Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Examined Life

I believe in the transformative power of education. There are benefits to learning formulas, systems, history, literary devices, and methodology. It is amazing to analyze, experiment, and stretch intellectually. Yet the most influential aspect of my educational career had little to do with the classroom. My education evolved the moment I realized that I could examine every area of my life with even more focus than I ever did for any grade or course. From that point on I committed to living an examined life.

My maternal great-grandfather was the pastor of a church. I spent many Sunday mornings and afternoons in that red brick building with the squeaky, wooden pews. In addition to my mother's side of the family being active, my father's side were members of the same church so the ritual of service was as much religious practice as familial obligation. I learned lessons of love, forgiveness, and faith all while spending time with my family. So much of what I heard Sunday after Sunday was ritualized to the point that as children we recited it for laughs. I memorized as many scriptures as my time tables and trusted everything I heard without question, even when it was harmful to my well-being.

There was something nagging in my gut that would not allow me to simply accept everything I heard, read, and experienced. My journey toward authenticity demanded more of me. I stepped outside of the shadow of obligation and blind belief and stepped into the freedom of exploration. It wasn't until I gave myself permission to inquire that my true education and road to spirituality opened up. I had to first release the notion that questions were symptoms of unbelief and betrayal. It wasn't until I asked questions and sought answers that I truly learned.

If you've been taught to accept the least of what you've been offered, teach yourself new lessons. If you've been presented with a path that doesn't resonate with your soul, pursue a new path. If your notions of forgiveness, progression, or health conflict with what you need to forgive, progress, and heal, explore new notions. If you have been afraid to question faith, investigate the source of that fear. Position yourself to learn the most influential lessons by examining every area of your life without being fearful of what you may discover. Challenge yourself to live an examined life.

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