The paradigm of punishment is prevalent in spiritual learning, and it’s our time to let the light in.
Our learning process can and should have ease without the use of force. No one can truly learn and absorb through the threat of punishment X yet it’s one of our primary tactics for learning, and most of us were motivated this way as children. Master this, or be left behind.
The fear of punishment is how we learn to lie and act as though we know. Observing children learn, it’s clear that the conditions for genuine learning are simple: curiosity and openness. With no expectations, amazement surfaces. With no threat of punishment, engaged interest arises.
Freedom to reject and question safely are especially vital; this constitutes the process of exploring versus the stale space of memorization and performance.
Learning is a state of Awareness, which is by its nature open, curious and alive. Inviting this openness and curiosity creates the space for true learning in any situation. If our inner classroom carries the threat of punishment, we will revert to memorizing the rules and faking our way through what was meant to be an open-ended experience, not a final examination.
Let’s back off a little bit and stop interrogating and punishing ourselves. Let’s trust the field of “not knowing” in order to learn and take in what’s offered. Let’s listen with the deep involvement that arises when we’re not coerced or threatened. Similar to what we may remember as children with our favourite and most memorable teachers and guides, let’s open our eyes and let the light in. And let’s do that for our students.