Success in learning
WHEN faced with a learning opportunity in school, in our jobs, or in our homes, most of us realize the need to prepare ourselves in some way for the challenge. Receptivity to new ideas and willingness to study required material are important ingredients in the process of learning any new skill or concept. This holds true whether we're learning to bake a cake or to solve an equation in calculus. As important as preparation and study are, they can sometimes be insufficient to enable us to reach the level of proficiency a task requires. How can we overcome this impasse, which often results in feelings of frustration or inadequacy? Turning to the Bible, we read: ``Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.''1 And in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy,2 the term Mind, as a Biblically derived synonym for God, is defined. Part of the definition reads, ``not that which is in man, but the divine Principle, or God, of whom man is the full and perfect expression.''3
Christian Science asserts that man doesn't, in truth, possess a limited mind that is capable of only learning so much but that he spiritually reflects the one infinite Mind that is God. Although it might appear otherwise, divine, infinite intelligence is always present and is instantly available to each of us. As we purify our thought through prayer -- learn to listen for and follow Mind's guidance in communion with our creator -- we'll discern the right idea or quality that is needed to get the job done.
I had an opportunity to prove this to a certain extent while undergoing an intensive course of training. As an airline pilot, I was training to fly the most advanced aircraft in the industry and was faced with new systems and procedures that were relatively foreign to me and a little intimidating. The amount of information to be assimilated was vast, and the time in which to do it was limited. While we were training in the flight simulator, the instructor assured me and my training partner that feelings of frustration and inadequacy could often be expected.
After a particularly difficult session, a sense of humiliation and failure seemed to overwhelm my partner and me. At that point I decided it was time to turn my thought to God in prayer. I considered how humbling this training experience was; after all, I had thousands of flying hours under my belt and had had little difficulty in prior training sessions. But the key word was humility, for I realized what I most needed was the humility that acknowledges God as my Mind, the only Mind of all of us. Rather than accept the frustrations and restrictions of being a limited mortal, I needed to see my real identity as the offspring of God. All worthwhile abilities, skills, and understanding have their origin in God and are governed and controlled by divine Mind. The belief in a limited personal mind is a misconception about the one infinite Mind and its active, intelligent expression, man. All the qualities I had utilized in performing my job -- such as alertness, precision, coordination, responsibility, exactitude -- were not fluctuating personal possessions but spiritually derived from Mind.
Instead of thinking in terms of an instructor with a personal mind trying to impart his knowledge to two other limited minds, I realized that all three of us were embraced in the universality and oneness of Spirit, Mind, where every right idea is unfolding to all, impartially.
At this point, things started going much more smoothly. My partner's and my proficiency level increased dramatically in a short period, and we were able to pass our proficiency check with relative ease, much to the delight of the instructor.
In this experience, and in every experience, the real need is to remove the stumbling blocks of spiritual ignorance and human will, which assume that abilities are personally and materially generated and that God may or may not be present to help us. As Mrs. Eddy writes, ``It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony.''4
1Proverbs 3:5, 6. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health, p. 591. 4Ibid., p. 390.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. The Lord lifteth up the meek. Psalms 147:5,6