They say that experience is the ultimate teacher. However, how is it that some things don’t need to be directly experienced in order to be “experienced?”[yellow_box] The following article was hard for me to publish – simply because it is so personal and brutally honest. In the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi, this is my attempt to live up to my own ideals. [/yellow_box]
For example, you may not need to have feelings for, or have intercourse with, a man, in order to know that you are not homosexual. Another example might be drugs: you may not need to experiment with all forms of it to know that it is destructive. So how do we learn lessons without having to go through them?
When I was younger, I used to smoke marijuana because my friends did but, over time, I stopped because I realized why I was doing it. Some warned me about it being a gateway to other drugs but, fortunately for me, that never happened; I was able to see the effects of those “other” drugs (such as cocaine, heroine, and I.C.E.) on my peers, which made me a lot more resistant to trying them. As an actress from the movie Sister Act 2 once wisely said, “I don’t need to eat the doughnut to know that it’s sweet.” Therefore, if we jump a little bit, is it safe to say that you don’t need to have sex in order to know that it’s not for you?
Many say that the need for procreation is a perfectly normal, biological desire but what if it’s not? What if the desire for sex is socially programmed? Today, laments associate sex with fun, lust and sin. It’s no longer looked at as “serious,” beautiful, or Holy. Although I sense a shift in consciousness on this topic, it’s still something that many of us struggle with (including myself): the desire to have sex for the sake of sex alone. It’s very real and is a cause for a lot of trouble and heartache in peoples’ lives (just take a look at how many people “cheat” on their partners these days). I am guilty of this tragedy but, thankfully, it occurred once when I was a lot younger (I always prided myself on loyalty but long-distance took its toll). Luckily for me, I consume lessons like a falcon so that it may never be repeated again.
It was a hard lesson to learn but I’m grateful for the experience. As a result of that incident in the past, I vowed to remain truthful, loyal and aware, at all times. After many years, I was blessed to be given a second chance at a wonderful relationship with another. My new relationship was grounded on a foundation of respect, honesty and friendship, despite some serious bumps and crannies along the way.
At this point, my answer to the aforementioned question is simple: discipline. My journey totem teaches, “Freedom is nothing without discipline.” So, without exercising focus, perseverance, or determination, we will never develop an iron-will to withstand the tumultuous cycles of change. This may not be for everybody but, for me, it is. How do you deal with life’s lessons?