Monday, March 6, 2017

ASPECTS OF STUDY, Yogeshwar Muni

What I am going to give you here is the important data that you need to know in order to do an excellent job of studying any subject.

First of all, I make a distinction between studying something and doing research.  Research is looking directly into the nature of something by the most direct means of perception and communication that you can manage.  If you are going to research Maple trees then you would find a Maple tree yourself and deal with it directly, looking into the nature of what it is, how it grows, how it behaves and so on.  Study is a different activity.  Study is the activity of learning the information about Maple trees that someone else has researched and organized for you; then you are studying as opposed to doing research.

Through the study of material that has been researched already you can make tremendous use of the inherited knowledge of the last ten thousand years of recorded history.  This information is valuable.  It is also very important, of course, that you do your own research work and checking and investigation; but here is also a tremendous fund of data that has been gathered through the last ten thousand years which is at your fingertips if you know how to study.

When you are studying, that which you are studying is data.  Data is a plural word, the singular of which is datum.  A datum is not a first hand experiencing of something.  A datum is second-hand.  When you are looking at a photograph of a volcano in a textbook on geology, and beside the photograph is a diagram of the volcano's structure inside and out, what you are looking at is data because neither the photograph nor the diagram is the actual volcano.  One is a photograph of it and the other a drawing of its structure and how it works.  Neither one is the original but a representation of the original, and this is what makes each of them a datum.

If you have a collection of datums then you have data.  Data is different than knowledge.  If all you have is a collection of representations:  pictures, diagrams, words, even a motion picture or television recording of a volcano erupting, all of this would be data.  Even the word "volcano" is a datum.  It represents the thing itself.  But if you take this data and put it in order, into some sort of pattern that is structured about the data itself, then you have knowledge.  For example, if you take a collection of photographs of a volcano erupting and you put them into a time sequence showing the volcano at rest and then erupting, and then continuing to erupt, and then flowing lava out down the sides and finally subsiding, now you have some knowledge.  When you order the data in some way you have knowledge.  And there are many ways to order data.  One way is to put the most important thing first and the next most important thing second and third most important thing third, and so on.

You could order a collection of data that way and this makes it into knowledge.  Or you could set up the order of the data in a sequence of what must be understood first and what must be understood second, and so on.  This is a common way of ordering data.  It would be difficult,for example, to gain any knowledge of algebra without first learning mathematics.  But if you were to take a textbook on algebra and cut that book up into each separate little word and throw it all into a box, you would not have any knowledge, you would have a bunch of data.  So there is great value to ordering data and you should appreciate the work that has been done by others in this regard.  In this course you will gain the ability to order data yourself.

Now suppose you have a textbook on Algebra sitting on the kitchen table.  The textbook, being ordered data, is knowledge.  But suppose you have never opened the book.  It sits there for a hundred years and you live and die and there is still all that knowledge over there on the table.  The knowledge itself is not useful unless used.  It is not useful unless studied and this takes us into the subject of what study itself actually is.

First, there are degrees to which you can study something.  Suppose you take the Algebra textbook and flip through, looking at a few formulae and equations, and close the book back up.  From this you will have a little bit of an idea of what Algebra is but not very much.  You could also pick up the book and read it all the way through but not really understand it, and on the basis of that reading pick up a few ideas and a few phrases with which to impress people and have them think you know a lot about Algebra.  This is the approach of the diletante, the person who just looks into the subject to pick up enough of the key words and to make an impressive appearance in social conversations.  All such people do is collect data; they never actually gain the knowledge or practice the information that is being offered to them, and therefore they never really become very useful with regard to it.

What we are aiming for in this course is not diletantism but mastery.  Mastery of the knowledge that is contained in the Energy Mastery Course, the knowledge of life.  Mastery is this:  it is a state of being wherein the individual has sufficient facility with a datum that he does not need to refer to any source to successfully apply that datum.  When this is a fact, then you have mastered that datum.  You are not a diletante, you are a master, of that datum.  In other words, there is a state which an individual can be in with regard to a datum in which he can apply that datum in his life wherever and whenever it needs to be applied, without any reference to any other source such as a book, a teacher, a technique, or even a thought process.  He can just come right out with his application, from himself.  He is the source.  He does not have to be careful or precise about it, he just comes right out with it from himself because he has this datum studied so well.  He's got it down.  He is completely familiar with it, he knows it inside out and he knows all the examples.  Moreover, a master is in a state wherein having any knowledge on the subject becomes unimportant.  In fact, the datum ceases to be a subject of study; it just becomes a direct conscious quality of the individual.

For example, if you know the five steps of study and have studied them so well that you have mastery of them, then you would not ever have to refer to them again, you would just apply them smoothly and beautifully and successfully to any subject you choose to study.  You would be a master of study, a master scholar, a scholar so good that you could perform, you could demonstrate your knowledge.  In the same way, a master engineer can not only design a bridge that works but he can bring it into existence, without referring to any other source.  If you have ever watched a master do something, you know that he does not have to keep referring to information all the time or outside sources in order to do it.  He does not think, "Well, now, let's see here, how do I go about this?"  He just does.  That's mastery.

