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The Curriculum in EarthSchool

By Edward J. Kesgen, Ph.D.

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott

As your life's pathway leads you to places unknown, you will be presented with many opportunities to learn and grow. And this set of circumstances is what EarthSchool is all about. The peaks and valleys of daily living are there to help you fully appreciate the human experience. The pace at which you complete the curriculum is up to you. There is no hurry. You have a lifetime in which to graduate. The lessons you will learn are bound by a common objective. In fact, the reason you are here--the purpose of human existence is really quite simple:

The spirit that is you has taken human form to love and learn from loving relationships.

At first blush, that statement may appear simplistic. How can love be the main reason for your very being--an answer to the complications that continually seem to impact our lives? Here is a litmus test:

There is no problem that cannot be lessened,
or even eradicated, when viewed through
the lenses of love and compassion.

Corporate greed, economic instability, international conflict, widespread crime, ethnic terrorism, dishonesty, racial intolerance, and persecution because of religious beliefs, are a short list that illustrates man's inhumanity to man. Yet, each of these problems can be lessened when love is placed squarely in the middle of the equation. And what exactly is love?

Is love the butterfly-stomach that occurs when two youngsters experience that first tentative kiss? Is love the glow that occurs between individuals who have spent a long lifetime sharing the multitudinous events of a common journey? Is love the twinkle in the eye of a grandad as he cradles his granddaughter in his lap? Is love the joy one person experiences when she gives a gift to another without expecting anything in return? All of the above? Or is love an elusive concept that cannot easily be defined? Well, it can be defined quite easily, in fact.

"Love is the condition in which the happiness
of another person is essential to your own."

--Robert Heinlein

Peace, security, prosperity, robust health, spiritual awareness and happiness frequently displace insecurity, fear, anger, jealousy, suspicion and depression when genuine loving expression is utilized as the medium for the message. And a marvelous side effect occurs when a person expresses love.

When love is given to another it is
also experienced by the sender.

Imagine a young child sitting by herself in a room, quietly rocking back and forth in her rocking chair, affectionately caressing her teddy bear. Perhaps you have done this yourself. As you look into the room, you can sense the love that exists between the child and the bear. You can almost see the little hearts floating up into the air, as the child loves up on the bear. Both the child and the bear seem to be immersed in a loving exchange. But wait...

The bear is really not a living organism. It is made up of some stuffing, a corduroy vest, a few buttons and perhaps a ribbon around its neck. The teddy bear is incapable of giving love. Yet the child feels as if she is receiving love! If not from the bear, what is the source of the love that the child is experiencing? Obviously, from herself.

In order for the child to express love to the bear, she must first allow loving feelings and thoughts to be brought to her own conscious awareness, ultimately to be expressed through caring words and gestures. In becoming aware of the love she is about to convey, she feels the warmth and affection of the emotion within. Love is such a marvelous emotion, because giving it away increases the supply.

The more love you give to another
the more you give to yourself.

You will surely complete the curriculum in EarthSchool and graduate to the next grand adventure in your own time. While in class, be mindful that the person you are in any grade level is a necessary step in becoming the person you are to be. You cannot leap from being Person A to Person Z. You must evolve through being Person B, Person C, Person D, and so forth. You are a work in progress at every stage of your life--an instrument acquiring its voice in a great orchestra. Enjoy the music that is you.

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations
in life that no man can sincerely try to
help another without helping himself."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

An Aside: I once delivered a keynote address for a large conference of rehabilitation nurses. During my speech, I shared the message of the child and the teddy bear essentially as it appears on the preceding pages. At the conclusion of my address, a woman approached my podium at the front of the room, leading her five- or six-year-old daughter by the hand. The child had something to tell me. Sticking her lip out a bit, the little girl said: "MY teddy bear gives me love!" Her mom just smiled. I assured the child that such was certainly the case. Another reminder that I don't have all the answers.

The late Ed Kesgen was an acclaimed professional speaker, seminar facilitator, retired university professor, former therapist and US Naval Officer. He is engaged in spreading a message of joy, hope and optimism through a variety of appearances across the country. Download a free sample of his inspirational book, "To Carlie, With Love, From Grandad" - from which the above article was excerpted.

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