Raise your hand if you have ever given or received absolutely terrible advice.
We have all done this. We have all received this. So what do we do with this gift? Yes, bad advice can be a precious gift as long as we look at what is just underneath the surface. What is the impulse to offer advice? My mama always says "consider the source." She had to say this as she had a middle child who would come to her with all the bad advice that was heaped on me as I made my way in the world. By saying "consider the source" she was asking me to look deeper and to find a lesson in this interaction that would have nothing at all to do with my original dilemma. Everything is grist for the mill.
Bad advice gives us more insight into the advice giver than into the solution for our actual problem. I very rarely ask for advice. When I do ask for advice, the person I approach is always hesitant to say anything with regard to their personal opinion. Instead they will use the Socratic method and ask me more questions.
But what about those advice givers... You know who I am talking about. The ones who say "Break up with that person!" or "You will ruin your life if you do that!" or my personal favorite "Just get over it!" Bad advice is an opportunity to look into our own feelings of doubt, shame, fear, guilt, and resistance. Bad advice offers us insight into the times when we communicate poorly, or get swallowed whole by our out of control ego or try to manipulate others in order to get what we want. Other people are our mirrors. This can be helpful and painful all at once. Bless the advice givers for they know not what they do.
Bad advice is similar to those optical illusion posters that they used to sell in shopping malls back in the 90's. Friends would gather around a poster in a store and tell me that they saw a sailboat or a sports car in a blurry mess of dots. Me, with the attention span of a goldfish, would already be wandering out the door when someone would pull me back and say "don't look directly at it. Let your eyes blur a bit, don't focus on what you are trying to see and do not think about it. Let whatever is there just appear to you."
Where do we go when information surfaces about our own insecurities and fears? This is the point in the story where meditation has always been helpful for me. It is an opportunity to turn over the bad advice, turn over the information I received as I saw myself distorted in the reflection of another, turn over my need for an answer, turn over my unwillingness to see my part in things and just receive direction coming to me from Source.
"So I opened my mouth and took a dose of the music, then I stopped and prayed for guidance, now teach me to use it."