- michelle m. davis
I can’t recall where or when I first heard the term “Earth School,” but now, more than even, I love the concept that it brings to mind.
If the saying “Earth School” is new to you, consider this interpretation. Envision an open classroom available to everyone twenty-four/seven, 365 days a year that is designed for our spiritual growth and development. As we progress through this lifetime, we are constantly presented with teachable moments for us to discover better ways of being. If we choose to embrace these experiences, we will find that these lessons will assist in opening our hearts, leading us closer to our true selves. In a traditional educational setting, we transition from kindergarten through high school, then perhaps to college and even grad school as each level sharpens our minds and enhances our methods for assimilating knowledge. Earth School also has a progression, but one less obvious. It’s main mission is simply to teach us how to live… how to interact with one and other, how to know ourselves, how to treat our environment, and how to connect with God. In essence, during our brief stay in this wonderful universe, we are offered numerous learning occasions, and how we respond to these encounters determines the next opportunities that will be bestowed upon us.
Each of us has an individualized curriculum that we can experience if we remain open to what presents itself. Whether or not we elect to take each class is totally our decision. After all, we each have free will. There is nothing wrong if we choose not to partake in these tutorials because these mini courses are constantly available, appearing to us through real life situations such as crises, joys, births, death, marriage, divorce, fortune and hardship. It is how we respond in these situations that the learning and growth takes place.
Earth School lessons can be subtle or significant. Sometimes we clearly know that we’re transforming after an experience, and others, well, we may or may not notice a slight shift in being. An example of a major change would be when someone undergoes a significant heartache, such as a death in the family. Watching a loved one suffer, experiencing the interactions between family members (both good and bad), dealing with one’s own pain, and pondering the unanswered questions associated with death may alter one’s being. Growth and change may result from this tragedy. Luckily, these are not everyday occurrences. But what are the smaller opportunities available to us in Earth School?
Suppose you are at the checkout line in the grocery store. This store hires people with disabilities as baggers. You’re in a rush, and you see a young man who is obviously challenged coming to your checkout line to begin bagging groceries. You observe as he slowly places the items purchased by the person in front of you into the plastic bags. You look impatiently at your watch. After scrutinizing how he performs this task, it’s clear that he doesn’t do things like you prefer. Instead, he has his own system. You mentally rehearse telling him, “Thank you, but I can bag my own.” Yet, just as you’re putting your first item on the conveyor belt, becoming ready to claim that you don’t need his help, he looks at you and smiles. Nothing more, nothing less… and you see the good inside of him and figure, oh well, who cares if my bread is squished or he puts the dish soap with edible items. So be it, it’s not the end of the world. That is a clear lesson, plain and simple… you’ve put aside what you want because you recognized another’s need to be just as he is. And while this might appear to be a minor event, in reality, it is a magnificent occurrence.
The essence of Earth School is that we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, and our time here provides us with the perfect classroom to expand. None of us have the same syllabus; instead, as we are unique and so are the things we are meant to learn. What we obtain through our interactions here on Earth are the exact teachings that we are meant to receive in the precise order we are supposed to encounter them. And here’s the funny part. When we choose to ignore the lessons, they keep coming back to us, only stronger until we can no longer pretend that there isn’t anything to learn about that topic. Think about the woman who constantly picks the “wrong guys.” Why is that? Or consider the man who can’t seem to hold a steady job. What lessons are they ignoring? If they were to truly reflect on their choices, the outcomes, and their reactions to what occurs, could they see any patterns? Is God/the Universe trying to show them that a better way is out there?
Personally, it’s taken me some time to realize some of the tougher lessons in Earth School. And, yes, I almost needed to be smacked in the face until I took notice of what I was to learn. But once I did, I began to understand that we can constantly grow and become better versions of ourselves. Earth School provides this opportunity for transformation. Oh, and by the way, there’s no graduation ceremony in Earth School… because the journey is never over.