Photo Credit: batbayar13
When asked, most spiritual seekers will say that we are here to learn. That we should inquire and learn from our challenges and experiences. Most eastern traditions that teach of reincarnation use learning as the sole purpose for our existence. We learn as a method of evolution. We transcend from one life form to the next. From the mineral to the plant and from the animated life forms, eventually to the most exalted form of consciousness – the human mind and body. We get through the school of life, ascending from class to class. Graduating and completing course after course.
Though noble in approach, this process of learning implies and drives us to the constant hankering after the unattainable – ‘more’. This linear process of evolution the mind takes its liking to is just another product of duality. Of having and losing. Of acquiring and controlling. I, says the mind, do not know therefore I am lacking. That which is unknown to me has escaped my control. By a process of learning, in other words, acquiring knowledge, I was grasp, contain and envelope this wisdom within and into me. If once I was just a piece, by obtaining that which I know not, I take a step closer towards wholeness.
The process of learning seems to us as a virtuous endeavor. We enjoy and take pride in honing that skill. Being a good learner, a good student is something we are trained for from early childhood. We are commended on the speed of our ability to learn. No one will boast about his or her child learning to speak only by the age of thirteen… yet, if their baby uttered the word ‘ma-ma’ after a month, that gifted child immediately receives the honorable title of genius. We have created a society which celebrates the process of acquiring. Having. Needing more.
When taken to an extreme, as most of us have done, learning is actually a destructive filtering mechanism. It stands between you and life. Obstructing the view, and holding you from experiencing life first hand. You no longer see a sunset, marveling at this big ball of orange-red fire melting into the ocean as lovers kiss for the first time. What you do see is a planet, the sun, moving along its path as the earth revolves around it. You know it doesn’t melt into the sea, you know it will come back tomorrow, you have learned so much that shedding a tear at this magnificent sight is almost impossible.
I’m not saying we should drop the learning process. I don’t imply that having any knowledge should be avoided. On the contrary. What I’m implying is that we should also learn how to un-learn. How to experience. How to breathe life in without interference. When you realize you are not here to progress on a production line from one stage to the next, from one life form to another, from one level to the next, you might get a chance at living. For life, in its splendor occurs if you learned and understood it or not. Learning about your lungs and how those operate would change nothing about you being able to breathe. Reading books and books about love and intimacy, would change nothing about the butterflies you encounter when longing for your beloved. Those would not shift, change or get elevated to a higher state of existence, if anything you’d only be able to witness and understand that you, at those moments are experiencing a mystery that words do not do justice for.
We learn about our bodies, our hearts and soul. We attempt to contain the infinite enigma of being. But if you have ever fallen in love you know what I mean. You know that no matter what your mind might say and explain, your heart is experiencing a reality you will never be able to understand.
Only those who love truly understand the unknown. Love is the greatest process of un-learning. Of surrendering into the mystery. Lovers know more than can be known. Lovers experience more than can be experienced. The do not talk… they sing. They do not walk… they fly. Lovers simply are, and there’s nothing to be learned. Nothing to attain.
When you say, “I love you” did you ever stop to consider you have no idea what that actually means? You might be able to describe a feeling or two, you might even write poetry about your thundering heart, but understand? Explain? Contain? Describe? No… you can’t. Love is the greatest mystery of all. In it’s infinite expanding power it holds the unutterable secrets of the universe.
To love, you have to stop learning. ‘Philosophia’ – the love of knowledge, of wisdom. The philosopher learns. Debates. Talks and explains. The mystic… loves. The mystic will write poetry about their love, sing of its glory but never will attempt to understand. Never try to hold on to the grace of its mysterious flavor. The mystic will always attempt to know less and marvel more. To comprehend nothing yet know it all.
‘So how do I do that?’ cries the mind. How do I stop learning and acquiring. How do I stop this incessant attempt to control, to hold on to, to grip unto every piece of life I possibly can. How? Be. Allow. Accept. Fall in love with the continuous flow of living. Be present to every moment do not try to capture, memorize or crystalize your experiences. Be water my friend, be water. Change your shape as you experience the different containers, flow from the mountain and into the sea.
There’s nothing to learn and nothing to know. There’s nothing to acquire and everything to be. Be my friend, Be.