I am saddened whenever I hear someone display little interest in learning more about life and about himself or herself. To attempt the difficult and sometimes painful task of answering life’s tough questions is a burden which some people would rather avoid. However, the person who shuns that task is usually a problem to himself as well as to others. He is turned inward instead of outward to life.
There is a wise teaching in Buddhism: “A man of little learning grows old like an ox; his flesh increases, but not his wisdom.”
On the other hand, I am always elated by the person whose eyes are open and whose mind is alert to opportunities for learning. He or she revels in the pleasures of learning, yet each learning experience seems to increase that person’s humility.
Sir Isaac Newton, the 17th century English philosopher and mathematician, was one of the most learned men of his day. Yet, late in life, he said, “I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean lay all undiscovered before me.” Despite his expanding knowledge, Newton was humbled by the vastness of what he yet had to learn.
We must never stop learning. We can’t afford to, for learning is the master key to growth. We must not be like the student who stops learning as soon as the degree is granted or when the last bell of the school year rings.
Learning is a non-stop process which occurs within. And although it is facilitated by formal education, it is not dependent upon it. Learning is a personal, lifelong endeavor.