“Turning to learning” begins with the honest recognition that our present approach to solving personal problems just doesn’t work. This may come as a surprise: Learning to live without recurring problems begins with losing faith in our habitual responses that tell us how to be free of them.
Losing confidence in your own heated, or heavy-hearted, reactions does not mean that you have to see yourself in a disparaging light, any more than stepping out of the way of a runaway truck would make you think of yourself as a coward.
The superior way for us to deal with personal crisis situations is to let the runaway truck pass us by because we know it’s only a mindless machine. We realize it can’t recognize the danger its own undirected nature represents. This means that we must learn to let our own habitual reactions roll by us because, just like the wild truck, these reactions of ours are mechanical in nature. And since we know that machines can’t learn, this means neither will we learn what is really needed to free ourselves as long we allow our reactions to lead the way.
Reactions never reveal. They conceal. Remaining under the rule of any reaction limits your choices in life to only the direction that reaction gives you to take. But the key point is this: no reaction-supplied direction can ever lead anywhere higher than the level of the reaction. If these mechanical responses actually knew as much as they pretend to, we wouldn’t be repeating the patterns that always lead us back to the same kind of personal problems. It should be clear. Our mechanical reactions are at the root of our persistent problems, and not the way out of them.
Don’t be concerned that what is required of you in some moment of crisis is more than you know how to handle — that if you let your usual reactions go by, you might find yourself unable to learn what you must do. You will learn!
The whole process of self-liberation through higher learning is under definite spiritual laws. The very act of turning away from mechanical reactions is the same as facing in the direction of a free mind. You’ll find that who you really are is an endless learning ground, a limitless possibility for higher and higher self-discovery.
These three words — I can learn — are the most powerful three words in any language. Nothing in the universe can hold down that rare individual who clearly realizes that he or she doesn’t know what’s in the way of his or her happiness, but who is willing to find out. If painful patterns are prisons without walls, then a willingness to learn the new and the true is the same as a gateway to freedom.
Our present mind knows of only two possible ways to turn when faced with a personal crisis. But neither of the directions it knows to look in ever resolve anything. Whenever painful events happen, they tend to fall on only one of two sides of a person. The first side is the denial side. When turning this way, refusal rules. Regret, self-pity and endless explanations generally follow. Or, the life blow falls on the angry side where the turning is to burning. Resentment rages. Hatred and feelings of betrayal mushroom into self-righteous plans for avenging the wrong. But what both these sad sides have in common is that they keep the person between them a victim — turning in vain from one side to the other — only to find nothing changes except for the kind of pain found there.
But there exists a third way to turn, a superior choice that leads to a higher life level where neither confusion, conflict, nor crisis is found. I call this higher direction “Turning To Learning”… [to be continued]