Humans tend to be impressed by struggle and scholarly endurance because we have been conditioned to believe that our purpose in life is to be a productive member of society. Instead of learning from curiosity and wonder, we force ourselves to struggle through courses and subjects that are dry, boring, or not even remotely interesting in order to obtain a certificate that validates our intelligence and worth.
Understanding is not accomplished through struggle itself, but though our ability to overcome struggle.
Most of us believe that overcoming struggle is accomplished by enduring struggle to acquire knowledge. But in reality, the more struggle we endure, the more struggle we create. Our ability to learn is not meant to cause struggle, but to inspire a joyful journey of discovery, exploration and fulfillment of curiosity – all of which lead to understanding.
A degree is merely a symbol that we have attained the knowledge acceptable to society in a particular area of study. As long as we do not express understanding that contradicts the taught doctrines, that degree will remain valid, acceptable and society may even consider us an expert on the subject of our study.
Moreover, the one who earns a degree is easily tempted to believe their self to be more important or superior to other people. This is because other peoples’ perception of us gives credence to the self image that we have been creating ever since we developed the mental concept of self as separate from everything else. A degree provides a sense that we are revered by other people, and arrogance can easily become our dominant expression.
But when we learn from those who have gone before with the intent to understand – not for a degree or self importance – we can attain both worldly knowledge and our true Self. No degree can validate that which a person understands, and when we have understanding, no validation is necessary.