Enlightenment, Religion, Satori, Self-Integration, Spirituality, Transformative Experience

Have We Been Placed Here to Learn Spiritual Lessons?

(About a 2 minute read)

The notion that we have been placed here to learn spiritual lessons progressively leading to ever greater wisdom is a curious one — just as ancient and widespread as it is unquestioned and unexamined.

But is it true?

Ultimately, of course, there is no way to be certain that anything has placed us here to learn wisdom.  That’s a matter of mere metaphysical speculations.  So I ask the question in a practical spirit, rather than in a metaphysical one.

That is, what would it mean in practice to say that we can learn wisdom?

At first blush, that would seem to he a heady question, just as difficult to approach as it sometimes is to define “wisdom” itself.  But perhaps this approach will work here: We can ask whether the wisdom we learn intellectually could possibly be the sort of wisdom that might either endure the death of our mind, or to transform us on any profoundly fundamental level.

By “intellectual wisdom”, I mean the sort of wisdom that might be learned from the close study of holy scriptures, from a clergy person or spiritual teacher, even from our culture in general (such as in the from of wise sayings), or from the observation of others.

It seems obvious to me that many people think that kind of wisdom can transform us so profoundly that it is capable of surviving the death of our minds.  But is that true?

Perhaps the single most telling fact is that anything learned intellectually can be forgotten, and often is. For instance, suppose after much questioning and research you come to the conclusion that Jesus is Christ, your lord and savior.  Although it seems improbable you would normally forget that, it is easily conceivable that you would experience some trauma or injury that caused you to forget it.

But what then?  If that’s what is meant by learning a spiritual lesson or wisdom, then you are back to the start.   It’s just as if you have learned nothing at all.

Which brings us to a second possibility.  Suppose the wisdom in this case is not the kind that’s learned intellectually, but rather that is learned on the subconscious level?  Would it make any difference?

I’m afraid not.  Again, a brain injury could wipe it out.

But what if the wisdom you learn is somehow transferred from your mind to your soul or to your karma?  Wouldn’t that solve the problem? Would not they be immune from a brain injury?

Perhaps, but now we are back to metaphysical speculations.

So I don’t think we can conclusive assert that we are put here on this earth in order to learn anything.  Of course, it could still be possible because we have no way of knowing any relevant metaphysical truths here.

8 thoughts on “Have We Been Placed Here to Learn Spiritual Lessons?”

  1. interesting thoughts and eloquently written. we had a discussion recently about spiritual journeys, some were of the opinion that we are never a Christina, Hindu, Muslim etc but continue to strive to be one not just a good one, we used Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling as a basis to support this theme. i liked your use of Christian salvation here. gave me a deeper understanding about how much we believe in can just be wiped out and replaced with something new.


      1. i have been ok Paul, still here and muddling on with blogging just like with life. so good to read your words, though now you seem to be on a roll and i can hardly catch up! yes your post was very insightful. i do hope life has been kind to you since we last spoke.


  2. Life is very kind these days, thanks for asking. I am indeed on a roll and trying my best to get it all out before the inevitable day comes the muses leave for L.A. again. 😀


  3. My only thought here is that the wisdom one does attain in life can impress itself on the universe in various way in terms of affecting people, places, and things. In that sense our psyche does live on, but whether we live on is a mystery to me. Interesting post/subject though, thank you.


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