The joy of the learning
There is no doubt that learning new things can be an enjoyable experience. I am learning to play the piano and despite finding the coordination of playing music with two hands difficult; it is rewarding when I make progress and the music sounds in tune.
I know learning can also be challenging and stressful. I remember studying at university and feeling the dreaded pressure of exam stress and the horrible sinking fear of failure.
I didn’t enjoy learning new things until I discovered a new approach to it that works for me. I now think of learning as a meditation. If you make friends with your fear of learning and remind yourself that FEAR is only false emotion appearing real. The mind generates fear to protect you from change and creates false negative emotion to keep you safe. This resistance is often what prevents people moving forward.
False Emotion Appearing Real
Fear can come in the form of anxiety linked to what is going to happen in the future. The ‘fight or flight response’ is a primal state activated when we feel under threat and in a dangerous situation. When we feel under pressure or boxed in, adrenaline gives us the physical power to literally fight or run away. A pretty useful boost of energy for a caveman being chased by a wild tiger, but not the kind of vibe that helps us with communication at work.
Most people recognise fear as an unpleasant sinking feeling at some point in their lives: learning to drive, job interviews, bereavement, exam stress, anxiety, panic etc
Make friends with fear
The analogy of making friends with fear is a beautiful way of thinking about it. Fear is just a false emotion that is produced for your own safety and survival. The intention of fear is good because it wants to keep you safe, but for the majority of life situations that involve learning new things or challenging circumstances; fear can seem like an enemy.
When you understand that fear comes from the mind and uses the past as a way of keeping your fears alive for your own protection; fear doesn’t seem so bad. It can also be credited with the achievement of helping the human race survive and evolve as a species.
The only reason fear seems so real and frightening is because human beings have a higher intellect and ability to remember the past than other species in the animal kingdom. When you accept fear is just about the past and recognise it in your consciousness, remember it’s intention is good and be kind to yourself.
Make learning into a meditation
I find learning is done best when your mind is calm and you are feeling relaxed and chilled out. Buddha’s famous quote ‘a jug fills drop by drop’ is an analogy for the concept everything happens one step at a time.
A jug fills drop by drop….
Learn consciously with your full attention on what you are doing. When my concentration drifts away as it often does, I bring it back to what I am doing. It’s all about focus and maintaining sustained concentration levels.
Awareness is needed to monitor how you are feeling. If you feel tense or stressed, it is a good idea to go away and come back later. Some people go for a short walk and this resets their mind. Meditation is a useful tool to raise your energy and calm your mind.
It is important to remember that learning new things can be challenging and study skills and routine take time to develop and master. When you encounter challenges, treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
Remember learning is fun !