Wednesday, August 21, 2013
#BlogElul: Every person is my teacher #takeaseatmakeafriend
It's easy to learn from the people we like. What about the people that we find more challenging? It is a spiritual practice to do as the quote above proposes to us. It is hard to do such a practice consistently. But sometimes I learn something about myself. Why are my buttons being pressed? Sometimes, if I open myself to listening with greater compassion and less judgment, I come to know something about a person that underlies the behaviors that I find challenging. My heart opens a little more.
There is a concept in Jewish thought - tikkun. You may be familiar with the phrase tikkun olam, which is often mistranslated as 'social justice.' Indeed, social justice is one way of acting in the world that brings about tikkun, but the word means much more. It is literally a 'repair' - to repair the world. To fix, or repair can happen on many levels. When I hear someone more deeply and a challenging relationship is turned into something more understanding and more loving, that is a tikkun.
When I think back to interactions in my life that have been transformed in this way, I recognize that these moments have contained within them some of the most profound teachings in my life.