The Power of Unlearning

We often think that as we get older we get smarter. We are convinced that with experience we gain wisdom. But we also learn some messed up stuff along the way. We often refer to those of us who exhibit oppressive behaviors as ignorant, naive, or uninformed. In reality, the problem for those of us who exhibit oppressive behaviors (as well as internalized dominance and internalized oppression) is not that we are uninformed. The problem is that we are very well mis-educated.

One of the more powerful lessons of being a parent of young children is how much clarity they have about themselves, others, and the world because of the things they haven’t yet learned. What oppressive narratives are in your psyche (perhaps even in-spite of knowing better)? What baggage do you carry or what armor have you put on to protect yourself because of the hurts and pain you have experienced throughout your life? How is that preventing your from being your full self?

We all know how hard learning can be, but unlearning can be even harder.

This story of the Golden Buddha from the film, Finding Joe, is a beautiful parable about the power of unlearning. I find it to be a wonderful reminder of how we can begin to get out of our own way.

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