Now let's put this all together.  Studying is the action of communicating ordered data (which is knowledge) from the source of the data to a student, so that the student is in a state of consciousness wherein he does not need to refer to any source to successfully apply that data (which is mastery).  Studying, therefore, is an action.  It is an action of transferring ordered data - that is, knowledge - from the source of the data, whether it be a book, or a tape recording, or a film, or whatever it is, to the student, so that the student ends up in a state of mastery.  That is study.  If that does not occur, you have not been studying.  You have been doing pretend, fill in time, socializing; you have been doing improving your relationships or get the degree, but you have not been doing study if you have not ended up in a state of mastery.  Remember, study is an action, a transferring, so when you are studying there must be a transfer from the source of the data to you as a student, so well that you do not need the source any more to apply it successfully.  Beautiful!  The process of study contained in these lessons on study are so designed, and you are so advised, that if you follow them you will end up there.  That is what study is all about.

Once in a while you will come up against a datum that is so removed in its representation from the original thing which it represents that the datum is not clear.  So you have to first define the datum, which is the representation.  Here is an example.  Suppose we use the word "mesa."  Now to a person who does not speak Spanish, who only speaks English, "mesa" is a datum that stands for an original something but it is so removed that it has to be defined.  The definition of "mesa" in English would be "table."  Now, once he has the definition, "mesa" is very easy.  He can begin to study "mesa" because to him it is now a useful representation.

When you are studying, if you come across a datum which you do not see what it represents, clearly and fully, get a definition for it, before you go on.  This is the key datum here on this particular subject:  if the datum is so removed from what it represents, from the original, that the representation is not clear, get a definition for that datum.  Now there are several types of definitions.  One type is a statement of characteristics.  That is a descriptive definition.  You say, "It's black, it's two feet long, it weighs 28 pounds, it's 10 inches high, it goes around and around in some parts of it, the rest is square, and it costs $250."  I am describing the characteristics of a reel-to-reel tape recorder, but that did not give you a very good definition.  So you see, sometimes a descriptive definition is useful and sometimes it is not.  Here is perhaps a more useful descriptive definition:  there is light coming out of it, it's round, it has a screw base on it, it's made out of glass and has a wire filament inside of it.  This is a more useful definition.  It gives you a pretty good idea of what this thing is.  So when you are making statements about the characteristics of something, you are giving a descriptive definition.

Now, if you just gave descriptive definitions of things, you would be very limited, so you need other types of definitions.  Here is another:  a statement of the differences and similarities of something with respect to something else is a relationship definition.  In other words, a relationship definition would be to say, "This tape recorder costs $250 and that one costs $150.  This tape recorder works very well and that one doesn't work so well.  This one weighs more than that one."  You talk about the relationship, particularly the differences, so that what you are defining becomes itself rather than being connected with other things.  It is often less useful to give similarities.  To say, "Well, she's very much like her mother," seems like a useful definition but it is not because it sticks things together, and when you stick things together then they tend to become undifferentiated.  To define something you have to state its limitations.  To "de-fine" something means basically to separate it out.  To differentiate is very important and relationship definitions are valuable for this.  They point out the similarities and differences of something with respect to something else.

Another type of definition is an intention definition.  An intention definition is a statement of purpose of something.  It is also quite useful.  You say what its purpose is:  "The purpose of a tape recorder is to record sound magnetically so that it can be reproduced."  Or, "The purpose of an automobile is to transport bodies from one location to another."  That kind of a definition tells you quite a bit.  Or you could say, "One purpose of a body is to act as an instrument with which to express yourself."  This does not tell you how big it is and how old it is or how much it weighs, which would be a descriptive definition, but it would tell you its purpose; it tells you the goal, the intention.  This also is a useful kind of definition.

The last definition is, in the final analysis, the most valuable, and you do not really have something fully defined unless you have this kind of definition.  But if you have this one, along with others, you have really got what it is you are defining surrounded.  It is a derivative definition.  A statement of the creation of something is a derivative definition.  A statement of the creation of something is how it is created and who can create it, but you are not describing what has been created.  If you had a complete statement of how to create an automobile, you could actually build an automobile.  So, a derivative definition is a statement by which you can create what it is you are defining.  And if you have something defined with a descriptive definition, a relationship definition, an intention definition, and a derivative definition, you would have that thing surrounded and defined completely, inside and out.

Another aspect of study which is important is that when you treat something as datum which is not a representation of something, you will end up with an arbitrary.  For example, there is a statement by some Buddhists that the moment Buddha was born he took three steps to the north, three steps to the east, turned around twice and said, "This is the last time I'm going to be born."  That is a statement of fact in certain sects of Buddhism and it may or may not be a representation of an original happening.  If that did not in fact occur then the representation is representing something which is not so, and you have introduced an arbitrary into the subject.  If that event did occur as represented, then you have a datum.  One way to deal with this situation in which you do not know, is to mark the representation as an assumption so you can go ahead with your study without adding an arbitrary.  You can make something a presupposition, but this is different from a datum.

One final aspect of study:  look for the ordering factor in any subject, the main principle, the thing that relates all the data in a subject together.  You find that, for example, in the study of electronics there is one main thing you need to know and - that is the nature of an electron.  If you know what that is, everything else is simple and makes sense.  If you want to understand Enlightenment Intensives you have to first understand the Enlightenment Technique.  The whole Enlightenment Intensive is built around the Enlightenment Technique.  So when you study a subject, look for the key element which connects the whole subject.  Once you grasp that, everything else falls into places as you study.

Now you have been armed with the five steps of study and these aspects of study, and with a knowledge of the pitfalls of study.  With these tools you can go forth into any subject and master it.

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