Fri, 30 Apr 1999 11:38:44 -0600

The basic principles of advanced education have been around for thousands of years. They simply haven't been widely practiced. The ideas I have developed for the type of education I pursue have come from years of thinking, reading and experimenting. In the end, though, the ideas that I have come up with and verified for myself are basically the same ideas that many people, throughout human history have independently developed.

My approach to living and making choices which are good for my overall situation is basically the same as that which Zen practitioners use. The basic idea is that every moment of experience contains an incredible amount of information, all of which is relevant, to some degree, to the choices we make. The goal is to learn how to be more aware of as much of that information as possible and develop a decision making process that considers as much of that information as possible and makes good decisions, based on that information.

My experience with this has been quite successful. I have worked for several years to make my experience of each moment more vivid and detailed. I have learned to make every moment of my conscious experience very rich and vivid, and every experience contains many lessons and thoughts, whereas before, I pretty much ignored most of my experience and missed out on all the lessons it had to offer.

Making decisions based on the incredible amount of information in each moment is difficult to explain how to do, but generally, I just pay intense attention to everything I can, and certain actions just "feel" most appropriate and are carried out fairly automatically. Basically, one must start with one's current decision making "algorithms", and allow them to evolve as one learns to be aware of increasingly more information from the experiences of each moment.

The whole process reminds me a lot of the skills involved in moving quickly through a crowd of people without shoving people out of the way. Everyone is moving around and spaces between people are opening up and closing. How do you decide which actions to make and which direction to go? Obviously, you can't plan your route ahead of time; you have to be alert to each moment and where everyone is. Decisions must be made every small fraction of a second. But the nice thing about the human brain is that it's very good at tasks like this.

Unfortunately, the educational system most of us were raised with put us in situations where those sorts of practical decision making skills were not allowed to develop for hours each day as we were forced to sit still in our desks and listen to the teacher drone on endlessly about basically trivial things.

There are a lot of activities I have found quite helpful in developing more advanced observation and decision-making skills, and I will present them in other posts soon, but I felt it was important to explain the basic principles behind the activities first.

There are many books out about Zen and Mindfulness Meditation which I have found helpful in developing satisfying living strategies. I encourage those interested to seek them out and read them.

This moment is the moment of learning and the moment of choice; it is the most important moment you have. The care and attention you give to this moment is a gift to yourself; a gift of learning and the gift of a good choice.

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