Does my clinging to beliefs prevent me from learning?
Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile.
Learning means modifying to some extent the knowledge that we have accumulated about the reality of what we are as participants in a universe in which we do not know the limits in time and space nor its essential structure. There is a huge amount that we do not know about what we are: our essence, our behaviour and our destiny, if they exist beyond what is known to us. In other words, we know a lot, but we know very little. This chapter in the history of life, our knowledge, is something in which a lot is very little because of the importance that the known has over the unknown. We are ignorant of many of those things that are tremendously important for our existence and for our relationships with others. And that ignorance also has an enormous influence on our emotions. We fear everything that we do not know. That is the reason why we are so attached to our beliefs.
Anyone who explains their way of imagining the reality that we are not familiar with, draws us in and we give credit to their words, without even thinking that they are just that, words. I find it very easy to believe anything that seeks to allay my fears.
And it is the same with everything. It is very unusual for us not to accept what we are told because, otherwise we would have to study and investigate it ourselves.
Learning, changing or supplementing our knowledge about the universe that is presented to us and of which we all form a part demands a focussed attention on what we want to know. There is a great deal that we have already stored up unconsciously in our minds and we can also create new knowledge through direct personal observation, by paying deliberate attention. Nothing can be learnt unless you pay attention. However, generally we prefer, through laziness or an attachment to what we believe, or to avoid being seen to change our views, to keep our heads down and persist in our beliefs. A deliberate observation of our behaviour and of our attitudes is a rich source for getting to know ourselves more and more every day and to live in the present accepting ourselves as we are; which is the only thing that can bring us harmony, coherence and peace of mind.
My most recent discoveries are, and do not take my word for it observe it in yourself, that LOVING and LIVING are an ART and any art can be learnt.