Today, I had a remarkable expierence. Everybody's life contains special situations, that are created for and by himself in order to learn some principal things. The more evolved that person is, the lesser he has to suffer. Everyone designes his life, the way that his chance of understanding is maximised. The only challenging thing is to reflect and realize certain results of my actions. Eg. I always found my parents treated my younger brother in a too soft way. I had to learn things in a more harsh way. Today I looked at him, and in this very moment I understood that he designed it this way. And I did decided to learn it by harsh methods. - I did read this in FoC before. Perhaps it is not quoted in it, but I 'theoretically' understood it this way. But 'theory' and 'real life' are really two different things. While I had an idea about it sometime before, TODAY I really UNDERSTOOD.
And now my question: Can you really 'accelerate' this process of understanding? I mean I was TODAY ready to comprehend a particular case, which I have read about and thought about LONG before. I always thought it was clear, but it was not until now. Or do some persons learn without a 'real life situation'? Do I need to become more intelligent to learn from thinking only? And do people who prefer not to mix with society learn in a similarly effective way ONLY from thinking, without having the 'solution' in front of their eyes? Hope you did understand me appropriately.
I'm going to read the hungarian version of FoC, perhaps I get more insight by reading it in my native language.
Understanding can only arise as a result of THINKING about things that we perceive and/or imagine.
Perceiving more (this includes seeing examples in front of your eyes, reading other people's explanations, solutions etc...) doesn't really help if you don't put a sufficient conscious effort to process and critically assess the incoming information.
On the other hand - focusing your efforts on THINKING is a step to improve your Understanding.
Note that the development of intellect (the ability to Understand) is strictly an individual effort. The fact that someone somewhere understands something doesn't help you much. YOU need to understand, and you need to develop this understanding all by yourself.
Paying attention to the process of YOUR OWN thinking and understanding is a very good "accelerator" of understanding. Since your thinking is totally private and individual, only YOU can establish what is the best way for YOU to learn.
What works for me is to apply the principle of contrasts. Rather than taking a pride from what I think I understand, I try to establish "what I would REALLY WANT to understand". I think long and hard "WHY would I like to understand this? What would I do NEXT?". Resolving the above questions gives me inspiration to design and undertake "steps" (experiments, observations, study, reading etc...) that enable me to reach my goal. As you know, this strategy helped me to find The Purpose of the Universe and the purpose of my own life in particular.
I found that the most important individual skill to acquire is to "Learn how to Learn". Even if you forget everything and/or find yourself in a totally new environment (out of your body for example) this single skill ALONE will determine how much you will enjoy and benefit from the experience.
So, the next time your mind "clicks" to a new understanding, try to figure out "HOW did it happen? Why didn't it happen yesterday or 10 years earlier? What prevented you from achieving the understanding earlier? Are there any barriers that you create yourself?".
I totally agree with the 'Learn how to Learn' skill. Some people seem to spend their entire lives blindly 'learning' something - but they never reflect on why or HOW they are learning.
I mean, to me, the 'learn how to learn skill' implies that unless one is always ready to improve the way in which one perceives and reacts to things, then he/she will maintain an approach to learning that may not be the best in all situations.
'Learning how to learn' in new situations seems to come automatically, wouldn't you say?
Not at all. Only people who have acquired enough "How to Learn" skill can efficiently cope with totally new situations.
For example, when their car suddenly brakes down in the middle of nowhere - many people panic and feel helpless. Only people with enough "How to Learn" skill will try to learn how the car works and how to fix it, even if they have never done it before. These are usually the same people, who "know a little bit about everything", simply because "I need to know HOW things work" and "I want to figure out HOW to learn this" is their natural attitude.
Ok, but for example, I'm myself about to go overseas for quite some time - now this will present before me many totally new situations which I will have to deal with. Now, it seems to me, given the uncertainty of things to come, positive attitude is all that is needed. I mean, with a positive attitude, one could face any new situation with the same positive approach. Also, you mention that everyone has their own 'natural' attitude. But isn't it true that many people seem to have a natural attitude of negativity? I mean, I don't know about other people, but myself, having experienced considerable negative attitude seems to have been essential for me to be able to think positively.
Just let other people "be" whoever they want to be. Try to "learn by observing".
When people really bother you with their negative and/or "criticize everyone and everything" attitude, you can ask them "Does your negative attitude bring you pleasure? Can't you think about anything constructive?"
Today I am who I am because I keep 'learning how to learn' everyday since I remember. I generally solve problems and reach conclusions by paying attention to how and why I think what I'm thinking. In response to Motz's post, I can personally say that it IS possible to learn from an experience before actually having that experience. I have achieved this mainly by observation and learning how to learn.
As a child I learned by watching people, their actions and responses, then thought about why did they do it and why I didn't. Many of the things I concluded are the things I live by now. One thing that has puzzled me 'forever' is how did I get to have such a mindset?! Where did I learn to like 'learning to learn'? I recently also found that I used to see beyond what people said and found what they really meant. This skill I have developed quite well and I usually find myself finishing other people's thoughts.
Reading people's thoughts (even though they are not well expressed verbally) is called telepathy.