I used to want to know, now I like to learn

I was recently asked a question about whether I am inquisitive and part of me experienced the question as also asking whether I want to find answers, to any range of questions.  My mind was blank; I found it difficult to respond in that moment and so opted for the answer “I don’t know”, which felt okay.


A couple of hours later, a phrase popped into my head in response to this question – “I used to want to know, now I like to learn”.  This response immediately resonated with me.  It may have arrived in slightly different wording at first, but it reshaped into those words.  I’d like to explore the words by separating the sentence and comparing two parts alongside each other;


  1. I used to want to know
  2. Now I like to learn


“I used to” vs “Now I”


Here, I’m struck by the change in tense.  The first part is past tense, i.e., I used to do something, whereas the second part is present tense, i.e., now, it is always now.  For me, this highlights the importance of the present moment, of working with what is arising in this moment, though it should be added that by combining the two parts into one whole sentence, ‘now’ gives a sense of recognising the role of the past in the present, to a point.


“want to” vs “like to”


Here, there is a change in the amount of clinging and desire which pervades my life.  I continually work to remove the necessity of wants and needs, and try to find joy and passion in each thing that I do; I experience more peace when I reduce trying to achieve or accomplish things; instead I focus on undertaking the present task and actually, I find I still undertake all ranges of challenges and new experiences throughout all aspects of life, with a bit more peace.


“know” vs “learn”


I don’t know if anything can be truly known.  Similar to ‘want’ and ‘like’, I find this distinguishing of “know” and “learn” represents my efforts to release the suffering that comes with wanting to know.  I find that when wanting to know something, I create this narrative of being somebody who knows something, and I can end up attaching to ideas in a desperate search to prove something to be right.  I may even end up trying to know something that I don’t even wish to know – consequently, I lose focus on enjoying that which I am doing.

By holding the perspective of everything being something to learn, with no over attachment to an end goal or end product, I find myself open to new ideas, new subjects of learning, and I find I am less offended if an idea or thought I have is challenged, allowing me to further learn from other people, reshaping and remodelling my views and experiences.