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Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies

 

 

 

Can Meditation Enhance Learning?

 

by George A. Boyd ©2003

Education seeks to enhance the learning of students, and attempts to implement the insights of the models of learning taught to them. Some of the traditional and non-traditional models advanced for education are summarized below.

  1. Neural-Environmental Model of Learning – Lasting biochemical and cellular changes occur in brain tissue as a result of exposure to stimuli. Learning can be optimized by environmental, nutritional and dietary modification. Changes due to aging, exposure to environmental toxins, lack of adequate nutrition, medical conditions, and distracting environmental stimuli can disrupt or lower the ability to learn. Modifying or minimizing these factors leads to improved learning.

  2. Cognitive-Behavioral Model of Learning – Rehearsal and regular review reinforces intellectual learning. Behavioral learning reinforces desired behavior and extinguishes unwanted behavior. The student may adapt cognitive strategies for enhanced studying, memorizing, and test taking to improve his or her performance in classes.

  3. Developmental-Psychodynamic Models of Learning – The capacity to learn changes over the lifetime as the nervous system matures, thus learning needs to be structured to accommodate the dominant learning set of the individual based on age and measurements of their ability by intelligence and aptitude tests. Unresolved issues in the student's unconscious mind or difficulties in family and peer relationships can sabotage the successful acquisition of learning. The ability to successfully learn may be improved if these issues are addressed and resolved.

  4. Humanistic-Existential Models of Learning – Reflection upon experiences create meaning and value; those subjects most meaningful and valuable to the individual engender the strongest motivation for learning and mastery. Mastery of cognitive knowledge and behavioral skills an enhanced sense of personal efficacy and self-esteem. Because of innate factors, one or more of the native forms of intelligence predominate in an individual. These include spatial, mechanical, or kinesthetic; mathematical; verbal; analytical/reasoning; emotional, social, or interpersonal; musical or auditory; and self-knowledge, intuitive or insightive. The individual shapes career and academic interests from the areas of predominate intelligence, hence a person with high musical intelligence will do well in these subjects in school and may be drawn to a career in this field. Tests can be developed to measure each of these types of native intelligence. Learning is a lifelong endeavor and is a central part of personal growth and actualization. People learn best in an atmosphere of respect and unconditional positive regard: by genuinely caring about their students, teachers can help students grow and feel good about themselves.

  5. Hypnotic-Subconscious Mind Models of Learning – The subconscious mind is the repository of all learning, and all knowledge is permanently retained. However, difficulties in encoding information and retrieving it limit access to this information. Entering a hypnotic trance, also called an alpha state or super-learning state, allows the individual to optimally encode new information and previously learned information. Speed-reading, photographic memory and markedly enhanced retention can be demonstrated by this means. Hypnosis can also remove blocks to learning by using post-hypnotic suggestions to overcome a student's limiting beliefs.

  6. Superconscious or "Correspondence" Models of Learning – Intuitive prehension of vast arrays of knowledge can be accessed through the multi-dimensional Superconscious mind. This band of the mind utilized by geniuses allows the comprehensive visualization of a subject from multiple parameters and viewpoints. By accessing this band of the mind, the entire range of reasoning processes is activated in the individual: deductive, analogical, inductive, dialectical, mandalic and synthetic forms of reasoning operate in a focalized way on the topic of inquiry. This brings highest understanding and insight. Learning meditation can facilitate egress to this band of the mind.

  7. Mastermind or Transformational Models of Learning – In this model, the ability to learn is seen as a function of the spiritual evolution of the individual. At the highest stages of Initiation, the full potential of the individual can be realized, and all levels of the mind become accessible. In these states, the native omniscience of the Soul becomes fully activated and the illumined mind (Buddhi) begins to operate at full capacity, resulting in accelerated learning and the experience of Enlightenment. By unfolding the Soul's potentials through Initiation, intelligence and mental functioning can be enhanced. Everyone has the potential to become a Mastermind, but only rare individuals successfully undergo the transformation and discipline needed to reach these sublime states.

Elements of models A through D are incorporated into modern education practices. Those who learn about hypnosis may begin to utilize elements of model E. Models F and G introduce meditation into learning and through this means gain access to the Superconscious mind.

Meditation methods can be easily learned and practiced, but it may take years of meditation to begin to even partially use the potential described in models F and G.

However, even a single taste of Superconscious illumination or Samadhic learning, will convince even the most skeptical that the full potential of the human mind has barely been tapped. Meditation may play a role in allowing some dedicated and persevering practitioners to implement some of the elements of models F and G, and bring their innate genius fully into flower.

 

The Mudrashram Home Page

The Reading Room

The Psychic Room

The Meditation Room

Glossary

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