An Exercise Series: The Eight Facets of Life – “Learning”

Facet #2 – Learning (from the series)


learn·ing n
1. the acquisition of knowledge or skill
2. knowledge or skill gained through education
3. a relatively permanent change in, or acquisition of, knowledge, understanding, or behavior

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

I have always enjoyed “having learned” (for some reason that doesn’t sound quite right, maybe I need to spend some time on grammar). But I haven’t always enjoyed the “learning process”. There are many books I’ve read, classes I’ve taken and situations I’ve experienced that have taught me things. Some valuable and some not. Some were enjoyable, some were not. But I know that “having learned” requires that you go through “learning”.

Time for a short re-cap: This ministry and this website is dedicated to “Promoting Spiritual Fitness”, one leg of the three legged stool that makes up the health/fitness of your life. “Physical Fitness” is another leg and “Intellectual Fitness” is the third. Body, Mind and Soul. We physically exercise and train our bodies, we intellectually exercise and train our minds and we spiritually exercise and train our souls to keep healthy and fit.

So, where does learning fit in? It applies at some level to all three, body, mind and soul. But it most directly applies to the mind and intellectual exercise. For simplicities sake I’ve broken learning down into three basic categories: Formal Education and Training, Reading and Experiencing. I’m not going to go into detail on how I approach each of these, but I do actively pursue all three. Something to remember is that each of them may not always be learning situations. For instance sometimes I read purely for recreational or distraction reasons. Sometimes a training or classroom experience may have greater social benefits.

Learning is a huge topic, but here is the one point I want you to take with you today. There is one critical component to learning in any of the three categories listed above. There is one “must do” element of learning. It is critical that you “Pay Attention”! There is a great line in the movie Michael that stars John Travolta, Andie McDowell and William Hurt.

Travolta plays the Arch Angale Michael. At a quiet point in the movie Travolta shares something about one of his traveling companions that was a secret he should not of known. The companion wondered if he used some angelic power to learn the secret and asked him how he knew. His simple reply was “I pay attention”.

So here is your exercise assignment. Name three situations of learning you have had recently in each of the categories; Formal, Reading, Experiencing.

Then, spend some time paying attention to how “paying attention” enhanced or detracted from the experience.

And for extra credit, today when you are just living life, consciously stop, deliberately pay attention to whatever you are doing or experiencing, and ask yourself what you just learned.