Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Optimal learning

After a long break, I have come back to using words.
 If one masters the ability to enter a state of single pointed focus, the ability to focus ones desire to a laser sharp point and the ability to see what needs to be done i.e. vision - I used to believe that the purpose of formal education has been served.

Learning is an interesting and fascinating phenomenon.

One of the questions I had was - how does one achieve this one pointed focus at will?

The Patanjali yogasutras offer hints as to how this process occurs.

shraddhaa veerya smriti samaadhi pradnyaa poorvak itareshaam.
Patanjali's yogasutras (1-20).

Shraddhaa - loosely translated as faith. It begins with belief - with faith. Faith in the teacher, in the subject, in the process of learning. Faith provides the "wetness" necessary for union. (between teacher and student, between student and subject) In a teacher-student situation, without faith, there is dryness - resulting in "dry dis-course" that is a painful boring 'one-way' process. 

Veerya - this can also be translated as utsaah or enthusiasm. Faith leads to enthusiasm - (enthusiasm comes from en+theos from Greek - literal meaning - to be filled with God) and the being of the student is ready for union with the subject, for learning.

Smriti - Enthusiasm leads to past experience and knowledge being brought up into the memory cache, ready to be recalled at will, thus providing a firm foundation for learning to occur.

Next is samaadhi - or union with the subject of study, a state where one pointed focus is achieved. Nothing else except the subject exists.

This leads to the awakening of pradnya - a state where after the subject is assimilated into ones being, the blossoming of wisdom results.

( 'poorvak itaresham' - this sutra is referring to most normal people, and not those who have been talked about in the earlier sutras - those who have already achieved the ability to enter 'samaadhi' at will.)

shraddhaa->veerya->smriti is one of the pre-conditions for achieving one pointed focus. Hmm.

Wherever there are gaps in this chain, sub-optimal union with the subject at hand and thus learning might occur.

1 comment:

Aparna said...


Am so glad you are blogging again! Will visit your blog frequently now.

Keep it going! :)