Seekers Learn Through Experience and Teach by Example

by Melody Jean

Today I read something which I’d like to entertain. Again, entertaining ideas without accepting them is something I find amusing, yet there may be some validity here. The notion I read is that if we improve ourselves (in some way) to become better human beings others will see this and begin to change too or want YOUR change and will seek you out. This makes sense on many levels. Now you have those who feel they are perfect the way they are. I personally would love to maintain that for the rest of my life I will always have opportunity to continue to learn and grow. And the reason? Because I don’t think we can ever know everything, and further life would be so boring if we did.

So the reading continued … when you better yourself, it cautions to not become an evangelist for the cause. Again, this makes sense. Just because you’re on a diet don’t start forcing dietary changes down everyone’s throats. It says to carry your message in all that you do. Keeping the diet example in mind, if someone sees your weight loss he/she will inquire how you did it and ask for your help if they are interested. To me this sounds like, teaching by example. Teaching by example? Can we ever get there? This evoked many thoughts, this idea did.

Experience

Can we ever fully get there? I think this is tied to experience. Teach by providing experiences for students, but yet the way the US scholastic system is set up and that of many other modern nations, it is expected that all learn the same. Learn in that you if you gather students in a classroom or a religious venue provide information, and they listen (or pretend to listen) the exchange is successfully complete. Well most modern communication research indicates that no, this isn’t indeed fact. Sending, receiving and processing messages are cyclic, but independent of each other and what is called “noise” can intervene. It can be actual physical noise (music, a passing train, etc.) or figurative noise such as biases in your mind, or daydreaming.

Attention

When I first began to teach college courses I was told the average student can pay attention and listen for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes? I’m sure you can remember being in school for periods that lasted up to 50 minutes or longer. During that time we often didn’t utter a word unless it was to ask for clarification on a math example, which our teacher quickly buzzed through. Further we were expected to understand and complete 10 pages of homework on the teaching later. So this “15 minutes” was a shock to me. Yet, it proved accurate. After 10 to 15 minutes the students in my classes start talking, sneaking out their phones so I switch it up and use the new method coined “experiential learning.” Here I give them a group activity to complete and then switch back to a lecture and so forth to get through the 1.5 hours or sometimes longer class periods.

Back to the idea of leading my example, now coupled with experiential learning, and it’s relation to 15 minute attention spans. It makes sense, and I have been told the same is true with spiritual learning. I am not talking about reading, or understanding the Bible, the Koran or other holy books. This yes, you can read and you may need someone to help clarify points but really what it speaks to is that why believe an idea because you read it or are told it? Why not experience it, the feeling. Why not seek the experience, the actual thing?

It’s Like Being in Love

My dad always says a spiritual experience is kind of like being in love. You can’t explain the feeling of love, but you know when you experience it. This is how it is with spirituality. There are many spiritual stories where the student appears before a teacher and asks to be guided, and the teacher’s response is “have you ever been in love before?” If the student says no, they are asked to leave and come back when they have. You see, I’ve been told that this spiritual experience we seek we cannot be told about; we have to know for it is the “greatest love of all.” So I am not taking others words for it, just because I’ve been told it’s a great experience. I want that experience myself. So I look to those who exemplify this, to learn from. In the meantime, I just keep seeking and doing the work until one day, hopefully, I will know it myself. Someone can keep saying “it’s great,” but seeing is believing, so to speak. So here I continue on my journey, sharing my thoughts along the way as I continue to learn. Oh beautiful world how you both enthrall and frighten me. Okay, that’s enough. Love and light to you, my fellow rock stars.

 

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