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The following excerpt about Earth School is from the Spirituality chapter of a self-help psychology & therapy book Be Your Own Therapist - Whoever You Hire Is Just Your Assistant. (Graphics differ from book.)
One basic question that each of us must answer is, "What is the meaning of life?" Your answer to that question has much relevance to your ability to be happy. Many of us don't have solid convictions about the meaning of life and have uncritically adopted conventional wisdom expressed by those around us. There are many different answers to that meaning-of-life question, some of which automatically cause much distress and unhappiness. Other answers to the question allow for (but do not necessarily automatically result in) contentment and happiness.
The one common ingredient in answers that will allow contentment is what I call the belief in Earth School. Specifically, we all attend Earth School here on this planet for learning various things. The spiritual systems that seem to permit inner peace are those that include the belief that one major meaning of life is to learn about: oneself (body, mind, emotions and soul), the world around us, choice, relationships, values, service and a few of the myriad facets of life about which we are ignorant. On some levels most of the major religions subscribe to this belief. But following any religion, whether organized or unorganized, is not necessary to gain the benefits from such a belief.
Earth School Beliefs:
(1)Earth School routinely gives me demanding challenges/lessons my conscious self would prefer to avoid.
(2)Whatever challenges/lessons are thrown my way in life are always there to teach me something.
(3)I can choose to follow my old ways and suffer, or I can choose to change myself (ideas, emotions and/or body) to master the challenges/ lessons being offered me.
All three of the above beliefs are somewhat unpopular these days. Three popular ideas follow. (1)Randomness and being the victim are correct. Therefore it is not possible that there are some important higher powers and meanings involved in the creation of challenging life events. (2)If I can be politically-correct and blame someone else, then I don't have to face myself. Therefore, I refuse to believe that life's challenges are there to teach me something. (3)I blame the handiest outside person or group for my distress, waiting for them to change so that I can finally be happy (which doesn't happen because all those being blamed never do change).
Please reread the previous paragraph. It contains the root causes of much of our unhappiness as a society today. For if we could change our society's thinking away from that in the last paragraph, the improvements would be quite dramatic for all. Changing society involves changing individuals first. Do your beliefs need changing?
To resolve our distress here on Earth School, it must be moved through, not avoided or blamed on someone/ something else. Moving through distress is initially more difficult than trying to avoid it, but avoidance only works temporarily (like the addict's fix).
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Earth School Beliefs - Spirituality @1999