My metaphor for learning is that “Learning is mindfulness.”. Mindfulness is a state of mind, rather one of the most powerful states of mind. One who habitually indulges in mindfulness can experience that they are in a constant meditative state. Being in a meditative state increases our focus, which is nothing but mindfulness, and this helps in learning. Everything is nothing but, data. Data in itself makes no sense at all. When portions from that data are brought together or arranged in a particular fashion, the product is information. Information alone cannot do anything by itself and must be used or acted upon. When information is put to use to do a task or to experiment, we gain knowledge. The result of this knowledge in the shape of the final product gives us insight. For example, the people in the entire world today who have access to good books and the Internet already have insights on how rockets are built. Mathematics equations would be of no use in themselves if we didn’t know how to apply them. Therefore, mindfulness is the foundation stone of knowledge and insight.
Knowledge encompasses everything from the beginning of time to the formation of the first stars and galaxies and planets, to the beginning of life on Earth and kings and queens, to where we are today with our space explorations and our varied economies. Langer (2000) supports these claims when she says mindfulness has a particular reference to learning. Mindfulness is the simple action of drawing new distinctions. It guides us to more considerable thoughtfulness towards conditions and perspectives. Engaging in mindful learning helps in avoiding forming such mindsets which limit us or our potential. A lot of our beliefs about learning and the process thereof are just mindsets which have been mindlessly accepted to represent the truth. Richey (2019) has mentioned some popular people who practice meditation and mindfulness to learn more about the universe. They are Hugh Jackman, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Oprah Winfrey among others. Though, my favourite personality who frequently talks about mindfulness is Sam Harris- author of five New York Times bestsellers including ‘Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion’. His writings and public talks cover a wide range of topics like neuroscience, meditation, moral philosophy, religion and rationality. He generally focusses on how the rising knowledge of ourselves and the world is altering our sense of how we should lead life.
Based on my definition of learning, the two key factors which account for variations in students’ learning in the secondary context are mindfulness in itself and the other is vision. Not all students in the secondary stage of learning are mindful nor do all of them have a vision. Somethings that can be commonly observed in students who excel throughout their academic life are good behaviour and mindfulness, a vision, not just for themselves but for the whole world, an unquenchable thirst for acquiring more and more knowledge, steadfastness and punctuality. Occasionally, we may find one or more of these attributes missing in students who otherwise excel in their studies, but those are only exceptions. It is also not that students who fail, are average or above average or just “good” in studies cannot perform or do not have the potential to leave footprints in the sands of time. It is just that they have not tapped their potential to the most. Their minds, perhaps, have been occupied elsewhere and of course, we have had so many examples of average students making wonders happen.
According to Isaac Newton Biography (2017), Sir Isaac Newton did not have a good relationship with his mother, who married another man after Newton’s father had died and he was just three years old. Newton was raised by his grandmother for nine years thence, and the frustrations of the separation from his mother, in Newton’s later life, manifested itself in his obsession towards his works and his psychotic behaviour. Nevertheless, we are talking about a person who gave mostly all of Classical physics to the world. Without him, a lot could not even have been possible. Newton was forced to leave school when he was eight years old because his mother wanted him to be a farmer. He did not like farming and failed at, though he self-schooled himself by wandering off into the woods and observing sunrays and how they react to glasses and prisms. This is how he started wondering about nature, and eventually went on to become the greatest scientist world has ever had. The conclusion that can be drawn from all of this is that despite all the odds one faces in life, they should have an interest in that one thing which can fill their minds with pure and magical wonder and fascination. That is the power of interest. With interest comes focus and mindfulness, with mindfulness comes learning and with learning one develops a vision.
Isaac Newton Biography. (2017, April 28). Retrieved August 29, 2020, from Biography website: https://www.biography.com/scientist/isaac-newton
Langer, E. J. (2000). Mindful learning. Current directions in psychological science, 9(6), 220-223. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00099
Richey, B. (2019). Meditation, mindfulness and the famous people who swear by it. [Online]. Retrieved August 29, 2020 from Content + Mindful website : https://contentandmindful.com/meditation-mindfulness-celebs/
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