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October 26, 2005

I don't know

Vijay started the session by saying that he continues to be surprised by the number of choices he has to make in remodeling his house. He said that at the surface level, it looks like there are only x number of choices to make. But the closer one gets to the details, the choices to be made just multiplies.

He then said that one of the things he took away from an Ayurveda workshop he attended was the quote by Michael Kreuzer, �Don�t hurry, don�t worry, stay busy, be happy�. While this looks like simple statement, it actually is a very useful general advice that addresses the predominant weaknesses of the three main body-mind types according to Ayurveda.

I then shared something I have been struggling with for quite some time. Many times, many people have told me that to come from an �I don�t know� space is very powerful. But have noticed that most people who tell this to me go back to the �I know� space minutes after they gave this advice. So to me, it still looks like a concept and I don�t know how to come from the �I don�t know� space.

I then formed a theory about why it could work (if one can implement it): Generally, when we are really ignorant about something and we say that we don�t know, the mind sort of blanks out at that point. In that state, the mind is fully available to take fresh inputs and form fresh ideas. So, deliberately telling ourselves that we don�t know (even if we knew a little bit about a given subject matter), is a way to use the natural response of the mind to blank out and hence bring ourselves to look at things with fresh eyes.

Prasad then said that the �I don�t know� space is less about the content of the subject matter and more about the attitude with which one engages with a subject (or a situation or a person). He said that many times we are afraid to tell to ourselves or others that we don�t know because admitting one�s ignorance or limits is �not ok� for many people.

Prasad then talked about �mediated learning�. He shared his experience of how one of the people he interviewed on the subject �learning� took him to an art museum and helped him �see� the beauty of many paintings for the first time. This kind of learning where another person helps one acquire a new perspective through which new learning takes place is mediated learning.

Vijay said that many times, he lets go of old knowledge only when a new knowledge proves to be more accurate and replaces the old knowledge. In the absence of any new knowledge, he felt that there is no reason to question the validity of what one already knows.

Prasad said that if one wants to apply a new paint to the house, one cannot just apply the new paint over the old one. First one must scrape off the old paint. In fact, he said the maximum time it takes in painting a house in not in the painting but in the preparation for the painting. So, we need to cautious in replacing old knowledge with new one because we may not fully remove the old knowledge and hence the new knowledge would not properly �stick�.

Practice to take: Try to have an �I don�t know� attitude and try to stay with it for at least one situation in the next one month.

Posted by Ragu at October 26, 2005 02:15 PM

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