I just heard this new song called LEARN IT ALL AGAIN TOMORROW by Ben and his mother Ellen Harper. It is from a new folk music album they recorded together titled Childhood Home.
This song reminds me about how many times I’ve had to re-learn the lessons in life – how often I’ve had to “learn it all again tomorrow”. Lessons in decency, kindness, compassion & understanding. The lessons may be spiritual, mental, behavioral or physical. The physical lessons are the ones we easily remember and are able to advance from – for example, walking. Once you learn how to walk you don’t need to relearn (unless some medical reason or accident forces you to). Muscle memory allows you to continue walking without thinking about it. You can then “mature” and learn something new or move to the next level by learning jogging and running. Even spiritual lessons tend to be more knowledge based and once that knowledge is gained it is not necessary to relearn the same thing. But behavioral/mental lessons are a whole different ballgame because they deal with behaviors and being in a way that requires flexibility. Each situation is different and each individual is different so flexibility is the key and this is why we often have to relearn the same lessons in different situations.
The bad and the beautiful:
So many people think of themselves as deeply flawed for having to relearn life’s lessons. Or as many Christians would say, “It’s because we are born sinners”. But I would like to point out that no one is a “born sinner” our weaknesses of character, and bad behaviors are learned/nurtured from our culture and surroundings. And many people go on acting as they’ve always acted – badly – without any recognition or thought of “Why do I…?” or “Should I…?”
Once a lesson is learned you will be “doing” what you’re supposed to be doing. You will have an awareness, or what Buddhists call Mindfulness, about yourself and others and be able to respond appropriately – if not initially; then, as a corrective measure – Whether it is compassion, understanding, peace-making, tolerance, etc – you will be doing it and others will learn from your example. They will see the change in you.
Here’s the good news. We should not think badly of ourselves for having to relearn life’s lessons as new situations arise. You and I are not bad, flawed or weak for having to relearn things like compassion, decency, respect, etc. When you were formed/created/born – just like the story of creation in the Bible – God said, “It is good.” You were born innocent and good. That innocence and goodness still resides within you and me. We should be grateful for the opportunities we have to relearn those lessons we need in order to be more adaptable. I am. It isn’t easy because whenever we interact with someone new their responses will be different so we will have a new opportunity to relearn a positive way interact with (and react to) them.