School has taught us that we understand by putting effort into learning. Consequently, an idea that developed is that we start with some facts or truths and add more knowledge to it, and use that to grow our understanding. This is a great approach to learning knowledge that can be transmitted through language.
But that approach does not apply to all the ways we have that enable our learning.
When toddlers learn to walk, they apply a trial-and-error approach. One that leads them quite far. The same is true when we learn to ride a bicycle. It’s a learning that is triggered but something we’ve seen others do and that we want to either copy or transform in some way. One can imagine it as either wanting to walk like adults do or, once that is achieved, to walk where no one else has walked yet.
It’s learning that is based on what is known as well as limited by what is known.
But in such physical learning, there is also a more subtle learning that we may not make ourselves aware of. It’s the ongoing learning the body does. It takes the information available through the senses and organizes them. Until, one day, it makes click and one can walk or use the bicycle.
It is a marvelous and astonishing learning moment.
The moment when things click is like waking up to the senses.
But it cannot be forced.
And often this moment passes by unnoticed, buried in all the effort one has made to get there.
At the core of walking or cycling is balance, an element we can only find. And a state we’ll seek to find once we have been thrown off balance.
The only way to regain one’s balance is by letting oneself wake up to being thrown off balance and letting one’s body reorganize itself.
Our brain is better at it than we.
But we fear being thrown out of balance, and thus we develop methods to avoid it.
The drawback of such methods is that they are based on our interpretation that being thrown off balance is a danger. It makes it harder for us to wake up to those moments in which it makes click.
Instead of staying present to our senses and the moment, we stay with whatever is known. We focus on staying in control and staying with what we know. It allows us to avoid what isn’t known. It could throw us off balance.