January 18

  

Today's quotation:

Education is more than schooling.  It is a cast of mind, a willingness to see the world with an endless sense of curiosity and wonder.  If you would be truly educated, you must adopt this cast of mind.  You must open yourself to the richness of your everyday experience--to your own emotions, to the movements of the heavens and the languages of birds, to the privations and successes of people in other lands and other times, to the artistry in the hands of the mechanic and the typist and the child.  There is no limit to the learning that appears before us.  It is enough to fill us each day a thousand times over.

Kent Nerburn

Today's Meditation:

"The richness of your everyday experience."  How easy it is to forget this richness, or to miss it as we walk by it constantly.  The fact is that our worlds are filled with such incredible beauty, with such wonderful people, with such amazing opportunities that we never would be able to take advantage of all of them in our lifetimes simply due to a lack of time.  Do we see them, though, or do we miss them?  Most of us miss them regularly, for we get so caught up in the "things" that we have to get done that we simply don't look around ourselves and make an effort to recognize the wonder and beauty of the world.

A true education is simply learning about the world we're in and how we fit into it.  Most formal education deals strictly with information and processes developed by human beings.  But true education more than anything else results in awareness, and while many educational programs seem to be about awareness, they're mostly trying to get us to be aware of information, analysis of that information, and application of processes based on that information.  This isn't to downplay the importance of formal education--I'm thankful for doctors and engineers and architects and mathematicians and all those other wonderful people who work to make our lives better.

But as Kent says, there's artistry in the hands of the mechanic, though few of us see that.  The cars that we drive are amazing works of wonder that are almost incredible in their scope--a person from 1000 years ago would marvel at the machines, and marvel even more when he or she found out that they were powered by fuel pumped from the ground and processed to make gasoline.  We flip a switch and lights go on, powered by an electrical plant sometimes hundreds of miles away.

This world is an awesome, wonderful place.  Too often, though, we see it as a dreary, unpleasant place full of obstacles and problems, a place where we simply muddle our way through our lives.  It's our choice, though--if we choose to see and appreciate the wonder of the world, we can learn more than we ever thought possible, and we can make our lives truly bright, indeed.

Questions to consider:

How do you choose to see the various aspects of your life?  Lights, television, radio, DVD players--are they sources of wonder, or just everyday things?

If you were to change anything about your perspective, what would it be?  How would you change it?

Why are we so prone to take things for granted and stop noticing wonderful things?  What can we do to battle this tendency?

For further thought:

Real education should educate us out of self into something far finer--into a selflessness which links us with all humanity.

Lady Nancy Astor

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