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Learning with Awareness

There’s a beautiful dance of the mind that starts with stimulating the senses in some way and ends with taking action. However, we often forget the silent steps of reflection, contemplation and feeling, that gave the dance some meaning.

During these steps, attention dives deep inside and weaves its magic with invisible threads that connect ideas with possibilities, experiences with meaning and dreams with resolve. This is true for all of us but especially for children, as they are less hindered and don’t have as many personal and societal ‘filters’ that often second-guess some of these steps, thinking that ALL action is the same and action is just action.

However, it’s in the gaps between attentive tasks, when the mind is released from the tight grip of immediate matters that unexpected solutions, eureka moments, sudden realisations and moments of clear insight can emerge. our students, euphemistically refer to these moments as ‘Jot-Doining’ (a fun play on dot-jointing – when things finally make sense to us at many levels ).

What Awareness is Not

A quiet moment, when a student starts to ‘gaze away’ from the task at hand, may allow an answer to a problem they have been trying to solve for hours.

We’ve shut the door to a large part of our mental experience, and we have evicted a valued tenant, our own steady source of wisdom, patience, and insight.

In our ignorance, we swamp these rich moments with more noise, mistakenly assuming they were empty and wasted. A brain in a state of forced focus operates very differently to a brain set free. It’s the difference between listening to one instrument, or a whole orchestra. In a busy mind, attention jumps randomly from instrument to instrument, creating a cacophony of noise that holds little pleasure and delivers little reward. It’s only when the busyness subsides, that attention opens widely enough to allow the rest of the orchestra to join in. It’s the synchrony of many parts working in harmony that creates the magic.

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