Emotional Education: A New Paradigm
Emotions are an intimate part of our life and the bricks from which we build the activity of our Soul.
The silent, mysterious presence of emotions in our daily existence causes them to be ignored or sometimes even denied their right to be a part of our daily existence even though thoughts get so much attention yet have the same immaterial nature.
The importance of emotions in all the domains of our life is underlined today by studies that reveal the mechanisms of the mind. Even if we deny the existence of our emotions by placing them at the periphery of our awareness and understanding, they play a very important role in our life and in the functioning of our mind, making the difference between a robotic mind and an intuitive and spontaneous mind (according to the level of understanding about the way emotions function).
In most educational systems today, the emphasis is placed on logic and memory, the two components of the “robotic self”, the main constituents of our auto-pilot. This kind of education weakens the activity of the soul and cuts us off from the reality of our emotions. Even in situations when students are encouraged to discover and train the intuitive part of their mind, the emotional part is little if at all studied and understood.
An important observation we can easily make is that most of the decisions we take in life are determined (dictated) by our emotions in that moment and not by our logic or previously accumulated experiences!!! This amazing statement shows the paramount importance of emotional education and control since this largely influences our future decisions, therefore our future in general.
It is an increasingly known fact that our memory is working in an emotional way. Science is now confirming what spirituality has stated for thousands of years: “what you love is what you sooner or later become”. In this statement we recognize the formative power of one of the strongest emotion generators that we have in our life: LOVE. We don’t become what we consider correct, we don’t become what we consider right or wrong, we don’t become what we admit we should become. We become what we LOVE, what we emotionally seek through love. The mind only makes associations between the notions that are associated with the corresponding emotions.
The Structure of Memory and The Power of Emotional Memory
Recent studies have shown that the quality of our emotions influences the capacity to memorize. An act that was supported by strong emotions will have a strong imprint in our memory and will be more easily accessible than an act that does not trigger any emotion in us. In the process of learning we frequently use this mechanism, but it is done more or less unconsciously. Our mind associates emotions with the information that is projected on the inner screen of our mind. In this way, the associative power of the mind works to create memories and to establish a kind of connection between the emotions that happen at the time of the actions or activities.
Through the intense “training” of the associative power of our mind that we go through today, we obtain an almost instantaneous process of association – the connection between an action and the emotion that is predominant in our inner medium at the time we perform that action. In this way the memories that are created depend NOT ON THE QUALITY OF INFORMATION THAT WE GET BUT ON THE EMOTION THAT TAKES PLACE AT THE TIME OF RECEIVING THE INFORMATION (in this category we consider also the actions that we perform).
We Can Remember Things Better If Those Memories Are Formed at a Time When There Is a Strong Emotional Impact: Emotional-Memory Formation The complete mechanism of emotional memory can be easily synthesized in the following way: the information we acquire through the work of the five senses generates emotions; in their turn the emotions that we have create a genuine filter (made of resonance) for the future information that we will acquire (we like or dislike the information that is about to come according to the previous emotions associated to that category of information/lesson). In this way the content that is memorized is the result of this double interaction between the information and emotions.
We have to notice here that the memories that we have are defined from at least three perspectives by the double interaction mentioned above:
Strength of the recording. This is defining the remembrance over time of these recordings: the stronger the recording (through the emotions associated with it) the longer it will last over time.
Content. This defines the specific resonances that the content of the memory record has.
Accessibility. This defines the ease with which one can have access to that recording and use it in future constructions as the mean of basic experiences.
To make a complete analogy about the relationship between the mind and the emotions we can say that:
The mind is the librarian that is taking care of a large library.
The emotions are the content of all the books that are in that library. The librarian is not the author of the books but is rather keeping them in good order, thus making their content accessible in our daily life. The intense cultivation of the activity of the librarian makes the library develop the way the books are arranged on the shelves and the different systems of access to the information.
Yet we should not forget that having good mental schemes only makes the arrangement of the books better, BUT IT WILL NOT CHANGE THE CONTENT OF THE BOOKS. We often ignore this aspect and we train only the librarian. This is why we experience richness in mental schemes, but poverty in the experiences that “populate” our mental schemes. The library neatly organized, but contains only a few books. Furthermore, we repeatedly read the same books and every time we want something more we only try to rearrange the books on the shelves in another way. Therefore, even from this perspective, emphasizing only on the use of memory to accumulate information without taking care of the emotional background of the teaching process will become a highly inefficient process.
The Impact of the Emotional Background in the Teaching and Learning Process
While we are delivering some important information we should make sure that the emotions that are associated with that information are fitting the same area of interest and that they are strong. Otherwise, if students are emotionally charged by their home problems, their love dramas, by all kind of emotions from their daily existence, some things will occur as a consequence of the above explained mechanisms:
1. Their emotions will link the information we give to the lower domains of life that correspond to the emotions that are associated with them in the moment of teaching. In this way, mathematics will be associated with the material life since always in the maths class the students are having emotions about their material concerns. They will tend to see the materialistic application of mathematics and will ignore the spiritual meaning of its theory. Thus, the way the student will use the information that we teach will be established by the quality of the emotions that are associated with that information. That means a completely different PEDAGOGICAL APPROACH.
2. Some of the important information they received will be lost because it was not associated with any of the emotions. WHEN THE EMOTIONS DO NOT FIND ANY WAY TO ASSOCIATE WITH THE INFORMATION WE TEACH THEN THE TEACHING IS LOST. This is the reason why in many cases the teaching process is at the hand of the emotional skills of the teacher. The way the teacher manages to trigger strong emotions in the students while teaching gives the teaching process more or less efficiency. Yet the emotional work is not always related to the action of teaching and this is what emotional education also means: to educate with the background of the proper emotions. Today, some schools are trying to create an intuitive-emotional environment in order for the students to learn faster… but they are now putting any emotion in contact with any information, misleading the education in this way.
