Gratitude Magazine March 2015 Edition

front page gratitude small

 

A PROSE POEM IN BOTH IN PROSPECT

AND IN RETROSPECT: THE MEANING OF LEARNING

 Fr. Jamesylvester Urama, SJ

In the beginning was learning. And learning was unfolding. Learning and discipline are twin beings. Both derived from the same root language of humans.

Learning as an apprenticeship. It is an ethical discipline. It is a path to healing from the root. My learning attunes me to work with physicians of health even as it recognises that fifty percent of medical drugs come from placebo effect. It places me with the health-wellbeing spectrum. In this continuum, yoghurt knows yoghurt. Learning attunes to learning. And to be asked to learn is a gift to my being! It is a supreme mission, a fractal that continues to be replicated in the lives of others who are significant to me.

What becomes of my learning in view of my present-day temporal sojourn with New School of Psychotherapy/Middlesex University? As an apprenticeship, learning is an ethical discipline. As an apprenticeship, learning ennobles; it enables. By it, one is entrusted with gifts of a certain kind of being. This is because in learning phenomena are revealed or disclosed as they unfold and demand that they be held fast in view of revisioning. Things unfold with the unsaid as its Gestalt (Shadow). Every moment becomes an instance in view of the bigger picture of the unfolding of lived experience: possible, actual and imagined.

How I learn goes into the making of how I lead, and allow myself to be led. To learn is to dare to be more than I am now. Learning connects me to the possible realities of life. To learn with others is to choose to construct shared actions, values and the future. Learning engages me across my fourfold world; personal, social, physical and spiritual. As a continuing transformation anuramad continuing search for meaning, it belongs to the order of being real to oneself, and being open to the phenomenon of possibility.

To learn is to dare to cultivate an eye and ear for the diverse and plural realities of life. Learning cultivates a keen eye for diversity. Perhaps, for the sake of the many, learning becomes a movement from the analytic mode to the synthetic-integrative mode, which pays attention to the fourfold process of our life: the disclosure of the fourfold worlds of Van Deurzen (the physical, the personal, the social, the spiritual) or the fourfold of Heidegger (mortalities, deities, earth and air).

Learning is a way of seeing; reality is one but many and cannot be reified into one system. This is why there are three modes of seeing, namely, the analytic eye, the appreciative eye, and the creative eye. The appreciative way is a movement from an analytic way of seeing to a synthetic way of being and from a one-dimensional (black and white) reality to multi-dimensional reality, it is a shift from a detached form of life dispersed in a having mode, whereas the analytic eye hastens to problem-solving and rescue mission.

An analytic eye sees part-objects. In a Heideggerian parlance, it sees things as ready-to-hand or present-to-hand (things that can be used or exploited). It fails therefore to see the thing-in-itself. The analytic eye alone thrives on a secure base of identity; it therefore severs me from my wholeness. With its inflexible and secure assumptions, it limits and directs me away from exploring life’s many possibilities.
Concerned more with quantities, the analytic way of hearing, tasting and seeing oversimplifies quality and complexity. The strange frightens the analytic eye. It is with this analytic mode that the ninety percent of physical (energy) reality is assigned to the dark matter of the mutliverses.

Every act of learning could begin with the analytic eye; but it must cultivate the appreciative eye. The appreciative eye values the being-mode rather than the having-mode. I see this appreciative eye opening in my brief sojourn here in London. What was tacit becomes explicit. What is talked about intuitively is now describable.

Could this appreciative eye be the auspicious third eye of the spiritual mode of being? With this eye ever open, learning becomes a path to a creative way of seeing. For the appreciative eye, there is always something more to what is. But patience is the answer if I must await the dawning of the real in its manifold unfolding.

An appreciative eye embodies a cultivated capacity to see, to relate, and to question. It searches. It does not interrogate. When it asks, it does so to wait for the unfolding of the real life processes in the fourfold mode: physical, personal (idiographic), social, and spiritual. A creative, appreciative eye is never bored. It does not feel threatened by change. It remains unstructured. It has nowhere to lay its head. Where the heart is, there is its head!

