How much life, joy, curiosity, inquiry, creativity, and originality have you found in the ways you’ve learned and continue to learn? How much delight do you still find in learning or have you stopped learning because you’ve had enough? How much have you learned about mental, emotional, physical and spiritual states and stages in preparation for the life of change we’re all experiencing in this first half of the twenty first century? What have you learned about learning?
Albert Einstein said early in his career: “It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. It is a grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.” Strangely, this style of teaching and learning is still being practiced just as it was in the Industrial revolution. Isn’t it time for us to learn about learning? Isn’t it time for more singing, dancing, interacting, romancing and celebrating our innate gifts?
Isn’t it time to transform our educational practices at all levels from pre-schools to board rooms? Isn’t it important to learn delight rather than aggression, sharing rather than excessive acquisition and creative uniqueness rather than narrow competition? What might happen if empathy, compassion and interpersonal relations were taught experientially rather than as some kind of punitive religious or social justice theory? What if lifetime learning really is essential?
In 1968 an educational journalist and author named George Leonard wrote a seminal book called Education and Ecstasy which was required reading in a graduate course of Education I took at the time. He was promoting a comprehensive holistic curricula that cultivated physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual capacities. I was so inspired by his insights that I wanted to become a teacher and here we are close to fifty years later with little change to speak of. Is it possible that we’re now being called to pick up this mantle, to move forward more creatively?
One of the things I’ve learned over these past fifty years is that learning takes place at its own pace through interest, intention, passion and practice. I have four graduate degrees and many more certifications from non degree granting institutions and must say that I’ve learned more from my own experiences than from all this ‘formal’ education. I’ve learned the ins and outs of courage, trust, inspiration, forgiveness, harmony, parenting, interpersonal relations, awareness, servanthood, acceptance, appreciation, communication, meaning, love, reverence and so on.
Master teachers and students pursue delight. Learning is met with a kind of crazy joy and enthusiasm. Awakening and searching, success and mistakes, growth and change stimulate the innate curiosity of our human/divine creativity and genius. intuitive knowing opens hearts and minds to greater capacities of love. Environments are created where we can care for one another and feel the wonder of life in ourselves and all creation. Is this not compelling enough to learn and teach in new ways? Could this be the purpose we’ve all come here to be a part of?
- Give some time this week to reflect on what you’ve learned and what you’d still love to learn.
- Open your heart to a younger person and allow them to mentor you without them knowing it.
- Spend significant quiet time in nature this week and see what it might have to intuitively teach you about life. Learn from the natural rhythms of the trees, grass, wind, soil and water.