I was a straight A student; from Kindergarten through College. I graduated from both High School and College with “honors.” Don’t go yet. I’m not trying to tell you how smart I was. I wasn’t. I was just good; good at following rules and formulas. If you gave me a rule, or an expectation, I was your man. But I wouldn’t say I was smart. I simply knew how to play the education game. I knew how to stick to the rules. I knew how to remember facts and I knew how to regurgitate them. What I didn’t know how to do was think, or learn.
Throughout my whole life, I’ve been good at not “stirring the pot.” I’ve been good at following the rules and accepting the facts as knowledge not to be challenged. Why challenge it anyway, it’s in a book, an expert said it. Once I’ve read it or heard it, I know it. Right? Heck, even “alternative” facts are now factual. Why question anything? I have navigated through most of my life being told what to think, how to think, and what to do. What no one taught me though, was how to think or how to learn. I’m not sure I was ever given permission to do that anyway.
Is this you, too?
Do you do things or think things simply because it is what you were “taught”? Because your teacher said so, your expert used a statistic, your doctor said it, your mom did it? I think many of us fall into this boat. We know what we know because we were told how to know and we don’t know what we don’t know because we don’t even know how to stretch our thoughts and imagination towards the unknown. I’ll bet most of us don’t even really ponder knowledge because it takes us outside the lines, rules, or facts that we’ve been collecting through the years.
I’m writing this because I think we aren’t supposed to be mindless rule followers. I think we are actually supposed to be mind-Full. Full of knowledge and wisdom. Full of curiosity and thirst for learning. I don’t know how I came about this path, perhaps it was God’s grace or His pity on me. But now, I want to be a thinker, a learner. And I’m not there yet. Yet…
But I am learning how to learn. I’m learning that knowledge of anything only comes from spending time with the subject of the anything. To truly know something, is to dance with it and form a conversation with it, a relationship with it.
Curiously enough, one of the ways I’ve started to learn this truth is through movement. For example, I have learned a great deal about crawling from spending time crawling. I’ve learned a great deal about rolling from spending many days, weeks, months, and years on the floor rolling. I discovered I could move well through deliberately exploring how I could move. Really, my curiosity and desire to move well, came from an inward question of “could I”, “can I?”.
It was an inward question. And questions are the figurative keys to unlock the doors of knowledge. Questions are the starting point of the dance, of the relationship with the object of knowledge. Questioning why. Questioning facts. Questioning experts. Questioning yourself.
Questioning leads to the conversation and allows you to pry deeper below superficial facts and figures, below seemingly impassible barriers of “truth” or “limitations”.
The rub is, questions make us uncomfortable. Asking them, or getting them. But without them, there isn’t much of a conversation or dance. There is only absorption of facts, figures and stats, and these can only be regurgitated if they aren’t pondered and questioned. Regurgitation of information only leads to straight A’s, people pleasing, boredom and ultimately a life not lived. Accepting or being spoon fed how to think also leads to many of the evils in this world too. But that’s another post for later.
Anyway, I want to encourage you to learn how to learn. I want to encourage you to ask questions. Give yourself permission to be curious. Give yourself permission to feel uncomfortable. If you don’t know where to start, start physically. Curiously explore simple movements like rolling and rocking. Listen to your body, notice what you feel or hear. What you’ll discover is that over time, you’ll begin to move better, feel better and think better. Learning how to move does help your thoughts. It makes them more clear. It also helps you control your emotions. Clear thoughts and solid emotions lend themselves to good questions and an openness to learn.
You were made to move. You were made to think. And you were made to learn. Moving, thinking, and learning – they lead to living. Living, not existing. There is a difference. I’ve existed for years. I’m thirsty to live now. Aren’t you? Give yourself permission to live – to move, to think, to learn. It certainly makes life more interesting.