I will share some ideas, partly from my own thoughts and experiences, and partly from the wisdom traditions.
To begin with, it will help to understand what “learning” is not. I think our human concept of “goals” and learning are vague analogues of the real meaning and do not actually capture the essence of it. Learning is not simply the gains from the kind of labor we experienced in school and it is not simply learning to seek pleasure and avoid pain. It has little or no correspondence with what Mom and Dad taught us or what we read in most books. Spiritual learning is not verbal. When we are asleep to the real meaning of what we encounter then we assign conventional and mundane meanings to spiritual terms and teachings and so miss reality.
What then is learning in the spiritual sense of the word? It has been defined as the expansion of consciousness. But any word or phrase that one may use to describe or define it will fall short of the reality. The limited meaning that most have for goals and learning, together with the sense of the mundane are all limitations within our own consciousness and these words do not actually point, for most, to the inner meaning. I’ve suggested the new word “consciousness” but the real meaning of that will also have to be learned by direct personal experience. We must stay open to that possibility.
I will say that consciousness is bound up with the true meaning of love, joy, and life— it is a vast thing of infinite dimensions. It is not just learning as we may have experienced it thus far in this tiny slice of life–a partial life and part of the chain that stretches back into the remote past and forward into the distant future embracing all the undreamed of possibilities of that. And it is not even just learning within an earthly body on this planet, rather it is cosmic and has about it as many facets as are stars in the depths of space—so “learning” is not limited to planet Earth at all– that is just the beginning.
And beyond that, it is not just learning–it is also doing, which is to say the power to create and the power to be and become vastly more than can now be imagined by anyone on the planet. I will say that love is the key and that by engaging in creative work on behalf of humanity, from the motive of love, will come some illumination to us as to the nature and meaning of the word “consciousness.”
The spiritual goal of our life and all lives is written in space as a dynamic Divine archetype which is gradually accessible to our consciousness as we grow and unfold the powers and potentials of divinity within us. So the goal in a spiritual sense is not a limited thing. It is unlimited. It is infinite and so there is no final ending point where attainment is absolutely complete and so the story ends. The goal is not a matter of learning everything that you wanted to. It is a vastly expanded sense of learning who and what you are which means a transformation of the sense of identity and so what you “want.” It is the discovery of infinity both within yourself and within the universe. Think large and realize that even this universe is but one of a chain of universes that stretch into the remote past and on into the infinite future.
Each of us can, by virtue of what is within us, say with Divinity:
“And within me, deep and deep, Universes wake and sleep.” Kenneth Morris
Deep star field from NASA