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Excerpted from I Had It All the Time by Alan Cohen. Copyright 1994 by Alan Cohen. Excerpted by permission of Alan Cohen Publications.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Learning must give way to being."

  Alan Cohen, I Had It All the Time, Part 1

The story is told of the Persian rascal-sage Nasrudin, who found himself on the bow of a ferry boat with a pompous intellectual. Bloated with his own erudition, the scholar began to quiz and criticize Nasrudin's education.

"Have you ever studied astronomy?" asked the professor.

"I can't say that I have," answered the mystic.

"Then you have wasted much of your life. By knowing the constellations, a skilled captain can navigate a boat around the entire globe."

A few minutes later the learned one asked, "Have you ever studied meteorology?"

"No, I haven't"

"Well, then, you have wasted most of your life," the academician chided. "Methodically capturing the wind can propel a sailing ship at astounding speeds."

After a while the fellow inquired, "Have you ever studied oceanography?"

"Not at all."

"Ah! What a waste of your time! Awareness of the currents helped many ancient peoples find food and shelter."

A few minutes later Nasrudin began to make his way toward the stem of the ship. On his way he nonchalantly asked the fellow, "Have you ever studied swimming?"

"Haven't had the time," the professor haughtily responded.

"Then you have wasted all of your life - the boat is sinking."

Sooner or later we reach the point where living the truth becomes more important than seeking it. Knowledge, techniques, and experiences pale in the face of the riches of the heart.

Learning must give way to being.

Recently I invited the members of a lecture audience to "bid" on the amount of money they have spent on fixing themselves.

I asked the participants to estimate their investment in self-help books, self-improvement seminars, consciousness trainings, meditation techniques, counseling and therapy, vitamins and dietary supplements, health spa memberships, cosmetic surgeries, psychic consultations, sundry crystals and amulets, travel to exotic lands in search of truth, and any other quest proceeding from the thought, "This will really do the trick for me."

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