How Experience and Confession Make Teachers and Students Masters



I'm really enjoying the gift of Oprah's "Super Soul Sessions" since it helps me to see that I'm still a work in progress and to determine the areas where I might be falling behind. What stands out is the way the teachers talk about their own life experiences and describe their own research in addition to quoting the Saints, Scripture, and noteworthy masters.

Like them, I aspire to keep on the right path for the benefit of others and for myself. My own research stems from my Catholic upbringing, Catechism, Saints, and Scripture; my parent's impeccable wisdom; and today's spiritual teachers. Although I've been stumbling when it comes to sharing a true-life story of someone else's experiences in session work, I'm learning how to do things differently after watching several of these teachers' sessions. It has to do with decoding or editing their experiences. And if you're reading this; you, too, might be a spiritual seeker reflecting on these things.

And I've noticed that there's something in all the teachers' methods have in common. And that's their humbleness about their own mistakes and new-found awareness that they lovingly and passionately share with us. I've found that this is the only place when the sharing of experiences requires no decoding or editing. Otherwise, almost all other experiences shared in public or even within the family need to be edited or decoded.

Saints confess their mistakes to God and their Superiors and write about their experiences of pain and conflict in their relationships or the situations around them; in doing this, they remove the names to avoid offending anyone and to teach us how to pray and trust in God alone to intercede on their behalf.

Scriptures are the most dependable words of God's sacred wisdom, sent by prophets who enlighten us with great passion, telling us of God's love and forgiveness for all of us. They've taken great pains to imprint, ingrain, and enrich us through parables to ensure God's will be done.

Most parents have every good intention to share their wisdom by telling their children fairy tales early on, and do their very best to guide them on the right path of love that will support them for their entire lives. Sometimes they even overstep their boundaries after those children become adults. Because of their deep love and concern, they continue to instruct their kids by relating their own life choices, even bringing up experiences and stories about their ancestor's good or poor choices, hoping to clear a path of awareness for their children's life decisions.

Today we are blessed with additional help through "Oprah's Life Classes" where today's spiritual teachers remind us to search our hearts, minds, souls, and to pray and meditate to help us see the light. But along with all of this, I still believe deeply in the incredible power of our personal experiences and in honest confession!

Our stories and experiences are very different and unique, but we still have to work through all of it here and now, because it is here and now that we learn what's right or wrong, no matter how our journey differs from everyone else's! And yet, some of us might not fully understand why we're not reaching those places, despite all the knowledge we have acquired. Perhaps it's because we're not reading through the codes, parables, fairy tales experiences, or true-life experiences. For example, Author Elizabeth Gilbert's personal experience on "Oprah's Life Sessions" stood out for me:

Gilbert's session is an example of how a true teacher's work of love is at the heart of whatever they teach us! Albert Einstein says it best, "The only source of knowledge is experience." We're entrusted not to judge others' experiences and be willing to love and understand them, thus to heal their wounds and forgive one another.

But the question is, is it ever possible to retell other people's experiences, not to exploit or blame, but rather to bring compassion and awareness to help open our eyes and ears? Will we be able to share someone else's story without it being considered gossip or judgement, if it's retold with love in order to share wisdom?

However we look at these questions, one answer is that the humble confession of the teacher's personal experience, spoken and held high above all the knowledge in the world, works best because we all are able to relate to it through our common experiences and human nature. When we're sharing a true experience about something that went terribly wrong then turns around and teaches us a truth, we must open our hearts.

Just when I needed it most, Tony Robbins has made a huge impact on my life through his incredible art of connection and there I see his deciphering of God's code with everyone, especially in his session on Conscious Blaming seen on "Oprah's Life Class." This is exactly the same message I've been trying to share, but Tony is the master who says it best! And if you haven't had the privilege of seeing this session, please give yourself this gift for the New Year. It will certainly change your life and help free you to have the best year ever!

About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, works of Marianne Williamson, and conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress. She is also an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence. The mother of two children and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom.