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Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies

 

 

 

The Role of Meditation in Learning and Study

 

by George A. Boyd ©2003

Meditation has a role in both the acquisition of new knowledge and skills (learning) and the process of examining, elaborating, and transforming knowledge (study). Specifically, it opens up the potential for core, or essential learning, through which you gain knowledge about the personality and spiritual aspects of your nature.

Meditation's Role in Learning

When we examine learning, we can identify seven major types:

  1. Reflexive learning – uses a stimulus (cue) to evoke a desired response (correct answer), performs drills to fix facts in memory and repetitive practice to develop motor skills.

  2. Associative learning – utilizes mnemonic strategies to encode and retrieve information learned, associates related ideas.

  3. Deep processing – builds cognitive maps of ideas, relating one idea to another with supportive facts; structures knowledge so it can be thoroughly understood.

  4. Emotional learning – also called interpersonal learning, it conveys emotionally toned messages through non-verbal and verbal communication that form a meta-message along with the content of learning.

    The teacher's tone of voice, body language, and cues in the learning environment subtly influence the student's ability to learning. Both positive messages of approval, love, and pride can be conveyed, or negative messages of dislike, disapproval, shame, anger, and contempt.

  5. Reflective learning – actively questions, analyzes and speculates about learned knowledge, seeking deeper understanding and insight. Applies problem solving strategies, formulas and functions to unravel complex conceptual enigmas.

  6. Archetypal learning – accesses intuition to discern the meaning of archetypes and to discover the nature of the Soul.

    It may mirror and communicate the Soul's wisdom through analogies, parables, symbols, mystery tales, and metaphysical ideas, attempting to clothe in language and image, the elements of the Subconscious, Superconscious and unconscious mind.

    This has also been called mandalic reasoning. This higher order of analogical reasoning finds correspondences between vehicles of the Soul on different Planes of consciousness, and ultimately reveals the Soul's own essence.

  7. Superlearning - called enlightened learning or samadhic learning, this state of instant intuitive grasping of vast amounts of knowledge taps the native omniscience of the Soul. In this state you know by being at one with the object of knowledge. It is experiential, unitive, and ineffable.

Meditation plays a role in learning types five, six and seven.

Learning type five, reflective learning, is stimulated by the methods of inquiry and reflective meditation.

Learning type six, archetypal learning, can be accessed using the methods of reflective and receptive meditation, drawn from Jnana Yoga.

Learning type seven has been called Enlightenment, Samadhi, or Cosmic Consciousness. This ecstatic state is the culmination of sustained meditation practice.

It unites the ascension of the Kundalini Shakti with the deepest absorption of attention into union with the Soul, and the full activation of the Illumined Mind (Buddhi).

Meditation techniques to activate learning types five through seven are taught in the Mudrashram® Master Course in Meditation and the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation.

Meditation's Role in Study

Meditation also enhances the ability to access the three deepest aspects of study, introspective study, intuitive study and continuum study. We can identify eight major types of study.

  1. Empirical study – uses the senses and reason to collect and verify data. It keeps careful records of the methods used to collect study samples, carefully organizes it, and analyzes it using statistical methods.

  2. Critical study – analyzes the logic of arguments, the soundness of conclusions, and the methodology of scientific experiments with reason.

  3. Experimental study – matches two or more groups of test subjects, one of which is used as a control group. The control group provides a benchmark to see if the experimental procedure had any effect. The experimental procedure changes one element while keeping all other elements constant. Whether this experimental effect is significant is determined by statistical analysis. This method is utilized to determine the efficacy of medications, therapeutic modalities, and to test scientific hypotheses.

  4. Case study – also referred to as a biopsychosocial assessment, it explores the experience of an individual from birth to present. It examines the impact of interpersonal and social factors, how the individual learned to cope with the people in his or her life and deal with the challenges of living. It also considers any medical or mental health conditions that have influenced the individual.

  5. Exploratory study – also called a literature review, it gathers information about a topic from literature, published research, searching the Internet, interview, and historical archives. This helps you to learn more about a subject to prepare reports, theses, essays, professional articles and books for publication.

  6. Introspective study – analyzing and monitoring your own behavior, reactions, attitudes, values, and desires with an aim to gain self-understanding. Introspection is also performed to change or control unwanted behavior, or to modify ineffective styles of relating in interpersonal relationships.

  7. Intuitive study – explores the structures and content of the vehicles of the Superconscious mind, using the higher faculties of discernment of the Superconscious mind (Buddhi) and contemplation by the attention. It leads to exact knowledge of the Self, the spirit, and the Soul. It may also be applied to understand the meaning of archetypes, symbols, and metaphysical ideas.

  8. Continuum study – examines different levels of the Great Continuum of Consciousness with the metavisional vision of the attentional principle. By contemplating nodal points and other internal markers on the continuum, maps of consciousness can be derived.

Meditation helps you in study types six through eight.

Being able to take the standpoint of a detached witness, which we call viewing with the attentional principle, facilitates introspection (study type six).

Centering techniques allow you to contact the Self, to gain the inner objectivity necessary for self-awareness, self-monitoring, and working on yourself.

The technique of Purusa Dhyan allows you to contact the attentional principle to take the viewpoint of the detached witness, and to examine aspects of yourself dispassionately.

Through this means you can learn the truth about what is behind your behavior, what motivates you to violate your inner standards, and to discover what underlies your attitudes and your reactions towards others.

Intuitive study (study type seven) is enhanced by methods that allow you to tap the Superconscious mind and access its discerning wisdom, such as receptive and reflective meditation and the practices of Jnana Yoga.

Continuum study (study type eight) becomes possible when you have mastered the advanced meditation practices of Raja Yoga and attunement with the Guide.

These advanced practices are taught in the Mudrashram® Advanced Course in Meditation, and the Satsang Program Home Study Course. A complete mapping of the Great Continuum of Consciousness is provided in our consciousness studies program, the Mudrashram® Correspondence Course.

Meditation can provide you essential tools to access the core levels of learning and study. We encourage you to learn more about its powerful insight methods.

 

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