If a student gets great results while playing and learning physics he will only look at this domain as a joke and will not apply this knowledge for any other matter than entertainment. He will be able to make all kinds of devices for fun but never use that knowledge for saving lives, for instance. Until now, schools like Steiner, Waldorf and others are only experimenting with the first (and the most simple) part of the equation. Therefore, we have either big gaps in the educational process or we pour the teaching into a distorted and chaotic matrix from where only little can be later used. In order to make it right, we need to create a complete and coherent environment for the educational process where the continuity of the emotions and their compatibility with the teachings will make the result of the education very effective. This force idea will lead to the need for the profound knowledge that the chakra system is offering in order to know what emotions correspond to what kind of human domain of existence and, moreover, to understand the methods for creating the proper emotionally nutritive environment for each kind of teaching. THIS IS ANOTHER COMPONENT OF THE EMOTIONAL EDUCATION THAT IS MEETING WITH THE SPIRITUALITY OFFERED BY THE ANCIENT SPIRITUAL SYSTEMS.
3. The teacher’s emotions are the background of the teaching process in the beginning of it and yet, these emotions are not always strongly pointing in the direction of the teaching. The so-called “professional attitude” causes most teachers to be disconnected from their real emotions while teaching. Therefore, the teaching becomes inefficient and sometimes, in an indirect way, misguided. On the other hand, bringing their real emotions into the class will make a big mess with the teachings because the students will resonate with and associate those emotions (which have little to do with the teachings) with the main body of teachings. This implies that the teachers have to be very well trained in the control of emotions and this would take a shift in the paradigm that we have today about controlling emotions. From controlling by force we need to move to controlling by resonance and attention.. in practical terms, to learn what we are doing as YOGA in our spiritual school. Without this, the teaching –even integrating all the other ideas – will still remain inefficient.
Today, the emotional background of the schooling time of the students is at the level of the natural development of the student in his interaction with the environment. And since the environment is suppressing the emotional manifestations, most teenagers grow emotionally retarded with severe consequences on the learning process. Young children chaotically associate the notions they learn at school with the emotions they experience in their family or with their colleagues, with the adventures they have in the constant attempt to discover the world. From this blend of emotions, half suppressed and half uncontrolled we build the content of our future “library”. Then, no matter how smart we might become, we cannot pass a certain level of consciousness because we have a poor library of life experiences that are available to us. What we ignore is the fact that in this way most of the knowledge we learn in the school is structured around chaotic emotions that are not making the things move better, on the contrary it is removing a lot of information from being efficiently accessible in our daily existence.
From all said until now, a clear need to start developing a coherent system of emotional education becomes evident. Even the very notion of emotional education will be enriched with a new meaning from this perspective. It is not only for the sake of our future generations, but for the sake of the human civilization itself and represents the next stage in its existence. We have to consider here some of the problems that occur now when we try to talk and develop an emotional education system. In the following points, some of these problems will be explored in order to make them easier to deal with in the future. Through this, also the direction of possible solutions is suggested.
1. Emotional education also implies emotional transformation. In emotional education one has to be an example, and not only a teacher. The empathic/intuitive capacities of the students will constantly expose the real emotions of the teachers. This raises the problem of the number of people that are really qualified to teach emotional education since it will involve, more than having the right knowledge, the practice of methods that will lead to the deep transformation/clarification at the emotional level of the teachers. This issue is facing the often subconscious negative attitude we have towards transformation. Trying to keep ourselves untouched by transformation and only teaching others how to do it will not work at all. This is in fact one of the greatest problems today in the field of education.
2. Emotional education is not only a process of transmitting information about emotions but a process of education that involves emotions as a method! We have to create the adequate emotional environment for the teaching to take place in a correct way. Emotional education means to transmit the right teachings in the right emotional environment. This is a completely different paradigm that one has to consider. In emotional education we have to consider the way emotions are getting associated with information to form the understanding of the student and their future life decisions. For this reason, we cannot be indifferent to what we teach and how. It also raises the problem of the methods that allow the students to create the right emotional background for the class they are about to enter.
3. Emotional education implies transformation of the students. The reactions we have towards emotions causes us to reject and even suppress emotions in most cases. What we consider to be emotions today are only the superficial experiences that we have when the deep emotions surface the conscious mind. For this reason, an emotional education will require IMMENSE COURAGE AND A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS LIFE AND ITS GOALS. As long as we consider life as an occasion to feel good, we are rejecting at least half of its lessons. The whole paradigm of life will undergo transformation when we introduce emotional education. The students that will be in such a school will face a lot of impact from the outer environment and therefore this process has to become a global concern and be introduced at all the levels of the human society and not only in schools. The emotional retardation we have today is a result of many hundreds of years of involution and the road back to an emotional education will have to be gradual as well. Being a conscious process, the speed might be higher but still it will be the same.
4. Emotional education dissolves all the patterns of manipulation. Those who are emotionally educated will be able to immediately disclose the manipulation and the entire social setup that is keeping people in ignorance using their own undeveloped emotions against themselves. This is also one of the reasons why this emotional education will face heavy resistance from the side of any form of FORMAL POWER THAT EXISTS ON EARTH. Emotional education will practically make the development of formal systems impossible and, therefore, all the political, economical, and social systems that are based on formality will suffer severe transformations. Even languages will move to a new era that will give back to a language its initial naturalness that will reflect emotions instead of hiding them.
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