Saturday, March 31, 2007

Thinking and Learning

There is this wonderful example of a child which spends a lot of time with the mother, before he or she goes to this place called school. The child is with the mother while the mother is mixing atta for the rotis. A piece of that atta is given to the child so that it keeps quiet, and the child in its wonderful innocence goes on making different shapes out of that piece of atta and generally keeps itself occupied and also enjoys the process thus helping the mother complete her task.

Change of scene: This same child on the first day in school, encounters this new entity (teacher) who, walks-in to class hands over a piece of clay which very much looks like the atta which the mother had given in the kitchen. But here is the difference, while the mother had just let the child be with that piece of atta, this teacher says "Children make that piece round" and shows them how to do it. This sets the first thought into the child which can be very traumatic, it begins to wonder, "hey, I was never told to make it round at home, how come this new twist?" From that day everything that the child has learnt is contradicted with a forced thinking that this is how it should be done. Then there are various justifications given in terms of discipline, order, education, facts and what not.

Take another example: Tell a five year old to draw a line and it draws anything but a straight line, where as tell the same to a supposedly educated thinking individual, he/she will draw only a straight line!.

See how patterns have set in because of our conditioning of thinking and thinking in a particular way! So what the child has learnt through self-discovery, is changed in our education system by wrote memory. While this path of self-discovery is purely intuitive, intellect drives our thinking.

Learning is something that is experienced, it is something that happens in the 'NOW' and gives the 'WOW' feeling, while thinking is mainly driven by our past and the unknown future.

Is there some Learning?

Friday, March 9, 2007



The beauty of silence when we are silent, the mind starts talking to us and it can be extremely difficult to listen to our own mind...

By Balakrishna Jayasimha

On Sunday morning we witnessed a magnificent spectacle in the sky: a complete lunar eclipse. What amazed me that morning was the absolute silence that prevailed all around, even the silence of nature. The complete silence that lasted the duration of the eclipse was indeed an amazing experience. I felt that we experience the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur only in moments of complete silence.

Today, if you look around you find that all we have around us is noise. It’s noisy in the streets, it’s noisy in the restaurants, it’s noisy on the television, it’s noisy everywhere. Even schools today teach the young to read and recite, but never to listen — not only to listen externally but also internally. We are in times when, even while working, walking, jogging or simply sitting, we have a constant companion called noise.

In fact we have reached a stage where silence is scary and hence there’s a need for noise as a constant companion.

When we are silent, the mind starts talking to us and it can be extremely difficult to listen to our own mind.

Ask yourself this question: “Will I be my best friend?”. The answer in all probability will be “no!”. That is because we are constantly self-critical.

In order to escape this self-critical person in us we find various ways not to listen to the mind.

While the self-critique in us can make us quite uncomfortable, it is the storehouse of information. It can give us an insight into how we are currently thinking and feeling.

When we become aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can go about understanding and healing the inner critique. And one of the ways we can understand and heal the inner critique is by remaining silent, by listening and experiencing everything around us, accepting the views of others, listening to the thoughts of others.

We find difficulty in following it, because as soon as we are subjected to any feedback, our defence mechanisms, built up unconsciously since childhood, spring to our apparent rescue.

When we become defenceless and operate through silence we discover a new self, a self that is happy and in sync with its surroundings. In the self that has divinity within we can find the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur.

As Rachel Naomi Remen has said: “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. “Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.

“A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words”.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Follow your Intuition

Article in the Deccan Herald dated 11th August, 2006.
Panorama; Oasis.

Follow your intuition

To develop intuition, we need to dig inside us rather than look outside for rationalisation. If the driving force of intelligence in the 20th century has been the head, in the dawning of the 21st century it will be the heart. The emphasis on the intellect for defining success of an individual by the modern world is out of touch with the heart-level engine or intuition today.

Following your intuition would mean following your heart, listening to your gut feeling. There might have been several times in our lives when we have felt a certain way about a certain event, but have not expressed it, and later found out that what we felt actually happened. We simply did not have the courage to express what we felt when we felt it.

Following the heart also means following the divinity within, it is listening to the divine voice within; it is listening to your feelings. When we listen to the voice within we recognise the same voice in others.

The rational thinking in us, the intellect has taken us far away from the magical world of our gut ‘feel’ and dismissed it as coincidental thoughts. The most common example being when we think of a person whom we have not met in a while and at that very moment that person either calls or arrives at our doorstep, we say “what a coincidence"! There is a thin line which separates our thoughts from intuition.

Intuition has, other than thoughts a bodily response, we experience a tingling sensation when such thoughts arise. We need to observe our bodily response when a thought arises to distinguish it as thought from intuition. Thus, to develop the intuitive faculty in us we need to go within rather than look for rationalisation from the outside. Once we develop our intuitive abilities, we also are able to recognise the inner feelings in most others – this way we understand their feelings and emotions. We often say “I understand” without actually doing so. All this requires a process of un-learning and learning again. A student asked the master, “Lead me to change master, I want to become like you”. The master looked at the pupil, and took a jar containing water lying next to him and started to pour the water into a glass which was three fourths full. The glass filled up and water started flowing out, but the master continued pouring.

The pupil said, "What are you up to master? The water is spilling out! To which the master replied, "Son, for you to accept something new, you first need to pour out all that is old!