There are Bears in the Woods when it comes to learning new information and also engaging information that you already know but are gaining new insights to or accessing information in new ways. We have all been through them. We have all had the teacher that runs so quickly through a vital list of information with terms unfamiliar to us and we are busy trying to assimilate the information when it starts bogging down. Then as the information starts to build one concept poorly assimilated into a group of concepts start to get a little nuts. There are far too many teachers out there that treat all students the same and usually teach to the students that access information in the same way that they access information. Not all people are built alike, some access concepts slowly in methodical ways via launguage and have to understand before moving on, some access information visually needing visual constructs to see how the information fits and moves, some people access information quickly with a already established mental dewey decimal systems for putting information in correct places and have access to the information as soon as it is heard, ( I hate those people, actually I am in awe of them because I can only access information via practice and familiarity), there are some students that are auditory and have to hear the language spoken, Some do better reading words and information to remember. We all need “to do” to learn but some more than others. Some are an equal blend of all of the ways of learning. I am sure there are more types of students but regardless of the type of learning that you lean towards there are 4 common bears in the woods that start to shut out any new information. We will call them Bears of the New Forest and they have to do with a momentum of thoughts and behaviors that are getting in the way, another way to say this is Karma. Yes, your Karma ran over your dogma.
- The Blowing Fussing Bear: This happens when you are exposed to a new concept that collides with your present concept of what you believe to be right or real. How do you know that you are stuck in this place? You get angry and agitated with yourself and the teacher. What does it feel like to be wrong?…. It doesn’t feel like anything , finding out you are wrong feels like something! Until you find out you are wrong it feels the same as being right! So how do you fix this bear in the woods. First, you articulate your fear, then you state what it is that you are running up against. Then you do an activity to change your brain. Do the activity differently then you have before. Do an activity that you do the same every time and change it. If you know a Kung Fu form then build up a good momentum of play and then change it, do it with just arms , do it with different stepping patterns, do it one handed still trying to get all of the movements in.If you don’t know a kung fu form brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand, write with your non-dominant hand, the ways to do activities differently are endless. The point is to change the way that you normally interact in an effort to engage the part of your body/mind that does something new. Then readdress what you are trying to learn with a new mind set. Teachers listen up. Sometimes when you know that you are going to be running up against popular beliefs or a difficult to understand subject get the students to engage in an activity of doing something differently first before you run up against the Bear in the Woods. It will help to smooth out the friction of learning.
- Trout Bear: We have all seen trout face in school. It is when the brain cannot access any more new information until it has had time to absorb the information it has already received. You can see it in students, that slack-jawed look, the sleepy eyes and opened mouth fish face, that dead lifeless tired look. They look very sleepy. The reality of this bear in the woods is that you just need to go to sleep. If you can take a nap, and let your subconscious go to work organizing and processing the new information that is best. That’s one of the many reasons a good night of sleep is so very important. To process information from the day before so there is space for new information.
- The Enertia Bound Bear: When you are moving through unclaimed information, or you have the information but you do not understand it yet or you don’t understand how the information fits together, or how to remember the information you know you are being eaten by the Enertia Bound Bear.One of the clues is when you mentally and emotionally freeze up. You shut down. Everything just stops and your mind goes blank. Oh boy! Do I know this bear personally! Kung Fu is designed to engage this bear, remember my post yesterday about making space! So some of the other things that you can do are: rest and relax,if you know Chi Gung then play a set, If you know how to meditate engage in seated meditation or standing meditation, make some time to have fun, listen or watch something funny, or remember a time that made you laugh. The most important thing is not to bare down on the problem but instead, laugh and play with the problem. And don’t take yourself so seriously.
- The Blissed Out Bear: This is the “everything is groovy mann” disease. If you are convinced that this One thing is the most important thing at the exclusion of all other parts and you get caught in the cycle of doing that one thing over and over again. You can be assured you are fighting the Blissed out bear. You become spaced out and this will eventually lead to a feeling of I am not worthy. The way to combat this is to start a new project one that you don’t care if you finish, the important thing is engaging the new project. Surprise yourself by being interested in something that would not normally interest you. Engage the new project with excitement. If you do Chi Gung do things that put attention on your feet and your awareness of the ground beneath you. If you are a student of New Forest, 2 shoe or 3 Tree activities, if not put attention on your feet when you walk from one room to the next, or imagine that you have roots growing three times your height into the ground. In other words doing things that ground you. Rather than leave you feeling floaty and stoned.
So, an important thing to consider when you are wanting to be a good student, a lifelong student, or if you want to accelerate your learning, you should become a student of your own momentum. What you bring to a moment. What thoughts, patterns, habits, and problems that you bring to learning that cloud the way you pay attention. Then learn methods for cleaning your mental chalk board so you have space to access new information. With the 4 Bears in the New Forest, you can quickly assess where your problem is and then address it with an activity that changes the way you engage information. Then get back at it with a new perspective.