Learning is the Art of Remembering

Posted by A.C. Ping
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“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T.S. Eliot

Recently I have been reading the book ‘The Healing Wisdom of Africa’ by Malidoma Patrice Some who belongs to the Dagara people of Burkina Faso in West Africa. In the book Malidoma puts forward the view that we all come into this life with a specific purpose and gift that we subsequently forget as we incarnate into this physical realm. In his belief system it is the responsibility of the tribe to help young people to remember what their gift is so that they can best contribute to the tribe. The failure of a person to find their gift is a failure of the tribe.

It is a concept that I have explored at length with people doing Vision Quests and I believe it is useful to ask the question ‘If that is the case then HOW do I remember?’

The first step I believe, paradoxically, is to forget!

If we come into this World with some remnant memory of our true purpose then what is certain is that in most cases we are encouraged to quickly forget all about it as we are taught how to fit into the exiting World.

Generally in the Western World we assume that a child has no knowledge – that they are pretty much a blank sheet of paper. As we grow we learn what is right and wrong from the perspective of those already here – usually our parents and those closest to us. With all good intention they seek to help us to understand the World as they BELIEVE it is.

But in seeking to educate us they LIMIT us to THEIR fixed view of the World. What is more they overlay THEIR interpretation of who we are on top of our deep seated KNOWLEDGE of who we are. In essence they – with all good intent remember – often invalidate our inner knowing.

As children go through school these days they are usually encouraged to address the question of WHAT they will DO when they finish school and how they will CONTRIBUTE to society (read ‘the economic production machine’).

The concept of connecting with PASSION and finding a sense of deeper meaning in life is often overlooked in the race to find a CAREER. Recently a discussion has raged on the professional networking forum LinkedIn on how one can ovoid the often 20 year time frame that it takes many to find their true passion. The comments posted have been instructive.

So back to forgetting - Kunihiro Yamate explores this concept in his book ‘The Way of No Thinking’ – a great and very confronting read for those wishing to delve into the philosophical aspect of reconnecting to one’s deeper knowing.

For those of us with more focussed on the HOW the starting point is to try and stir the pot.

If you imagine that your existential being is a pot of stew which has been cooking for a while then maybe you can see that the heavy bits have sunk to the bottom of the pot and may well be clogging up your Vision. Asking the following may help to stir it up:-

1. In your life what have you REALLY enjoyed doing?
2. In your life what have you been GOOD at?
3. What is the common element between these two?

“Where your talents and the needs of the world collide,
there lies your vocation”

Identifying the answer to these questions may stir up two things:-

1. What you deeply believe you DESERVE from the World
2. Your sub conscious limiting stories about who you are

So, if you are game and you truly believe that you have as much right as anyone else to have a life filled with deep passion and purpose then start stirring!

“We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.”
Marianne Williamson

Part II coming in two weeks time.

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