By Lynn Seiser, Ph.D.


Lessons from Classroom Earth

Each morning they all gather to share their dreams. The elders always ask, "What did you learn in the Dreamtime?" We received instructions to be grateful for that lesson. "What do you still need to learn?" They said to find an experience during the day that would teach us what we needed to learn. At nightfall we would meet again. Whatever we had learned on the earthwalk that day we were to give thanks and gratitude. Whatever we still needed to learn we would ask the dreamkeepers to find an experience that would helps us learn.

This type of story exists in every culture. We are here in this classroom called Earth to learn certain lessons. The experiences we have are the means to those lessons. Everyone involved with us becomes our teachers. This is not just metaphysics. This is rock solid good psychotherapy. The lessons in life provide us insights into our way of being and relating. I will often point out to clients that at first we may have spelled a word a certain way only later to find out that we had been spelling it wrong. Many of the decisions we made about ourselves or this world were equally wrong. Without reflection and re-decision, we will always spell that part of our life wrong.

I like the word ecology. I didn't know what the word meant when I first heard it. I thought it simply applied to recycling or something. Ecology is the branch of biology that deals with the relations between living organisms and their environment. We don't spell ecology, " I win, you lose." We spell ecology, "Everybody wins or we all lose." I realized that it meant more than recycling a few cans. It has a real cause and effect process. What I do has a direct cause or effect on everything around me. The environ-ment's reaction or response to what I have done in turn has a cause or effect on me. I initiated the process, therefore, what goes around comes around. You may call it ecology, karma, systems theory, or just sound logic.

How do we get hold of the lessons from this interaction? The first step is to become aware and just observe. This is harder than most people think. Doing nothing and accepting what is, goes against much of our rules. Take a moment and instead of just reacting, stop and breathe. Don't do anything. Become aware and observe. I asked a couple who argues to stop for a moment and see if what they are doing is working. It usually isn't. I ask them if they liked the effect it was having on them or their mate. They usually don't. I thank them for the demonstration. We seldom ask ourselves if what we are doing works. If we were to stop and look at our lives we'd find many times what we are doing isn't working. If we stopped and looked at what we were doing to the planet it would have been obvious that it wasn't working either. We didn't listen to those who did stop and become aware. We argued for what we're familiar with, what we had always thought. Our thinking may be totally wrong.

By being aware of the effects we cause we can begin to do something different. In couples counseling I point out that our mates know what will work for them. If we used that knowledge we just might get what we want and so might they. When our mates are in pain what do they want from us? When we are in pain, what do we want? Ask and you just might receive. By not being aware we all live in ignorance without understanding why none of it works and how easy it would be to live ecologically.

As we gather around our morning coffee or newscast we can begin to see what lessons we learned in the dreamtime and those we have yet to learn. As we turn off the television before reentering the dreamtime we can review the lessons learned that day on the earthwalk and those we have yet to learn.

Thank you for continually teaching me, for listening to what I have to offer and just for sharing the journey on this earthwalk.

Lynn Seiser, PhD, MFCC is an internationally respected psychotherapist, consultant, speaker and writer with more than twenty years of direct clinical experience in recovery counseling for offenders and victims of violence, trauma and abuse. He is also known for his work in "holistic" recovery from addictions and emphasis on "healthy" relationships. He offers 11 web pages at  and can be e-mailed at . To discuss the benefits of his services, to make a referral or to make an appointment, contact him at 550 Pacific Coast Hwy. #203, Seal Beach, CA 90740 or call (562) 799-1371.

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