Skip to main content

Learning what we already know

"It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows."  (Epictetus) This is so true, isn't it?  We might think we are open to learning new things until we actually realize we have developed a thought pattern which already sees our viewpoint as "right" or "the best".  In essence, we shut our minds and hearts to any further intake of knowledge simply by thinking we already have it all figured out!  Maybe this is why scripture warns us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, or that we are to remember the heart is pretty deceitful.  Epictetus also said, "The two powers which in my opinion constitute a wise man are those of bearing and forbearing."  To bear, one must take up, or come under a load so as to carry it for another.  To forbear, one must not given into the tiny annoyances which life (and sometimes people) send our way while not reacting to them in a negative or unkind manner.

...pass on to you these proverbs—a treasury of wisdom—so that you would recognize wisdom and value discipline; that you would understand insightful teaching and receive wise guidance to live a disciplined life; that you would seek justice and have the ability to choose what is right and fair.  These proverbs teach the naive how to become clever; they instruct the young in how to grow in knowledge and live with discretion.  The wise will pay attention to these words and will grow in learning, and the discerning will receive divine guidance, and they will be able to interpret the meaning of a proverb and a puzzle, the twists and turns in the words of the wise and their riddles.  (Proverbs 1:1-6 VOICE)

To recognize wisdom and value discipline one must come to the place of realizing he or she doesn't know it all, nor is life lived without the need for correction in our course from time to time.  Recognition is nine-tenths of all learning, for without realization one will always be in the same spot, doing the same things over and over again, and getting the same results. If a scientist approached a problem with the same set of steps over and over again thinking he could produce different results, you'd think him mad.  It make sense to repeat the same steps over and over only when you are actually trying to test a theory one might have about the solution as real or trustworthy.  If you didn't get the results you should have the first time, you try again, but you alter what you do slightly so as to get a different result.

The toughest lessons to learn are those you have to "re-learn" sometimes.  Why? I think it may be because we have developed the attitude we already "know that", so why do we need to reinvest the time or energy into learning it again.  Truth is, each time we approach a lesson we thought we had learned earlier in time, we will "re-learn" it in a little bit of a different way the next time we face it.  Why?  We have a new set of experiences in life - things we have born and forborne - and these influence how we will approach what we are about to "re-learn" now.  I think this is what scripture means when we are reminded there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).  What has been will be again - it just isn't exactly the same.

The things we "bear" influence how it is we approach problems in life.  Try taking on a new load when you are already bearing up under a full-load.  It isn't going to work very well for you, is it?  You are about maxed out already, so to take on something new one must lay down something which one has been carrying (bearing).  It amazes me how frequently we don't realize the load we are bearing until we are asked to carry a different one.  It sometimes takes being asked to carry the new load to actually get us to examine what we have been bearing which really might not totally belong in our "pack" in the first place!  

The issues we "forbear" through in life are often those which define how we will face the new ones which arise and give us a little bit of a challenge later on.  Sometimes we are viewed as "holding back" in life, but in reality we are simply forbearing (refraining).  It isn't that we don't want to pursue another form of action, but we are allowing God's grace within to give us the patience to go through what we are facing right now.  We might not see it as valuable right now, but as we go through it to the other side of it, we might have a different perspective.  Patience is not learned in the classroom - it is learned in the living out of what we have been trying to learn!  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean