The Heart is Your Teacher

Education has become a cornerstone in today's society. In fact, society has placed an almost God like quality on it. All you have to do is read the papers, listen to the news, or hear what educators are saying, and one theme comes out loud and clear: Educate our children, and the ills of society will be resolved. Education is society's answer to poverty, crime, drugs and almost every conceivable dysfunction known to man. What an absurd belief system!

Obviously, education is a marvelous component of life. It has helped create a world in which there are many time and energy saving devices, as well as medical and scientific advancements. Through education, people have been able to develop a vast array of technological games, toys and amusements. These are all very powerful, extremely useful and often very enjoyable arenas of life. On the other hand, education has also helped to maintain and increase the effectiveness of war and killing, and has done little to change poverty and injustice. Education is simply a tool, and nothing more. It cannot change the human ego; it cannot create a loving society. One look at our politicians and you know that education is not the miracle panacea that our society thinks it is. It can only make our prejudices, greed, desires subtler, less perceptive and more insidious.

Education does have a strong positive influence, which I don’t want to negate; however, it does nothing for the heart of being human. It has not helped people become less power oriented, less me oriented and less tomorrow oriented. Has it helped make a sunset more beautiful or awe inspiring? Has it helped eliminate prejudice? Has it helped man find love for man, or more important, for himself? Has it helped create a partnership between man and his world?

Education has taken on an importance far beyond its purpose. It is seriousness personified. The truth is that education should be pursued for knowledge and enjoyment. It should have no other purpose. It cannot make you a better person, a kinder person, a more loving person, a drug free person or a less impoverished person. These things may happen because of education, but they cannot be the goal. The goal, very simply stated is to enjoy!

Because of society's insistence on formal education, education has become a chore, something that must be done. The joy of learning has been lost. If learning becomes a chore, then it is missing the true essence of knowledge. To read, learn and explore the world through the minds of so many brilliant people is simply a marvel and a delight. It is through this learning process that new and fantastic ideas are born.

Sadly, what happens, is that people who find education so profitable and productive, and sometimes even enjoyable, insist that everyone must have the same benefits. These people preach the belief that without a formal education, you are less than what you can and should be. It is like the doctor insisting that his child become a doctor, instead of pursuing his own crazy dream of becoming an actor, a bus driver or a surfer. The parent believes that to embark on such a foolish career is simply too much, crazy and irresponsible.

When formal education can be enjoyed for what it is, and not forced on another, then it is truly something worthy, to behold and to be delved into. It becomes a wonderful, joyous and productive aspect of life.

In reality, I know of no one who is not being educated. Learning is not simply from books, schools and teachers. Yes, you learn through these sources, but the learning that truly guides your life takes place from your life's experiences with other people: your teachers, family, friends, associates, nature, and more important, your interpretations of these experiences.

It is impossible to live in the universe without being educated, i.e., gaining both knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is what everyone is teaching you, and wisdom is what you learn through your own experiences. Now, life becomes your teacher. Every moment of your life, you are being taught, even if you do not want to learn the message. Your education is guaranteed by your very existence in the universe. What a powerful ongoing process! It is through this process of living and learning that you create the you that is presented to the universe. The you that is created may be loving, hateful, greedy, compassionate or, more accurately, a combination.

Unfortunately, this day-to-day learning is down played, trivialized and denigrated. Having a formal education becomes paramount. It is an accepted belief that this formal education will change society. If you do not have at least a high school diploma, you are nothing. Is a diploma really necessary to experience acceptance, happiness, peace, joy, love and bliss? What an unbelievably bogus mind set.

It is amazing! I have known hundreds of people who have gone from elementary grammar school, to high school, to college and beyond, and they believe they have learned so much. Throughout our society, you are constantly being bombarded with the notion that education is the key to success, and that success is the true measure of a person. What an absurdity! Yet, from the time you are born, you are being brainwashed into believing that without a proper education you will have nothing. You must go to college, or at least, you must finish high school. You must study history, science, math, English, etc. If you do not have that diploma, you have nothing.

When I watch a child playing, I realize how little education has taught us. I realize how our educational system has put the emphasis on so many wrong things, and in so many wrong ways. I am not saying that learning to read or write, or do mathematics is wrong. What I am saying is that the emphasis is wrong. It is wrong in both how we teach, and in the importance of what we teach. Look at any child, and you will see that when he is having fun, he learns with no difficulty. A lot of time and effort are put into the learning, but neither time nor effort is of any importance. The child enjoys, so he does and does and does without question, until he stops enjoying.

