Unlearning to Learn
This week I participated in an online Neuroscience summit. It is so exciting to see from another perspective how the body and mind tie together. In exploring this line of thought, I pulled out the book by Norman Doidge, MD “The Brain that Changes Itself”. Right away I was able to see, to understand something I missed the first read through. Norman writes, “Unlearning is essential when we are moving from one developmental stage to the next.” He elaborates on this thought through stages and changes in a person’s life and relationships.
It can also be applied to learning anything. We have to let go or unlearn our assumptions about what we are capable of before we will even attempt.
For example, I often hear, I can’t do yoga, I am not flexible enough, my mind is too busy, or to students who come but think they can only do so much, my body will not do that. In order to move forward we have to unlearn those thoughts, we have to let go of them. We have to make a space in our mind first, one by one addressing the thoughts that hold us back in anything.
Even as an experience yoga practitioner, I am faced daily with looking at what I am doing, in my body and my students bodies, what is working, what is not, what action creates space, what action closes us off. As soon as I think I have a pose, it changes, there is something new to learn and I have to back up to learn it. If I am unwilling to back up, to unlearn and to let go of what I think I know, I get stuck, stagnate, start feeling drained. Warning signs!
So, it seems to me there is practical application to that simple thought, “unlearning to learn”. Where do I feel stuck, disappointed? What thought am I holding on? What do I need to unlearn? The only way to find those answers is to look within, to be in the present, push out on your edges a little bit, try something new or even just consider a new idea and watch how the mind responds. If we care to look it will tell us what we need to let go of, where our area of growth is. Once we can see it, we can begin to let go, one thought at time, one muscle at time and one breath a time.
Be open to transformation, to a new Life!