Have you ever made the choice to pass on an experience because “you’ve been there, done that?” I think most of us, if we’re honest, would admit that we have. Whether it’s reading a book—or type of book, seeing a movie, going to a concert, taking a class, or any number of other activities, we tell ourselves we already know what that is like and don’t need to do it. I’m not referring to repeating experiences that we tried and disliked. As we examine the quality of openness, we want to stretch the ways we open to life, and question the ways we close ourselves off.
I once had a partner who, when I expressed an interest in camping, basically told me he had done that a lot when younger and so was not interested in doing it anymore. He felt that way about exercise too which really illustrates how harmful the idea of “been there done that” can be! I’ve often heard people remark that they’ve already taken a particular class and don’t need to repeat it. I think prosperity classes are a good example of this. Many people have taken a prosperity class (or many) and have read books on prosperity. So they choose not to participate in current offerings because they’ve done that already. I realize people choose not to participate for other reasons such as too many commitments. But the perception that of already knowing the subject is a fallacy—unless we are experiencing (in this case) such vibrant continuous prosperity that we would be better off teaching the class! One of my teachers encouraged me to enter every class with the attitude that there is something in it for me to learn. I have found that a most helpful piece of advice. As a result I continue to read books and take classes on subjects that interest me, despite the volume of times I’ve already done that. I’ve never failed to learn something new or be reminded of something I’ve known but wasn’t practicing.
Heraclitus said that we can never step in the same river twice. As life flows on and we change, the one we are is a new person having a new experience each time. I remember seeing a greeting card with a baby looking out the window at a bird on the sill. The card said “Treat every day like it’s brand new!” This attitude of openness will allow our lives to be richer, will help us notice the beauty and the opportunity that abound in each now moment. So next time you hear yourself thinking “been there, done that” maybe think again!
Rev. Jane Meyers Hiatt’s talk on 9/14/2014: Peace | The Season of Spiritual Literacy