Deeply satisfying learning

I'm currently writing an immersive workshop on "deeply satisfying relating". All those ideas apply to learning as well. I mentioned a few of the concepts last week in Learning is nothing. Here are a few more.

When we think what we learned is a thing, we have a lot to lose. We are devastated when we forget it, cannot apply it or discover we got it wrong in the first place. If we get acclimated to these losses, we start thinking like a loser. We're convinced by our own experience that we cannot succeed or get satisfaction in our adversarial world of learning. We unconsciously learn to lose at learning every time.

When we think what we're learning is a process, we have a lot to discover. We are fascinated when we don't know something. We're empowered when there is more to reflect upon to get to the point where the learning is applicable. We are free to let go of past incidents because our experience of learning is continually growing and changing. We succeed at creating satisfaction in a friendly and abundant world of learning.

When we've made a thing of learning, we identify with the few knowledge objects we've acquired. We are passive consumers who think we are getting satisfaction out of those things we've accumulated. Someone is smarter than us when they know more things and have more to show off. We chase after more things, as if this will lead to more satisfaction, even though we know in our hearts that it does not.
When we relate to learning as a continual process, we identify with experiencing whatever happens. We are clear of fear and free to flow with what comes along. We have no attachment to particular incidents, outcomes or identities in the unfolding flux. We are functioning like the instructor that minh described last week:
The 76 year old Chinese man who makes his knowledge & skills of Tai Chi freely available to anyone who turns up in the park on Sunday morning keeps saying -"is not hard, do nothing."
When we are free to enjoy any and everything, learning is deeply satisfying. The satisfaction arises from within rather than appearing to come from things. We relate to the experience by giving it our frame of reference, pattern recognizing and context of finding it valuable.


  1. Steve Roesler12/11/2007 5:47 PM

    Hi, Tom,

    I become "re-surprised" when I see a fine article on how to view learning.

    It's important to be reminded that not everyone approaches learning as an ongoing, exciting activity that leads to more learning.

    Now I have to go find that Tai Chi guy this weekend...

  2. "Resurprising" -- what a great concept for approaching life with fascination, wonder and delight!

    Thanks Steve!

  3. Falling behind here a bit - But it's the object/process dichotomy that'll tug at me every time. (Oh I've been twittering & have just realised I can use more than 140 characters here:)

    Objects - one of the most perturbing responses of the educational bureaucracy to the 'threat' of technology was investment in the production of Learning >Objects< by 'experts'. In Australia hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent creating a RESPOSITORY of objects.

    Someone should have said to them - "is not hard DO NOTHING :)

    The money - resource- could have flowed out across the learning terrain. OOps idealism alert :)


  4. Thanks for this!
    There's a combination of objects and process that transcends the idealism you've expressed. When the objects are within (intrinsic, intangible) like objects of fascination, desire and attention, we are in a position to follow the process that spawns. Our efforts are effortless because the connection is so present between objects within and process in world.

    We derail this wonderful combination of object and process with misplaced concreteness, making a thing of nothing, worshiping false idols (extrinsic, tangibles). We then forsake our process in the world and dismiss our objects of fascination within. There is no felt connection, thus effort is effortful, struggle, against the natural stream of well being. It's hard because we are doing something.

    Perhaps we need repositories of learning processes (games, adventures,scenarios, play spaces) that connect with objects of fascination within each learner :-)

  5. Hi Tom :)
    Such a thoughtFULL blog.

    Perhaps we just need to connect. The processes will be emergent properties arising from connection.

    Chaos theory speaks of sensitivity to initial conditions so we could undertake the practice proper approach & engagement.

    We have the respository & it's an anti-respository because it is distributed. We call it the web.