March 17

Today's quotation:

Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs.

Albert Einstein

Today's Meditation:

Why do we tend to study just what we have to study in order to get by?  During the many years of our educations, most of us do the bare minimum in order to get by--we read just what's assigned, we write just what we have to.  But through study we can literally change our lives--we can open up new vistas and new possibilities; we can recognize new beauties and new truths that we couldn't even imagine before; we can find more meaning in more things in our lives, broadening our perspective to make us happier and healthier people.

As we study more, we see further into the depths of the topics we're exploring; as we see further into the depths, we're more likely to recognize the inherent beauty of the objects in the ways that they're put together and exist.  Seeing that beauty tends to help us to realize the amazing way that objects in our universe exist and grow and change.  Seeing a flower is a beautiful experience; understanding how a flower goes from seed to plant to flower and then to producing more seeds gives us a glimpse into a beautiful reality that is breathtaking in its complexity--and simplicity.

Einstein calls the influence of such beauty "liberating," for it pulls us from the limited perspectives that we fall into in our day-to-day lives; it takes us into another world in which nothing is impossible and potential is unlimited.  And once we see that potential and recognize it for what it is, we become different people with a broader worldview and the potential to teach others what we've learned ourselves.

Sometimes we must study the bare minimum.  But other times--especially if the topic intrigues us--the effort that we put into study definitely will pay us back dividends that are truly unimaginable if we don't do it.

Questions to consider:

Why might we see study as drudgery rather than opportunity?

When you've really loved a topic and studied it deeply, what have you gained from that study?  Might you learn to love other topics?

Why does beauty so often stay hidden until we pay close attention to something?

For further thought:

I never stop studying.  There's always lots to learn.  When you stop learning, that's about the end of you.

John Morton Finney

more thoughts and ideas on learning



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