WE all have a lot to learn. We may not be in school anymore. And we may sometimes feel we've figured out at least part of ``what life is all about.'' But we all need to find out what life really is and what our role in life is. When in school, we may have been learning our lessons in order to get good grades. But much more than grades is at stake in the larger lessons of life. Our very well-being and happiness depend upon our understanding of reality, of real existence.
One of the well-known sayings of Christ Jesus is ``Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.'' I can't help feeling that one of the qualities Jesus must have loved in children -- and evidently saw as essential for obtaining ``heaven,'' salvation -- is teachableness.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, spoke of the teachableness of children and how Jesus loved this. She wrote, ``Children are more tractable than adults, and learn more readily to love the simple verities that will make them happy and good.
``Jesus loved little children because of their freedom from wrong and their receptiveness of right.''
What is it that would keep us from being teachable when we've grown beyond being ``little children''? The obvious answer is also the correct one: those attitudes that stand in the way of learning, such as pride, vanity, stubbornness, apathy, indifference, and the arrogance that believes we don't have much more to learn about life. To open ourselves up to learning about the ``simple verities'' of being, about spiritual reality -- and to the happiness and goodness this kind of learning brings -- we need to express Christly qualities such as meekness, humility, intelligence, vitality, and love of life and good.
This isn't always easy. Living these qualities can demand a real change of thought and heart. We all want to be happy. But we also must want to grow and progress spiritually. This involves an ongoing effort to break out of negative, destructive, limiting patterns of thought and behavior that we may have settled into and felt comfortable with but that are holding us back from spiritual learning and its rewards. Basically, this means breaking out of thinking and living that are falsely based on matter as the substance of life, as all there is.
The passage from Science and Health quoted above includes the phrase ``receptiveness of right.'' Teachableness really comes down to being receptive to finding out the truly best way to do things and think about things. Christ Jesus came to teach and demonstrate what's right and true and good -- what's of God. Jesus taught that, in reality, Life is Spirit. God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and the real man is God's image; man's true nature is completely spiritual and perfect.
Jesus taught, ``Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.'' As we become and remain teachable, receptive to the Christ message of the allness of Spirit, we learn the truth of what life is really all about -- God, infinite Spirit, infinite good -- and about our role in life as God's spiritual image. In truth, man bears witness to, proves, God's allness and goodness by expressing infinite good. As we gain this spiritual understanding of truth -- and strive to demonstrate it by being honest, unselfish, loving, pure -- we increasingly are freed from the unhappiness and evil that we all want to be free of.
As we're teachable, we will understand and experience more and more the kingdom of heaven -- the happiness and goodness -- that Jesus taught is actually present to be known and experienced here and now.