Friday, April 6, 2012

The Good Learner

They’re not making the future like they used to, Michael Caruso, Editor of the Smithsonian Museum, wrote. Boy! That’s the truth! At the turn of the 20th century, Caruso goes on to say, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, a feisty newspaper once edited by Walt Whitman, published a special section peering into the next 100 years. The future then was “a bright, hopeful world of possibility. Just think of it: mighty airships crisscrossing the skies, electric lights solving the problem of crime, the elimination of houseflies due to the disappearance of horse-drawn carriages, and the ‘union of the telephone and phonograph’ bringing theater and opera right ‘into the salon of one’s own home.’”

How different from today, when “worst-case scenarios await us at every turn.” Still, Ralph Waldo Emerson says, writing seventy years before that, “Bad things have a scientific value. These are the occasions a good learner would not want to miss.” Well, no matter whether we choose it or not, we won’t miss it, for what’s happening is happening. What we do have a choice about is whether to be a good learner and see the value in the ‘bad’ things.

A ‘good learner’ is a person who seeks to understand and manifest the reality of a benign and loving single power behind all appearances of difference. ‘Seeks’ is the operative word, because learning to be a good learner, is always a sought after goal, a constant, on-going process. It’s a balancing of the inner work of building our consciousness of connection and oneness and then allowing that consciousness and connection to flow thru us, un-impeded by ego, into the world, contributing to a world that works for everyone and everything. Being a good learner, is, also as Emerson said, learning to “get your bloated nothingness out of the way of the divine circuits.”

Emerson’s good learner is compassionate and nonjudgmental. She can often know that what appears as forces in opposition to one another – male/female, light/dark, god/devil, democrat/republican – are simply the natural polarities that exist in the ego illusion of the world; but when seen with spirit, are simply the two ends on a single continuum. A good learner uses his sense of compassion and connection to balance and connect the two polarities and accept the difficulties and challenges of doing so. A good learner has faith in the unfolding of a benign evolution and knows that wanting to be a good learner, draws to her situations in which she can express her faith and thus balance the polarities.

A good learner knows how difficult all of this is to do using her everyday, ego consciousness, and is careful of what she asks for, but is ready when it comes.

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