History: Student or Teacher?


We’ve heard it said, “History is our Teacher”

Are we then students of history? If so, students in what way?

For many, tradition and routine represent two tenacious teachers. How often have you (or someone you know) thought or said, “We’ll, I don’t know WHY we do it that way, we just do! That’s the way we ALWAYS do it.

Imagine the actress and actor Tradition and Routine taking a bow each time you think or hear the words we ALWAYS.

For many, history weaves the warp of time with the weft of experience into a brilliant mosaic cloth of memories. Just how does memory serve us? In some cases, memories bless us in their teachings. Such blessings form the rock solid foundations of our internal wisdom. In others, do they enslave us to repetition, by repeating lessons we know no longer serve us well? Lessons such as:

  • Poverty (not just financial)
  • War (not just nations)
  • Prejudice (not just race)
  • Illness (not just disease)

These featured few examples seem to hold great meaning. Why? Historical records well document our lessons in poverty, war, prejudice and illness. Do such lessons enslave or free us? If history is our teacher in the forms of tradition, routine or meaning, what lessons have we learned? What grade do you give yourself? Your family? Community? State? Nation?

Care to hit the books to craft a grade? Ready for a quick challenge? Pick a historical point in time. A time you’re really drawn to. It doesn’t matter when. Pick a date span you like as well. Review the following issues in their historical context:

  • Poverty (not just financial)
  • War (not just nations)
  • Prejudice (not just race)
  • Illness (not just disease)

Your review need not take too much time. A quick review of the daily issues in a recognized recorder of the times (newspaper, court documents, academic studies) along with what shows up in advertising (magazines, flyers, latest health related tonics) speaks volumes. From your research, have we really changed levels of poverty, war, prejudice or illness? Or have we become more savvy in our ways to make it seem we’ve learned from our history.

Clearly, history provides us many teachers, especially in extreme moments. We witness the rally to the cause when something drastic or unexpected happens. (Disasters, disease, death.) Why only then? Why do we return to some level of historical comfort? Or less dramatic, on a more annual cycle, if the spirit of the holidays inspires us to be more generous with our resources, why do we historically become less generous once the moment has passed?

  • Limited resources?
  • Law of diminishing returns (too much of a good thing diminishes it’s goodness)?
  • Fear of being beholding to the gift giver (gifts with unknown strings attached)?
  • Thermodynamics (systems striving to find an equilibrium pre/post change)?

Or is it all about the comfort of known cycles. Clearly, what is known is far more comfortable than the unknown.

If we know it’s just temporary do we enslave ourselves to repetition? Now repetition is helpful to learn something new. Repetition helps to create such familiarity that something becomes a norm. The question then turns to what is normal. A new norm of poverty? War? Prejudice? Illness? Such norms may carry a high expense, in more ways than one.

Once we’ve reached a normed level, do we find ourselves ready for a new lesson, or numbed to repeat a comfortable, historical cycle? For many, most norms seem to carry a high price For some, they avoid such costs by simply observing the smallest details. Those tiny, almost transparent details Such detail is the voice of intuition. Have you heard your intuition lately? If so, just how much do you trust it? This voice allows us to tap into the powerful teacher history really is – real time!

Intuition plants the seeds of hope if we allow it. Hope in the form of active awareness of each lesson as it’s taught. In learning our lessons, history may help us become lively, engaged, empowered students. Students who embrace change Embrace change to the point that NO one is hungry, homeless or hurt. Ever.

While it’s true adversity is a teacher, it’s equally true a safe space / place inspires learning too! Those who practice the popular notion of no pain no gain, seem to engage an insidious cycle where joy is suspect and pain is normed even rewarded! Once we norm pain, does that help or hinder our history teacher.  Over time and experience, (the two ingredients we mix together to make wisdom), just how much pain do we need to tap into the lessons history teaches us?

May we allow the wisdom of the ages to inspire us to learn AND grow, painlessly.

May we engage a teacher not anchored in routine, past meaning or fear of change, but a teacher who helps us dance with the common sense of ageless wisdom.

May these words help us kick up our heals and enjoy a lively dance.

May the rhythm of cycles inspire us to nurture the seeds of hope to help us create new meanings.

May these new meanings painlessly nurture our bodies, minds and souls – individually and collectively, teaching us how history is a powerful teacher.

Now, the question becomes, “Do we wish to re-learn!”

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One comment on “History: Student or Teacher?


Do we wish to learn?

For many people the answer is a resounding no, the body language may say yes but the internal being says no. Learning can become to difficult and time consuming. Most feel secure in the repetitiveness, attempting change can have a traumatic affect, which most will just not attempt to do. They find comfort in the historical past no matter how bleak that past may have been, making excuses and even accelerating the issues even further. No matter the pain that it may cause, misery loves company as the old saying states. Only when the person reaches a point where the pain cannot be tolerated any longer will they even consider the idea of a change. The history of their lives come to a point where it cannot be tolerated any longer.

That is where the teacher can step in and begin to work. The process has to begin slowly accelerating as times passes. The student(ourselves) have to being to process the fact that all past history is not in our best interest. The teacher has to convey that to move on that the student has to examine what and why they are holding on to the past. What is it that makes this person if so secure with the pain and rejection. Only the student knows and they are the ones that have to look inside themselves and discover the answer. This is something that I read and posted within on of my groups and I think that it fits very well the the topic at hand.

Will The Teacher Appear?

There is an adage that goes,”when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. For many of us life is that teacher. Good teachers not only help us learn new things, they also help us to let go of the old ideas and old behaviors.

Maybe we need to let go of our dependencies. Maybe letting go of the negative ideas of how we think of ourselves is what we need right now in our lives. Maybe it time to deal with the issues we refuse to acknowledge and let go of resentment and rage.

Maybe it time to let go of some of that sadness and grief we are holding within. To sit still for a long time and cry or scream as loudly as we can.

If and when we are open to listening and learning from our teachers,we will know what our next healing step needs to be. We will lighten our load because we know what to set free.


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