Those Who Cannot Teach, Do

We began our languorous journey into uncharted territory five years ago, at the age of 24. There is something very special about that age… I believe it to be the beginning of one’s spiritual awakening. It’s when I first started to feel the separation of mind, body and spirit. It terrified me. Some interpret this feeling as a hole in your heart that you need to fill, be it with God, children, relationships, what have you.

I chose to sow my wild oats. I secretly longed for someone to save me and take all my problems away, but also loathed the thought of needing to be saved. I went on a subconsciously destructive path, using up everything I saw around me until I squeezed the last drop out of it… this was to make sure it would never stick to me. It was excessive to say the least, but those are the experiences I needed to have.

It’s interesting how we interpret the feeling inside that comes at this age. Some choose to go the route of becoming parents, like my mother did. My father, being younger than my mom, had three kids by the age of 24. I have been on Earth in this body for 29 years now and by the time they were my age, they both had three kids. After the trials and tribulations of the past five years of my life, I’ve emerged from my inner battle feeling victorious, but also like a newborn baby in the world, experiencing everything as if it were the first time.

Did my parents get to have this feeling at 29? Did they get to feel new? Did they get to battle their inner demons? Did they get to learn who they truly are? Do they understand all the pent up pain from their childhoods? Have they dealt with it? Did they get to find the love inside themselves? Did they get to learn how to truly love and value themselves? Did they get to find out what they like to do and what matters to them and how they are in different situations? They were taking care of three people.

I am just now starting to understand the parental feeling — I think it comes with this age of 29. I notice myself offering advice as if I have come through the end of treacherous tunnel, on a dangerous and tempestuous quest, and have received wisdom beyond anyone else’s understanding… I am trying to be conscious of this. This is not a new feeling. Other people have felt this before. I am no teacher.

I am trying to remember all the advice that my parents gave me that I didn’t understand at the time. I am trying to remember that I couldn’t learn from anything unless I experienced it myself, so that’s probably how other people are as well. I am trying to remember that it is more helpful to teach a man to fish, or rather, let someone figure it out for themselves.

With parents and children, I think the parents’ main job is to keep the child alive and lead by example. However, judging by the amount of times I felt so much anger and frustration at hearing the phrase, “Do as I say, not as I do,” leading by example is much easier said than done.

When we do not have faith in ourselves or think it is too hard to change ourselves, we decide to teach rather than lead. This can also happen when we don’t have faith in the ability of the people around us, regardless of how competent they are. We take the energy that we would use for ourselves and our own journeys, and project it onto others. In some cases, we do this because of low self esteem — expecting our children to fulfill the dreams that we never thought we were good enough to do.

The whole world is babies raising babies. It is very interesting being this age and being devoid of any responsibility. How could my parents understand my experience when their lives were so different? How could I understand their experience? I am responsible for myself alone.

I am no teacher. I focus on my own journey and have faith that the people around me can make up their own minds. I choose to live a life in which I do what I think is right, regardless of what other people are doing, without giving in to the natural urge to start parenting those around me. I choose to do everything that I want to do for myself, so if I do have kids, I will have no unfinished business that I project onto them. I do, without choice or thought, I just do.

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