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Forever Learning

by Robert Meagher on 09/11/23

Photo Credit: - Tima Miroshnichenko

Allow me to begin this passage with a parable…

A venerable leader of a spiritual community was nearing the end of her embodied life. As this leader lay on a bed, many members of the spiritual community gathered around her to be with her at this transformative time. One member of the community who was sitting next to her, reached out, gently touched her hand, and asked “How are you doing?” To which the venerable leader responded, “I’m still learning.”

During a recent Holiday Season, I called and spoke to one of my sisters. It was good to get caught up on each other’s lives. During the conversation, I learned of some stressful situations unfolding in my sister’s life. My sister expressed her concern for various situations involving her children that were causing my sister great unrest. I listened, occasionally asking questions for clarification purposes, but offered no counsel or advice.

After I got off the phone with my sister, I pondered our conversation. I felt like I was allowing myself to be drawn back into the family dynamic. I began to recall many such conversations with family members in the past. I also recounted experiencing these family unfoldings first hand when I lived in close proximity to my family members.

During dinner that evening, I recounted the above conversation with my sister to my partner. After listening for approximately 10 minutes to my experience, my partner reflected back to me that it’s possible I was feeling ‘drawn into’ my family dynamic because I was judging my family members. I recoiled at the suggestion I was judging my family members and shuttered at the thought of such mindless behavior. My nuclear family, and the dynamics that connect the family, has been the source for many hours of inner work and contemplation. I thought I was above judgement of my family members by now. Apparently not!

The more I thought about my partner’s comments, the more I realized my partner was right. Not only have I judged my family members in the past, but I continued to judge them—as evidenced by feeling ‘drawn back into’ the family dynamic.

I was initially quite discouraged at the folly of my judgement. But then was reminded of the beautiful teaching by Ram Dass… “I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion—and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.

Clearly, I still have some work to do in extending love and compassion in all situations. Clearly, “I’m still learning.”

Robert Meagher has been ordained as an Interfaith Minister and certified as a Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) Therapist. Robert is the Founder and Spiritual Director for Spiritual Guidance and Co-Founder of the Center for Human Awakening.

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Rev. Robert Meagher