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What is the best frame of mind for learning?

H.I. Luis Arrondo, in his book on health, Wolves, Gardens, and Chocolate, illustrates this question with an illuminating tale.

He once knew a young American doctor who had traveled to India to study with a well-known practitioner of pulse reading, an ancient diagnostic and healing system.

After a long journey, the young doctor arrived in a remote village where he was instructed to rise early the next morning, then walk along a narrow, winding path through a forest. When it fell away, he’d find a small group of huts. The teacher would meet him there.

Early the next morning, he was offered a breakfast of tea and some unleavened flatbread filled with vegetables. He ate but was eager to be on his way.

When he reached the huts, his prospective mentor offered him tea and said to sit and rest. After a bit of small talk, the teacher got down to business. “Do you have any questions?” “No,” replied the doctor, “I’ve come to learn at your feet.” That provoked an unexpected response.

The older man shook his head ruefully and smiled at the young man, who’d traveled thousands of miles to get there. “Go away,” he said gently. “Don’t return unless you first think of questions to ask.”

Rebuffed, the confused and disappointed young man slowly retraced the long, dusty road to the village he’d left that morning. There was much to consider. Why had he been turned away? Why have questions? What kind of questions?

Then it struck him. The teacher’s wisdom demanded that questions guide the instruction.

But it meant the right questions.

They would reveal the direction and interest of the student and his capacity to grasp and apply the lessons. It was the master’s chosen way to teach—a way the student was most likely to learn.

How does this principle work out for you?

When some service to ECK or a personal matter frustrates your ability to resolve it alone, you know to ask the Master. Then you observe and learn while the situation plays itself out.

That’s your take-away.

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A few proverbs from around the world relate to teaching and learning. A German, for example, might say, “To question a wise man is the beginning of wisdom.” (We’ve already seen that in the story above.)

An Ethiopian: “The eye has never seen enough, and the ear has never heard enough.”

An Italian: “Learn wisdom by the folly of others.”

An Indian: “Silence puts an end to quarrels.”

Those are but a few different ways to learn from life. Remain open, be flexible, and stay optimistic. If a plan falters, back off and try again. Life is ever the teacher. So listen carefully to others for good ideas. The ECK speaks in many ways.

In short, listen twice as much as you speak. That’s the reason for two ears and one mouth.

—Sri Harold Klemp

What questions would you ask the Master if you were to have a personal consultation with him? Go into contemplation and consider this deeply. The Mᴀʜᴀɴᴛᴀ may give you a special insight into the art of listening as a way to recognize his answers.