The generative and constructive eye lacks definite form. Yet, it is not void; for life-world (Lebenswelt) makes a home for its everyday discernment. It respects what it discerns. This eye is a path which his writing of 1984 Clifford Geertz calls “thick description.”

In my learning I learn to behold and attend to this singular reality: the flowering (opening) of this creative, flexible eye consists in self-reflectivity, which entails learning in process.

Learning is the promise of all meaningful human effort. It is the heart and soul of Existential Psychotherapy. Only learning that is open to the being mode is vital to existential psychotherapy. It is not surprising that Psychoanalytic (of the analytic eye), CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapies) and Family System are modules taught and learned at the New School of Psychotherapy/Middlesex University. If existential psychotherapy must attend (therapeuo) to the four worlds (physical, personal, social, and spiritual), it makes sense to examine the assumptions of all therapies that any speak to any of the fourfold world of humans.

I continue to be challenged to move from the limiting analytic eye to the creative eye. With this opening my creative eye in view, learning for me becomes a life-long formation in attending to the creative way of being. As a creative urge, learning remains an act of love, an energy that empowers me to approach and relate with the more of phenomena.

Learning Unites. If learning unites, it is because, every act of learning embodies love, a positive energy in the emotional human compass. Every act of learning is sustained by the longing for the more. Just as learning personalises, it unites with the widening horizon of meaning and purpose. It flourishes when it is built on care, research and discipline. To really learn is to learn to transcend paradoxes and conflicts and the emerging felt constraints of time and resources.

Learning is a way of life. It emerges to accompany my being mode. It is circumspective. Not everything is worthy of learning for a finite human being. Hence, every act of learning is an intentional and purposeful act. It allows me to relate to things and to fellow humans in the ecology of beings.

Learning is an effective mode of being present to phenomena. It is my means of awakening to what can come to light (phenomenon). It discloses as it conceals. It has its reason, its “for-the-sake-of-which”. As soon it pays attention to its own ways, it peters out and runs out of its own resources. When it pays attention to what is learned, it advances the quality and depth of being human in temporal space and time.

Learning is an exercise in being present. It is work! It becomes effortless and an art with increased receptivity. As a journey, it is sustained by the active power of love-energy. Finally, to love more is my singular purpose behind all meaningful learning. Learning after all, is an act of being. And often what I learn is given to significant others as a way of giving account for my being-with others and being-in-the-world. In my learning to love more, that is, to open up to the obligations and demands for a stewardship of all beings, I cultivated as I do now the tools to work with love-energy in humans. Three terms resume my present means of attending to aspects of people: existential in the manner of existential tradition, mindful romance with the unconscious by way of existential hypno-coaching and energetic in the manner of Teilhard de Chardin (the Spiritual Exercises in an age of Quantum understanding of reality).

In all these aforementioned aspects of intentional learning, I need patient consilience to endure the last year of my study to contribute wholesomely to the humanisation of humanity. I need to keep ever before me this truth: whatever is human is already divinised when Christ took my and your flesh, the flesh of the world. Only the inhuman detracts from this ongoing palpable emergence of Christ in the world. Whatever therefore each human being does, provided it does not dissipates my intentive awareness of Christ in smallest and the near-infinitely complex reality, celebrates the appreciate way of being-in-a-world-that-is-already-divine. But it is only the gateway of learning that this appreciative mode of being becomes possible and sustainable in all humans.

 

You are here: Home News & Events SJ World News A PROSE POEM IN BOTH IN PROSPECT AND IN RETROSPECT: THE MEANING OF LEARNING
Our Pages
Links

 

North-West Africa Province

P. O. Box 223,

Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria

Tel: +234 907 177 3535

www.jesuits-anw.org

 

facebook icon.     Youtube icon.