One of the main reasons that people fail at learning something, or growing a new belief is that they do not know how to learn. They are unaware of the conditions that facilitate the process of learning.
For example, when reading a textbook, people can read a page and understand nothing. In fact, they can read the page several times and learn nothing. However, sometimes people can read a page once and fully understand what is written.
Imagine trying to read a textbook in a burning library or after a breakup with your significant other. The thoughts of the burning library or your ex will make it extremely difficult to understand the textbook. The state of mind is the only difference in studying in the burning library and studying in a normal environment.
Learning requires a calm state of mind. High mental activity prevents information from being digested. The calmer the mind, the more likely it is to absorb information. Therefore, instead of rolling the dice and re-studying with the hope of digesting information, make sure that you are in the proper state of mind to study and roll the dice once.
When Dr. K was studying at Harvard Medical School, he would practice Yoga Nidra every morning and study right after. As a result, every study session became a class, a class became review, and review became the second review. He would end up studying for only 2 hours a day compared to the large amount of time spent by his overachieving peers.
The mind is like a pool of water with soil at the bottom. To plant a seed deep into the mind, we need a still and calm mind, so that our thoughts do not stir up and block our knowledge from reaching the bottom.
We think that thoughts come from our mood, desires, experience, and other places. But these answers are incomplete.
Thoughts arise to our conscious mind from our unconscious mind. The process of learning involves having a thought permeate the membeane between the conscious and the unconscious mind, so that when the need arises, it can be recalled in the future.
Therefore, studying is about spending a certain amount of time with a thought so that it has a chance to sink in. In fact, the thoughts that are generated into the conscious mind can sink back into the unconscious mind and reinforce the production of these thoughts.
For example, people that struggle with low self worth often spend a majority of their time thinking thoughts of how they are bad people, which then creates more of the same negative thoughts into their unconscious mind.
People have core beliefs about the world and themselves. However, there is a difference between an idea and a held belief.
For example, logically, people should believe that they should love themselves. But in practice and experience, there are people who do not love themselves.
Life becomes hard when you wake up to thoughts that distract you from what you need to do. It is difficult to wrestle against yourself to put away these thoughts and create new, positive thoughts. If your default mode of thinking was figuring out how to take action, it would make your lives easier.
For example, lazy people often feel discouraged from being productive or feel that it is futile to put in effort. Non-lazy people think that they should always try their best. Therefore, lazy people must recognize something fundamentally different about themselves, which allows them to label themselves as lazy. The fundamental difference is that lazy people have an unconscious mind that produces negative lazy thoughts instead of positive productive ones. Due to this, trying not to be lazy is actually harder and requires more vital willpower for a lazy person than a non-lazy person.
Motivation is the capacity to engage in a behavior intrinsically.
Motivation comes from within i.e. comes from thoughts that come from the mind. The problem is that there is an automaticity with thoughts, and to move to another set of thoughts requires willpower and time.
For example, when dealing with job rejections, the mind automatically goes to "I shouldn't bother" or "I should try again." It takes a lot of effort moving from "I shouldn't bother" to "I should try again".
The goal is to cultivate a mind that helps, motivates and prompts you to do the things you should do, instead of keeping you from doing the things you should do.
Ask yourself, "If you spend the whole day thinking about something, is it likely to sink into your unconscious mind? What do we spend most of our day thinking about?"
What bubbles up for you the most is what you spend the most time thinking about
You can change what you think about and spend more time on those thoughts. This does not mean "LOL just stop thinking negative thoughts and think postive ones." There is a systematic way of doing this. Here are a few ways to cultivate better thoughts:
In our daily functioning, thoughts arise from our subconscious beliefs. Everyone has different subconsciouses and therefore, has different thoughts and complexes. Some thoughts are negative, and some thoughts are positive.
Therefore, after calming the mind with Yoga Nidra, people should use a Sankalpa to change or create beliefs in the subconscious. This is one of the most effective ways to change a belief, or learn something new.
For example, if a person has a belief that their hair looks weird. If they go outside and someone looks at them, they will start thinking that the stranger was staring at their hair. Although casual onlooking is very common and harmless, the person's subconscious looked out into the environments to create thoughts that conform to their core beliefs. As a result, the person's subconscious takes this harmless interaction with a stranger, and creates thoughts of fear and shame.
If you use a Sankalpa (seed of positive change) during meditation, then you will plant positive beliefs in your subconscious. These beliefs will generate positive thoughts. The purpose of this exercise is not to control all thoughts or grow the willpower to stop negative thoughts from coming up. Instead, plant positive thoughts in a calm mind and be changed by them.
A Sankalpa, or vow/commitment to your truth, is a statement of a desire, intention, or resolution that you want to practice and reinforce for a long time (a year and longer). It requires some reflection because it should be unique to yourself and not change over time.
In addition, it is often something that is given by a spiritual teacher or guru rather than something given to yourself.
For example, a trauma patient that Dr. K worked with was given the Sankalpa: "I deserve to be whole" which was effective. Another one that Dr. K says for himself is “I deserve a break”.
There is a high chance that you will feel uncomfortable when you try to change. This is normal — the mind prefers the comfortable to the good. This is one of the reasons people in abusive relationships have a history of abusive relationships
Try to change and notice any discomfort during the change. Look at your mindset when you are struggling and understand how you feel at the moment. Do not look at the end result, look at the process. The process is where you fix the problem.
Moreover, everyone is an individual with specific needs. When you are trying to find what works the best, self-experimention is the most effective way to find the truth. Do not take everything that Dr. K says as gospel and truth. He is giving out options and advice. Only you know what you truly need.
COVID quarantine has made school way harder. The first thing to do is to cut yourself some slack. GPAs are dropping, and depression is 300% worse. Help yourself up instead of kicking yourself while you are down.
The school curriculum is not designed to be delivered over zoom. For example, people go to individual lectures whereas we have resources like Khan Academy which have resources that are better than what most teachers can deliver.
The only way the education system can keep you paying attention for an hour is to keep you in a seat in a room devoid of anything that can interest you. Therefore, you have to literally sit and risk being humiliated if you do anything else. That does not work so well over Zoom.
How to study in quarantine: