I am beginning to suspect all elaborate & special systems of education. They seem to me to be built upon supposition that every child is an idiot who must be taught to think. Whereas, if the child is left to himself, he will think more and better, if less showily. Let him come and go freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself...
Those with a formal higher education who have earned degrees worked hard on this achievement. This, too, is noble service and a way to use God's gifts; perhaps through their hard work they find another way to listen to God in their inner stillness. Many may use their talent to write and share what they have learned, and focus on imparting their knowledge to the next generation of how to listen within.
Those who have lived life lessons but have not earned degrees can be known by the fruits of their labors. They, too, can devote themselves to sharing their truth and helping shine a light for others along the way. Both the educated and life-schooled have messages to share and the underlying truth for all is that knowledge can be gained in more ways than can be taught in a book. Each of us must experience our own sacred call and follow it.
What is the difference between a formal education and the lessons we learn through experience? Which path of knowledge will help ensure better outcomes that open the way for greater success, without having so many do-overs before we get it right? My belief is that, with an open mind and heart, we each eventually will find the way to the knowledge that guides us and speaks to our soul's deep longing. Whether we find it through books or through an inner knowing, these insights will help us live our lives to our greatest potential.
Society tells us that education expands our minds through learning math, science, history, English and the other subjects taught in school. We are taught to study hard so we can rise higher in the world through knowledge and information, in order to gain wealth, stature, awards and honors for our efforts, which will make the world a better place. And all of that knowledge is valuable. However, it is not the same knowledge and intelligence that can be found in the Gospels and in many bestselling books on how to live our lives fully with a focus on our true purpose.
The power of true intelligence comes through love, prayer, reading and reflection; we find it by going within and listening. As Albert Einstein said, "I want to know God's thoughts!" This allows Divine wisdom to work through us, helping us in our quest to find the greatest truths in the Scriptures, along with our highest place, our bliss, our joy, our peace and understanding and our passion. Going within helps us find our true purpose by enhancing our ability to listen to God.
It is said that some of the simplest cultures on Earth are also the happiest. Does this mean that by not being so involved in formal study and striving in the world, such people have an opportunity to be clearer-minded? Are they more open to hearing their inner guidance, and better able to hear their soul's longing or God's voice? I believe a great deal of guidance is provided to everyone through the Scriptures, which to me are the most important source for directing our lives, regardless of the way we begin. These sacred writings encompass truths from which we all would benefit and prosper, regardless of our background or current life circumstances.
The priority of higher education in our universities, colleges and schools is attaining knowledge that leads to greater opportunities and success in life. Those who have earned their degrees rightfully deserve to be recognized and accorded the highest honor. However, there are some who have not had the privilege of an education, but have earned a different kind of degree through life experiences. We may know such a person or have read about their success, and we recognize that they have found truth and wisdom by the abundant life that has unfolded for them.
Those who have overcome the odds can help us learn about the natural guidance that is in all of us, and they may teach us how they knew the things that led them to a successful, fulfilled life, despite having little or no education. The answer appears to be the same for most of them: they just knew inside, and had a sense of wisdom and truth that they developed, possibly from birth.
Regardless of how we begin our lives, where we've been, what we've done or with whom we have studied, we all have something of value to share with the world. Whatever benefits us comes from the knowledge of love, as is recognized in the Scriptures. Through this love, our authentic selves emerge, making us capable of reaching an even higher degree of wisdom than from education alone. It all happens when we listen to the God within us. Some may call this a sixth sense, heart knowledge, common sense, intuition or our inner core, but it is the same thing that many of our great saints and teachers described. Many successful human beings have studied in the School of Life and have passed that bar through experience, which for them may be more important than anything learned in a classroom. Learning to access our inner wisdom is one of the most important things we can learn and it should be incorporated into all courses of study, regardless of what degrees we pursue. This basic foundation could make a huge difference to those who have a difficult time loving, living and learning.
We can learn something from those who have earned a degree from the School of Life, something that isn't recorded on paper, but which is of equal value; this kind of learning may provide an even greater benefit to all of humanity. With this extra tool, perhaps the formally educated can then put their spiritual knowledge in writing so we all may benefit and understand how to lead our children to a brighter future. But no matter how much education we attain, there are no guarantees of a perfect life unless we also find God.
About Catherine Nagle: Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's
works graced locations from churches to public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures and inspirational books, including A Course in Miracles and the works of Marianne Williamson among many others. The mother of two children and a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and son. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom.