In the past four days, I have heard four different people, in different environments, saying more or less the same thing. In order:
- An Aikido teacher: “If we are here, if we are alive, it is because we have not yet finished learning, because there is still the chance of growing, improving ourselves”;
- A priest: “When a guy begins to say: ‘I know everything’, he retreats into himself, he does not open himself to any relationship, he closes himself to the good, to the chances of loving and being loved”;
- A colleague: “Things we don’t know are more than those we know; we can work precisely because we look for new answers every day”;
- A friend: “I have never really felt alone, because every day I meet so many people and I have a lot to learn, observing them”.
I consider myslef a lucky one because I met people who have never stopped being curious, to try to learn. In a word: to study. Although, formally, many of them, many of those who held me in their arms as a child, did not go beyond the fifth grade.
Each of us knows what it means to study. We don’t need many words.
At the root of the verb “to study”, there is simultaneously the concept of committing and succeeding. Each of us can go with the mind to the memories in which, through study and application, he/she has succeeded. To do something, to say something, to act in a certain way, to reach a higher level, different from before.
And these memories are accompanied by others, those in which we believed we knew while actually we did not know. We thought we knew how to do some maths and then algebra came. We thought we could communicate and then a new language to learn appeared. We thought we knew how to move the body at our command and then we enrolled in a martial arts class.
Learning is that daily exercise that makes us human, because it reveals our limits and indicates a way to overcome them (and discover new ones). By revealing our limits, we get off our pedestal and we can go back to being available to dialogue and maybe we can also understand the people who stand beside us.
And how useful it is to be able to dedicate oneself to studying (also) disciplines that require dwelling on the integration of movement, of intention! How deflated the ego is when you move like Pinocchio after his feet are burnt… While you thought you understood everything!
Since the human being is capable of perverting even the simplest and most linear things, learning can become an exercise in oppression, selfishness, division. And also for this you need to find good guides, in order to avoid getting on your own in paths that reveal themselves, over time, energy consuming and bearers of failure. I am reminded of many situations of serial accumulation of qualifications, skills, professionalism, degrees, then reaching middle age and being grudging disseminators of loneliness.
So: do you want to feel good? Do you want to (go back to) having peaceful relationships, first of all with yourself? Learn to feel good.