Value in revisiting sources
Recently, have been re-reading source material and references which have been given on the board over the years, together with the contents of my and others threads in the Gems section. This has been happening because it had to, not planned or thought through, jumping around material as required. It felt right to do.
It has re-inforced a lesson that I keep learning and being reminded of every few years.
Revisit your sources/influences every once in a while and see whats changed.
When we initially come across a post/book/article, we are in a certain state or frame. This causes us to view the material contained within and the connections without through filters, both concious and unconcious. This has the effect of altering how we read the material, how we digest it, how we relate it to our experiences and how it may or may not apply to the reality we see around us, also how open we are to certain parts of the message contained within.
Say, for example, we are starting on a journey to learn something, a martial art. Take us on the day we first venture into a dojo, without any knowledge or learning of the subject. Our view of what we see and hear will be defined by our frame in relation to the subject being learnt, our preconceptions, prior rumours, our lack of knowledge, knowledge we may think we have but dont.
Then imagine us having studied for long enough, having gained our black belt and the knowledge required, the understanding, the experience.. Our view on entering the dojo would be vastly different, the things that grabbed our attention would have changed, our way of viewing them would, our understanding of what was going on would be much altered, our perceptions would have changed or shifted.
Watching others go through the first lesson, as we did that first day, in our later state would cause us to see it very differently, it has to.
We are not the same person we were when we first viewed it. I would wager that the things we thought were important at the start seem less so now and a deeper view of what is going on and being taught would cause us to see things we did not see before and in a different way.
This brings thoughts of the 'Four stages of competence' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence
The four stages are:
The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, they recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.
As we move up the pyramid, passing through the stages, our focus changes, our perception of the tasks changes and our awareness window moves.
Things that were very much front and center in our awareness, focus and thought in the earlier stages are merely afterthoughts in the later ones, having become automatic, proved to yourself and taken as wrote (as quoted above).
So that leaves room for other things to enter our awareness, for us to look deeper, or see around things that were blocking the view previously. This causes us to look at the lessons and demonstrations in a very different way, as time goes on and competence increases.
There is an interesting thing that happens in a dojo, the more advanced students are actively encouraged to help with the less advanced students in their studies. This has the side effect of running through earlier lessons/tasks/teachings, both from a different view and mindset/perception.
The task might be the most basic task there is, there is always more to learn from it. As your understanding and competence increases, so do more levels of details and nuance reveal themselves to you.
Not re-running those earlier tasks would have the effect of removing those lessons from your future curriculum.
Added in to this, explaining something to someone else is a very good way to judge how well you have understood it. as the quote goes 'If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.' - Albert Einstein
Hence teaching can be learning. Some teachers say those who taught them most were their students.
The students and their questions challenge your understanding of the subject and cause you to look from angles you may not have considered before. You can embrace this journey with them, guide them and learn as well.
(As an aside this is why modern education in a lot of countries now actively discourage this)
I say this, because texts can be a substitute teacher and are used as such. There is a dance to be done though, just as with a conventional teacher. Some lessons will only expose themselves to you after a certain level of understanding of the foundation principles, until then they will seem like a different lesson.
Teachers Link - viewtopic.php?p=949#p949
This is the source of Kaizen - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaizen
Together with the Japanese addages about focusing entirely on the task, being part of it, being at once with it. Brushing the floor, has lessons to teach, no matter how many years you have been doing it, if you are present while doing it.
So, why in some areas, do we revisit and re-do lessons and texts and yet in others we do not.
I see ebooks and online reading as a negative here, I still maintain a bookshelf or ten, more recently a big store of ebooks in library form.
Books/Ebooks/Articles/Posts that have hit home with you, had an influence on you, opened your eyes to something, caused you to think about something and mattered to you at the time you read them should be safely stored on your bookshelf, virtual or real.
NOT a link, the link will not be there in a few years.. Links are not permanent.
Save it somewhere safe.
Are you going to glean everything you can from that in one read in one frame of mind. Nope.
I say, read it, note it had an effect on you and put it on your bookshelf. If it had no effect, nothing new to add, no connection then do not put it on the bookshelf.
In this regard, I have a 'to read' shelf, ones that are still under probation, then the archive. If it is in the archive, it seemed relevant at some time, in order to get in there.
There will be times in the future you find yourself thinking again about things, maybe remembering something you read that seemed relevant. Go look at the bookshelf and see which title and which memories of that title grab you, when they do, pick it up again and have a read.
While you are reading, compare how you see the text and message now to the last time you read it, which bits are jumping out now that did not before, which bits seem to have faded into the background, which bits you totally didnt get before and seem clear now and which bits seemed to make sense last time but do not now.
You are lettting the text show you how you and your perceptions have changed since the last time you read that material. You are also giving the text the chance to reveal more of its message to you, if there is more.
It also allows you a chance to re-evaluate this text in relation to everything you have experienced since the last time you read it.
The same applies to everything you consume text, documentaries, film, music.
There may come a time you want to remove something from the bookshelf, if so, do so. It is your bookshelf.
At some point in the future, pick it up again and read it again. ad infinitum.