Because school systems and society in general have placed such a massive emphasis on academic progress, meeting time specific goals, success and failure that the child is in a place that he does not enjoy. He can hardly wait until he can get out of school. School has taken on the characteristics of punishment! How can anyone learn in an environment of negativity? Look at the way in which we are shaping our children to look at the world. The stress, problems and failures that are created by our schools are simply amazing. My mother once told me that my son would grow up, in spite of what I do. She was right. The same is true in our schools. The children learn in spite of the school systems attempts to prevent learning from happening.

Yes, there are some good teachers. Yes, there are some good schools. Yes, there are some excellent learning environments. Still, where is the emphasis? What is happening to the majority of students?

Over the years, I watched my son learning how to skateboard. I made several feeble attempts and realized just how difficult it really is. My mind told me that it was just too hard to learn. Basically, I did not enjoy the learning process. Yet, he would spend hours and hours practicing and practicing one trick after another. Slowly but surely he would acquire the skill, the ability to perform amazing feats with his skateboard. If he would only put one tenth of that amount of energy into studying his math, he would be a math wizard. Instead, I heard him say over and over again, about how hard math was, how boring it was and how useless it was. He was right. For a child who has no interest in math, it is boring, difficult to learn and has no value. Now here is where the problem arises. We force the child to learn, and punish him if he does not learn. Of course, the more we punish the less enjoyable it becomes.

In fact, education has wiped out what we know, and has replaced it with what we think we know. Do you understand the absurdity of the situation that I have just described? Education has wiped out, removed, obliterated and erased that which we know with the knowledge that others have been teaching us. You have allowed these teachings to become your beliefs and more importantly, your truths. You have stopped looking at reality and have focused in on the teaching rather than that which is real.

The question that comes to mind is, “What is real?” Real is the now. Real is that which is. Real has no definition, has no description, has no duration to it. In fact, real has no thinking attached to it. Once you begin the process of thinking, you have distorted the real, you have changed the real, you have created a reality to suit your needs, your beliefs, your state of being.

Receiving a formal education through school imparts knowledge. Receiving an informal education via your friends, teachers, parents and society also imparts knowledge. This type of learning is very useful, but not critical. What is critical is having wisdom and ultimately knowing. Formal and informal education provides you with a lot of knowledge, but absolutely no wisdom and knowing. Knowledge is always second hand, it comes from others, and not from your own experience. Real knowing comes from within and does not rely on either a formal or informal education. In fact, education often detracts from real knowing. This happens because the head believes that the knowledge learned is the truth, and discounts any contradictory experiences of the heart. With knowing, you are always open to new possibilities, new avenues, new adventures and new ways of seeing things. You are not locked into a pattern or belief system. Everything is open to change. Wisdom is very similar to knowing, but not quite. Knowing happens in the NOW. Each moment creates a new knowing. Wisdom, on the other hand, is your remembrance of a past knowing. You then hold on to that knowing as the truth. It is closer to reality, but not quite there.

Remember, knowing comes from the heart, not the head. This is a very tricky distinction, and the two are often confused. The head is of the ego, and the heart is egolessness. Experiencing the state of egolessness takes you to a totally new dimension. You are able to recognize the difference between that which is and that which has been learned. In the NOW, you are egoless and knowing happens. You are able to experience the total bliss of this moment, rather than hanging on to a dead belief as truth, a truth that is always contrary to your experience.

Many of the best therapists have no educational degree. Instead, they come from their heart, from their knowing and from their being. What can education give you that knowing has not already provided? Education can teach you tricks, techniques and theories. It cannot teach you knowing. The only way for knowing to happen is by your dropping your ego, your education and your beliefs. When you do this, learning is not necessary, knowing automatically happens.

The first thing you must do to begin the process of knowing is to recognize when you are functioning from your ego. As soon as you are able to do this, you allow your heart a chance to slip in and take over. Whenever your heart slips in you experience NOW and you have knowing. Functioning out of ego without recognition of its presence will prevent you hearing your heart speak and may even prevent it from speaking at all.

What is missing when you are coming from your head are the teachings of your heart. Of course, this cannot be taught from or through the head, but must be experienced. Jesus was asked by a follower to please teach him how to pray. Jesus could never deny a seeker. He closed his eyes, sat silently and prayed. After a while, he opened his eyes. The follower said, “Well, when are you going to teach me?” Jesus said, “I just did, but you missed.” Had the individual closed his eyes, let go and joined Jesus, he would have know what prayer is. Instead, he wanted to be taught how to pray and missed. Just let go of your head and become your heart.

