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Will this be on the test?
In my school days, whenever a teacher began explaining a challenging concept, some student would inevitably ask, "Will this be on the test?"
Of course, what lies silently behind that question is whether the topic is something for which attention must be paid.
Such was, and perhaps still is, the nature of education. Provide students a easy path to pass.
The candid teachers would always answer with an honest yes or no. The rest with maybe.
While asking such a question might not paint the apprehensive student as an overly eager learner, it certainly helps to know where energy ought best be invested.
Imagine a wise, forthright guide to whom we could turn in any difficult situation and ask, “Is this something I need to take seriously?”
The challenge is that such an astute advisor would always respond with “no”. This will not be on the test. This is not something you need to worry about.
And we don’t like that.
Unlike the disengaged pupil, we want things to demand our attention. They give us purpose, intentionality, and imposition — the prerequisites for a sense of “me”.
The drama of the world, the demands of what we call “life”, beckon attention. To which we heed willingly.
Yet our compassionate teacher gently reminds us that we give everything all the meaning it has for us.
Nothing is harmful or beneficent apart from what you wish. It is your wish that makes it what it is in its effects on you. (T-25.IV.2)
The only thing that will be “on the test” is that there is no test. Nothing but perfect peace has any relevance. Everything else is an illusory distraction to keep us from remembering our true nature: a oneness joined as one.
Join me in Thursday’s class where we’ll dig deeper into why we’re so riveted by the seeming complexities of our chosen curriculum. And we’ll discuss practices leading out of pain and into peace. I look forward to seeing you then.