LEARNING EXPERIENCES AND ITS SOURCES
The benevolence of our creator is such that, unlike other living things, He has created humans in His own mould. We are spirits and He is Supreme Spirit. It goes to show that each individual has got some special characteristics, particular to that individual and best thing about this all is that this characteristic can be learnt / imbibed by us if we wish / care to do so. May be the characteristic absorbed could stand us in good stead in our lives and have a lasting impression on us.
Manu – the Law Giver has rightly said: ‘Receive some good knowledge even from the low-born, and even from the man of lowest birth learn by service the road to heaven.” We can learn a lesson or two even from a pavement sleeper who spends his time through out winters and summers in the cold and hot seasons respectively notwithstanding climatic extremes below the sky. His life can teach us to thank our Lord for the bounties we enjoy which that hapless does not – the destitution in which that fellow lives and then we can make comparison. The people, who are on the verge of committing suicides, due to some loss in the business or loss of face owing to compatibility at home or at work place, can learn one or two lessons from these people who are miserable or physically challenged yet are raring to go. And we, despite being able bodied act worse than disabled bodied!
A person who just whiles away his / her time in useless pursuits does a disservice to himself / herself. In fact we can remove the darkness of ignorance with the light of knowledge. Knowledge gained should be put to use. Through practice we gain experience and experience thus gained makes the foundation of knowledge more solid and enduring. Learning is similar to the drawing of water from a newly dug well. If we do not draw water from it at regular intervals, water will get polluted first and subsequently the well will dry up. Our knowhow base will also dry up if we do not use it well and continue replenishing it.
Our Creator has bestowed humans with one rarest qualities and that is the trait of differentiation by which we have the free will of choosing / selection. This power makes it possible for us to choose what is right for us and discord what is wrong. A person who still makes mess of this choice and is lured by ‘greenery on the other side of the fence’ comes to grief.
With differentiation, we are also endowed the power to assimilate / cull the knowledge base from innumerable sources. There is no age bar for acquiring knowhow. It can be acquired from womb to tomb. My God! This is not a tall talk but a matter of fact which can be tested and attested scientifically. It is not merely from the time-honored formal institutions that we can acquire knowledge but also from any informal gatherings; religious, social or just civic based lessons from anyone who cares to educate us.
One pitfall that we often fall is when we come across a teaching not in consonance with our line of thought. This could be a religious discourse contrary to what we profess or a thought which already has made inroads in our psyche. We find it difficult to change. I am of the view that we can learn from any source and enhance our knowledge base, polish the knowhow we are having in the light of new insights and take advantage of knowledge revolution in the open media. But how to select that is our free will. One who thinks he / she ‘all knowing being’ is a person who is just like a proverbial ‘frog in the well’ – I shall call that person a conceited one bordering on egocentric tendencies.
The spirit of activity (Rajas) could be learnt through bringing out from our inner self the knowledge dormant. Everything is latent in us. It is to be drawn by our unstinted determination because that ETERNAL POWER or gigantic will comes from our Creator. But care ought to be exercised that this ‘unstinted determination’ is not bordering on our unstinted haughtiness. Tamas or inactivity will make us just like non-living things – exist and then fall apart. Sattavic or transcendent activities like truthfulness, faithfulness, kindheartedness, mercifulness, compassion will keep us abreast with positive orientation in our life. By following this line of thought we remain grounded in our thoughts and actions and thus will be more near to our Creator. We have to be pure in thoughts and actions and then only true and positive awareness will make residency in our system. But this trait can be learned / imbibed only when we have our inner conscious awakened through concentration on our Creator.
We should learn the lessons of life by experiencing different aspects in life individually. Just remembering a lesson learnt easily is washed away from the disc of our memory easily. This self-regulated / self experimental learning is meta-cognition. It is based on our own experiences, chosen by us according to the need of the hour and learnt at our own will and speed. Self regulation and self evaluation could be done in spiritual learning in a meaningful way. In ancient times, our Rishes used to learn through self disciples, self regulation and control at the isolated places / away from the hub of activities. When one aspect is not in consonance with our thinking it could be remolded or abandoned midway or some others’ experiences absorbed from other seekers and regulated in our lives. Even there is a choice of environs from where knowhow has to be collated and assimilated. I have found it very useful. This could be done in trial and error method too.
Finally learning through prayer. Praying is not mere taking the name of our Creator. It is an earnest and honest / sincere effort to connect with Him. By sincerity, it means with right attitude. It is not a show off to anybody. Anyhow not least to our Lord because he knows what goes on in our mind – Him or something else! First of all, we have to cleanse ourselves of all the dirt that is dormant in the form of negative traits. Having cleansed ourselves, we can concentrate on Him with oneness of purpose. This single purpose concentration not only cements our relationship with Him but also enhances our assimilation power in other fields of learning we ultimately.pursue because whatever we pursue we pursue with oneness of purpose like we do in prayer. Thus prayer should be made a steppingstone for not only to establish our relationship with Him but also enhance our Gyan in real sense of terms.