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
- 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
- Associative learning
– utilizes mnemonic strategies to encode and retrieve information learned,
associates related ideas.
- Deep processing
– builds cognitive maps of ideas, relating one idea to another with
supportive facts; structures knowledge so it can be thoroughly understood.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.
- Critical study
– analyzes the logic of arguments, the soundness of conclusions, and
the methodology of scientific experiments with reason.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
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.