know-it-all

Today we ask that you find constructive ways to listen to other people’s advice.

In this life, someone is always going to want to tell you how you should be doing things.  Parents, teachers, peers, bosses, people on the internet, people on TV.  Everyone has an opinion, and people tend to believe that their way is the right way.  

Of course, a wise teacher is truly wonderful.  You can learn a great deal from a wise teacher.  Your whole life can positively change, thanks to a wise teacher.

But all the people with opinions out there aren’t necessarily wise.

So how can you discern whom to listen to?

One way to tell is to notice how you feel around this person with advice or instruction.  Do you generally feel calm and peaceful?  Perhaps you feel a pleasurable excitement at learning new things.  

Or does this person’s teaching make you feel tense, agitated, and fearful?  Does it put you in a bad mood?

That is one way to discern.

Another way to discern is to look as objectively as you can at the person giving the advice or instruction.

Is this a peaceful person?  

No one is perfect, of course.  Almost everyone has ups and downs.  But look at the life that this person is creating.

For example, if it is a yoga teacher, does this person have a healthy body, and an ability to relax through yogic practices?  Does this person create a safe, health-inducing environment for his students?

Another example: if it is a parent who is giving out instruction on the best way to parent children, does this person lead a balanced, healthy life?  Are parent and child both healthy and thriving, by following this person’s guidelines?

Just because someone tells you what to do, or writes down an opinion on the internet, does not make them an authority on any subject.  

Look at your own parents.  They may have a lot of advice for you, on how to live.  But have their own habits, beliefs, and practices created peace and joy in their lives?  If not, you should probably not listen to their advice.  It doesn’t mean you don’t love them.  But if you want to lead a saner life than your parents, it is best not to do what they say.

As a general rule, it is not wise to listen to the advice of a miserable person.  In particular look out for self-righteous attitudes, and someone who takes himself very seriously.  

As a general rule, the more capable you are of creating peace, health, and joy in your own existence, the more fit you are to help others to do the same.   And you will not be self-righteous or take yourself too seriously, if you are peaceful and healthy.  

 So just learn to be discerning.  This does not mean, harshly judge people.  

But when you encounter someone who is full of self-righteous advice, be discerning.  What is this person’s energy like?  What is your own energy like around this person?

When you find a wise teacher, clasp him close to your heart.

But be wary of miserable, opinionated people, who want to tell you how to run your life.  

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