It’s a handy metaphor, thinking that life is a school. But if we get stuck in thinking that there’s a class schedule, a plan and all that, then we might find ourselves fighting damn hard to make it work, when the reality is that we shouldn’t. Thinking that there’s a beginning and an end somewhat misses the truer point, and even what’s true in actual education: that one “lesson” builds on another, with the idea in mind that it begins to weave together into an interdependent, continuous whole, something beyond the names, dates, places, numbers. An organic whole emerges that we at once discover has no identifiable plan, and if we are to operate in this event called life, we are not best served if we do. Some of us anyway. And sometimes life seems a bit scary, and so it’s easy to hide behind the metaphor.
Which is what I have been doing most of my life. I’ve been living in my head. Continuously learning, hell, even now I have several courses I am involved in. But I’m not hiding behind them. Not any more. And the head is okay for some things. Having accumulated knowledge is alright, provided there are some tempering agents to go a along with it. Which I didn’t have. Had a steel trap mind that could memorize a lot of things. Most of their context as well. That’s all well and good in some areas. But even listening to politicians these days, which for the most part are fairly well educated people, one hears some awfully ignorant things. Some things that are mean, cold, calloused. Why? I think the answer is fairly obvious. So why not live in the heart? Because, it’s unpredictable. There is no plan, no syllabus, no reading list. It will ask you to reach out to the smelly homeless guy. It’ll ask you to smile and say good morning with sincerity to the overweight woman sucking down a cigarette in front of the coffee shop. It’ll ask you to look at politicians as people trying to be happy. And because we have buffered ourselves against things we don’t like, believe in, or make us feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, we build walls around us to protect us, to give order to what could otherwise be feared as a chaotic life. Well, I do anyway. I can’t speak for any one else.
And this isn’t going to end. This idea is harder to wrap an intellectual understanding around because there isn’t one. It’s an experience. One cannot fathom having the heart opened more and more without end, because we tend to think definitely, limited, and this is one area that defies that. This is where I am learning to let go. Learning to trust, to realize that the conceptions I might have had about this process, and the consequences, were at best all grossly inaccurate. There is no need to fathom this experience. It isn’t known intellectually. It’s beyond all that.