Orient Your Mind For Learning

I still remember Professor Lubin. He looked ancient. I was 17 and a freshman engineering student. He probably wasn’t ancient. The class was engineering mechanics. I wanted to study electronics. I was there because I was told to be there. I knew the subject matter for the first third of the class already. When we got to the new stuff, my mind was unprepared for learning.

I could imagine students of zoology perhaps who take the class because of emotional or sentimental attachments to animals or other living things. Even worse would be some sort of emotional attachment to the teacher. That orientation could interfere with learning the subject matter.

Some students enter a class and say, “Just give me a list of things that will be on the test.” They have a rigid mindset. Give me a list. I’ll memorize it. I’ll pass the test. I’ll probably forget much of the subject matter, but I’ll have an A or B on my transcript.

Or

We could enter a class or a study by cultivating a “beginner’s mind.” We are open to learning from the teacher and the text. We’ve brought our emotional attachments under control. We’ve discarded our preconceived ideas. We’re not yet concerned (if ever) about the test.

When we enter the study of spiritual texts like the Bible, how do we approach it? Have we paused for a moment each time? Have we oriented our mind to be open to what God is trying to tell us in this passage? Are we open to the teacher’s guidance?

Are we seeking learning or reinforcement?

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