Increase Your Joy and Fulfillment and Make the Most of Life's Lessons
When the Student Is Ready, the Teacher Will Appear
You are probably already familiar with the popular idiom that says, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Have you ever taken the time to really stop and think about what this means? I thought I had a pretty good idea of what it meant until recently when I came across this phrase in a book and took a little extra time to ponder what meaning it had for me. I discovered that this simple phrase had a much deeper meaning than I had ever imagined, and it taught me a lesson that has completely changed my quality of life.
Do you believe that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear?
The Stereotypical Teacher
Being a teacher by profession, I never questioned the fact that I understood what a teacher was. After all, I was one. A teacher was a person who had training or experience in a specific area or skill set and was offering to share their knowledge with someone else who either needed it or wanted it.
I could list off tons of influential teachers in my life that were there when I was ready to learn a specific lesson. For example, I was presented with the opportunity to learn how to do foot zoning (an alternative medicine approach that is very closely connected to reflexology) right after I quit my full-time teaching job and started substitute teaching. I knew that it was perfect timing because I would never have taken the time to pursue this new skill if I was still working full-time.
I became close friends with an amazing life coach who specializes in EFT tapping right before I was involved in a very serious car accident, and she was there to teach me how to overcome my severe trauma right when I needed her.
These were both prime examples of teachers appearing when I was ready to learn something new. Until recently, this was about the extent of what this common phrase meant to me. Then I expanded my vision a little bit, and everything changed.
A More Inclusive Definition of the Word "Teacher"
One day as I was pondering, I was enlightened with a much more inclusive definition of the word "teacher."
This idea came to me on a particularly difficult day at school substituting when I realized that every experience that I have and every person that I meet (particularly those that are the most difficult for me to get along with) are teachers that have been sent to teach me a specific lesson.
I had the humbling experience of realizing that a lot of the time I was behaving like a really bad student. Instead of cheerily accepting the opportunity to learn from the teacher that was in front of me, I was whining to myself about how annoying the teacher was and complaining about having to do such a difficult (and even sometimes meaningless) assignment.
It was so powerful to change my perspective and recognize that everything I come across in my life is my teacher, and that every assignment (particularly the most frustrating ones) is valuable.
All of the sudden I was able to find more meaning and fulfillment in my daily life instead of feeling like I was being picked on or unnecessarily being put in the middle of unfair situations day after day. It opened up my vision to see all of my wonderful and gifted teachers, and my life was completely transformed. It turns out that the metaphorical thorn in my side was the exact teacher that I needed for the lesson I was learning that day.
Who or What Is Your Teacher?
Now, my challenge to you is to expand your own vision and discover what teachers are presenting themselves in your life. Look at every single experience (whether frustrating, exciting, or just plain mundane), and try to figure out what you are supposed to learn from it. Look a little deeper at each person you meet, and figure out what unique lesson they could teach you. When you do this, you will notice that many of the experiences you normally wouldn't have given a lot of thought to become extremely meaningful.
The situations that normally would make you frustrated beyond description bring you a feeling of fulfillment when you take them as the lessons that they are meant to be and choose to learn from them. Your life will be completely transformed when you quit asking, "why me?" and instead ask yourself, "what can I learn from this experience?"
The Lesson You Receive Is the Perfect Lesson for You: A Parable
When I was living in Japan, I heard a story that has stuck with me over the years. It was a story about trusting the master teacher to teach you the perfect lesson for you. It goes like this:
Once there was a young man who was born with one arm and had struggled his whole life with feelings of not being good enough. He struggled with many of the activities that his peers enjoyed, and yearned to find an impressive skill that he could thrive at.
He decided that he wanted to try out judo and began working with a very well known judo master.
After a short amount of time, he became frustrated because the judo master kept having him practice the same move over and over again. He felt that he had mastered this particular move and should be able to learn something else, but the judo master continued to instruct him to practice this same move relentlessly.
The young man went to his first judo competition feeling sure that he would lose, because he would be up against people that had a lot more moves than he did.
Much to his surprise, he beat his first opponent, and continued to beat each opponent he faced until he won first place at the competition.
When the competition was over, he told the judo master that he didn't understand what had happened. It seemed impossible that he would have been able to win once, let alone over and over again.
The judo master explained that there was only one way to counter the particular move that he had learned.
His opponent would have to take him by his left arm in order to counter it, but since he didn't have a left arm, there was no way that anyone could ever beat him.
This is a prime example of how a lot of times the lessons that life presents to us might not make a lot of sense in the moment because of our lack of wisdom, but they are always the perfect lessons that we need.
Step Up to the Challenge and Watch Your Life Transform
Part of this paradigm shift is finding the courage inside to believe that you are truly prepared for whatever lesson life presents to you. After all, the saying goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
That means that if life has just dropped a lesson in front of you, you have already been prepared for it. This eliminates excuses about not being good enough, smart enough, tough enough, or whatever enough.
If a lesson has appeared in your life, you are enough to receive it and learn from it. I truly believe that, and I know that when we step up to life's lessons with courage, choosing to learn from them rather than complaining about them, we are able to experience a greater abundance of growth, joy, and fulfillment in our lives.
I dare you to try it and see for yourself. Step up to life's challenges. Look at them as unique lessons that have been specifically designed for you, and watch your life transform.