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A bit of Alchemy

I have a theory that that the best place to hide something from someone, especially something important, is right in front of the person's nose. They will look everywhere, except in there. In fact, I have another theory, that when you can't find something, it is exactly where you know for certain it isn't! This last theory is somewhat practical in that it has enabled me and others find things we have 'looked everywhere for'. I have a further theory that the secrets of personal development are much the same. They do not reside in some distant, tantalising, exotic place, but are lurking around right in front of us.

One such idea is that 'There is no success or failure, everything that happens to us is a learning experience'. You must have heard this idea before many times in many forms! Yet to what degree do we embrace this idea fully and take everything that happens to us as a valuable delightful learning experience on our journey through life? Probably to a very low degree! We probably enjoy the pleasant things and resent the unpleasant or unfortunate. Yet for the reason following we are probably missing out on the very things that aid our enlightenment and betterment in life. 

When things go well, or as we expect them to go, we are mapping the world in a satisfactory way and we are learning nothing. When I switch my pc on and it works and I get the program I want, then I am learning nothing about pcs. But when it doesn't start, or I get an error message, of course I am upset, but it is here that I have the opportunity to learn something. In fact, most of my learning has occurred when thing do not go as expected and I have had to try and try and perhaps do something different. When someone says, 'How did you learn to get out of that mess so easily?', I sometimes laugh and say, 'I've made that mistake myself so many times, that eventually I wised up and learned how to deal with it!' (It most probably wasn't easy. It most probably wasn't pleasant. But gaining enlightenment or new learning certainly was pleasant.)

Now you might say that in that example, it was a learning experience and something good came out of it, not easily or pleasantly, but in the end it taught, or caused you to learn something. But what about the more serious things in life? Surely you aren't saying that these are things to welcome and be thankful for? Surely, they aren't merely a learning experience?

Well, of course, they aren't merely learning experiences and no one wants bad things to happen. I should clarify and say it is our reactions in the long run that I am talking about. And the unexpected, amazing stroke of luck also comes into this category too. Both tell us that the way we think about the world and ourselves is in some way wrong, and prompts us to look for the reason and solution. These experiences occur as teachers to remind us that there is more work to do.

You would never say this to someone who had suffered a misfortune, however. But sooner or later, if that person is to heal and grow they have to understand and learn from the experience.

In the West, we forget that our bodies are mortal, vulnerable and relatively weak. That there are good times and bad times. Yet do you think it's possible that we live our lives like the creatures in HG Well's Time Machine, living, loving and playing, and not confronting our major task in life?

Should we, like spiritual alchemists, be transmuting the lead of our lives into spiritual gold? Are we missing this wonderful opportunity by throwing out the lead?


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Most Recent Revision: 20-Mar-99.
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