You will know! Another beautiful story happened with Moses. One day, Moses was walking down the path to his tent when he overheard a sandal maker praying to God. The man was saying, “God I love you so much. Please allow me to make you a beautiful pair of sandals. Please God, allow me to pick the fleas off your body. Please God, allow me to wash your feet.” When Moses heard this prayer, he went to the sandal maker and asked him if he would like to learn the real way to pray. Of course, the sandal maker was in awe of Moses and wanted to learn to pray the correct way. He did not want to offend God. So, Moses taught him how to pray. It took him almost a full day to learn the complex and lengthy prayer, but he did. Then as Moses walked away, he could hear the sandal maker praying as he had been taught. Now Moses was very proud and happy with himself. He had taught another worshiper how to pray. Just then, Moses heard a loud clap of thunder and lightening blasting through the sky. He knew it was God’s way of summoning him. He asked God what the problem was. God’s response was quick and to the point. He said, “You stopped one of the few people who truly knew how to pray to me and taught him a bunch or rubbish. Be ashamed and repent.” When the sandal maker was first praying to God, he was doing so out of his heart. He spoke of things that he knew about. He knew about fleas. He knew about washing feet. He knew how to make sandals. When he repeated Moses’ prayer, it was from his head.

Prayer cannot be taught from a book, a ritual or even by a person. It can only be taught through your heart and being. The only way for you to learn how to pray is to let go and pray, or by being with one who is truly praying, and you trust enough to let go and pray with him. By experiencing the let go of one who has already let go, you can also let go. In that let go, you too will be praying. You catch the tail of a comet.

Real education is coming from your heart, your being and your awareness of NOW. This is all that truly matters! When you have you, it does not matter whether you are a doctor, street person, lawyer, waitress, nurse, teacher, truck driver or sales person. When you act from your inner being, you are living with trust, and the rest simply happens. Life is then a beautiful game to be played. You live a life of knowing.

The real answer to the ills of society is your heart. Although your heart cannot be taught or learned, paradoxically, it must still be taught. It must be taught through example, not through the mind. You educate by your being, which is then translated through your actions, and not through your words. If you want people to be loving, be loving. If you want people to be sincere, be sincere. If you want people to be honest, be honest. If you want people to be caring, be caring. The answer is not in education, but in your heart, your knowing and your being. Only when you move from your mind to your heart, to your being, will others around you be able to do the same. Only when the ego of the mind is no longer controlling you, can the learning and teachings of the heart shine through. You must give the gift of the heart to your family, friends, strangers and even your enemies. You can become an extraordinary teacher by sharing your heart and being. This is the greatest gift you can give.

Learning by watching someone who is coming from her heart cannot teach you how to do it, but it can lead to true knowing. You must be able to see one who knows in order to understand that it is not just a theory, an abstraction but a real possibility. When you are with such a person, your defenses relax, and your heart has an opportunity of coming forth. Ultimately, you must experience your heart, and not that of another. The other can only be a guide, an example, a mirror for you. When you learn the lesson, you will, in turn, become a guide for some one else. By working on yourself, by becoming a person of the heart and sharing your heart with others, you will give them the opportunity to catch the tail of your comet and join you. It must begin with you, and you will change the world, not because you want to change the world, but simply because it is a consequence of your coming from your heart. Your energy will affect others, who will affect others, who will affect others. This domino effect becomes an unending cycle.

I recall reading a story by Ram Dass about when he went with his father to his mother’s funeral. On the way back from the cemetery, the two of them were expressing deep sorrow and heavy emotions. All of a sudden, Ram Dass realized that he was not feeling all the things he was saying and doing. He realized that he had grabbed hold of his father’s energy. He then switched to what he was feeling and thinking. His words and actions changed drastically. At first, his father was taken back by his son’s abrupt change. However, very quickly he caught hold of Ram Dass’ comet and was transported to a new and wonderful experience. Ram Dass was teaching from his experience of NOW. He was teaching from his knowing.

Your ego prevents you from experiencing your heart. It is the ego of education, knowledge and learning that keeps you trapped in a world of greed, lust, prejudice and hate. One very powerful way to see you and to learn the difference between ego and heart is through meditation. Through meditation, you have the opportunity to experience the heart. Once experienced, you have knowing and then wisdom. This can further your search for knowing. In fact, meditation is all you need to eventually drop your ego. But, to help speed up that process, you can be with one who knows, and you can begin the process of watching you: your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Remember that through meditation, you can experience the heart. By watching you, you can see the illusion of your mind. By combining the two, you can know the difference between knowledge and knowing. This will allow you to drop the false for the real. You drop the false through knowing, rather than through knowledge. You do not force the dropping of the ego. This would only make the ego stronger. Simply meditate and watch, and the dropping will happen spontaneously, without effort. Only then does the real come through. Forcing something out only hides that which you are forcing out. Letting it drop on its own results in a rebirth, a rebirth of you.

When you combine education for the pure enjoyment of education, teaching by example, watching you and meditation, you truly become a citizen of the world. You become a person without any identification to some specific country, religion, race or belief. Instead, you become one with the universe and beyond. You become a person of peace, love, joy and acceptance. So, enjoy your lessons and become the knower of your inner self.

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