Today, I strive to be open to the new in a different way. I want to show the universe that I am ready to receive new teaching and experiences. So, I have to say a prayer everyday.
The prayer I recite daily as my mantra is:
“God, please save me from getting what I think I want. Instead, replace it with what You would have for me.” I do this so instead of working my own agenda. Thus, I am more open to the experiences the universe wants me to have. And I find I am more teachable and open to new ways of being.