Approaches to Learning . . .

Learning is a choice . . . a decision to move around the wheel of life in the direction of Wisdom . . . a life so lived has great value. It was understood that our greatest gift on Our Great Return is the accumulation of all that was learned over a lifetime. The following passage from The Walking People emphasizes the importance of our choice, to learn.


Whatever the circumstance . . .

Whatever the event . . .

When you stand and walk

you take one thing . . .

and one thing only . . . with you.

You carry with you always and each day,

every time you stand,

all . . . that you have learned.

Everything was centered on learning. It was sacred because it was necessary for the survival of the People. Paula Underwood shared from her Tradition the effective approaches to life and learning in the many workshops that she conducted throughout the country and abroad. These “tools” were devised and used to engender thought, to provoke questions and discussion, and to create mind images that would assist in sustainable decision-making and the gathering of personal wisdom. Some of these approaches are included here as an introduction to the learning way and to help those with “New Eyes” to understand the language that will be heard at workshops and gatherings. They are a gift to all . . . consider each from your own perspective and explore what may be possible.

Mind, Body, Spirit . . . Open your mind to take in new experiences, to learn, to grow . . . not so far that you merely reflect the opinions of others . . . not so little that no other perspectives are considered. This idea was illustrated in workshops with Paula’s two hands held at an angle with palms together. One represented body and the other spirit. Mind was understood as the way body and spirit would talk to one another. “If you open these hands just a little, we say you are narrow minded,” she would add. “If you open them a lot we say you are broad-minded. If you open them very wide, you reflect everything back.” This demonstration was a gentle reminder that whatever you have most recently learned is not necessarily “The Answer.” There are only many ways of being and various ones work in various ways at various times. A balance of mind, body, and spirit is best.

Enablers of learning . . . There is no word for “teacher” in Paula’s Tradition. It is understood that those who have gained wisdom through life-long experience are honored for their “Old Eyes Wisdom”, and, as such, enable the learning of others. It is further understood that learning is never a mandate, it is always an invitation to learn, for “true learning comes from the inside out, not the outside in” . . . may we enable such learning.

The Chicken Scratch Path . . . “you become what you do.” Life is a series of micro-decisions, each taking us in a specific direction, a series of “yes” decisions, a series of “no” decisions. When you choose a goal for yourself, you begin a process of moving in the direction of your desired outcome. Your goal may be way over to the left and you are way over to the right. You must make all those “yes” decisions to arrive at your goal, one at a time, no short cuts. Every micro-decision you make, creates the person you will then become, the person who will make all of your decisions from then on. One should always ask when making a decision, no matter how great, no matter how small, do I want to become such a person who would make a decision like that? . . . “You become what you do.”

The Rule of Six . . . this was devised to prevent us from jumping at the first possible solution to a problem, or explanation for any given phenomenon.

For each apparent phenomenon devise at least six plausible explanations, each of which indeed explains the phenomenon. There are probably sixty, but if you devise six, this will sensitize you to how many there may yet be and prevent you from focusing in on the first thing that “sounds right” as the truth.

Now you assign a personal probability factor to each explanation based on your personal experience. This personal probability factor can never be 100% - and never, never 0%.

You see how it is? How all conclusions are wisely tentative, as new information may come in at any moment. Yet, whenever a decision is necessary, you can instantly and clearly select between your top three probabilities.

This thoughtful process enables sustainable decision-making.

3 X in 3 ways . . . Always state your opinion three times, in three different ways. Once for each ear, once for the heart, always checking for understanding.

We can apply this to any given situation whether in a personal relationship, in peace negotiations, or in a classroom . . . the possibilities are limitless. The goal is to foster clear, concise communication, understanding, and learning.

It is further understood that “once for each ear, once for the heart” is meant to strike a balance between the right and left sides of the brain.

Specificity and Wholeness . . . Another way to enable the understanding of specificity and wholeness . . . consider now this Ancient Children’s Song on learning as told by Paula Underwood.

Left foot, right foot

Left foot, right foot

Let those who would hop,

who would hop, who would hop

use only left foot,

only right foot.

Let those who would walk,

who would walk, who would walk

use left foot, right foot,

left foot, right foot.

And now the mix, for the heart . . . And hopping, I tell you now, is not the swiftest way to proceed through life. The seeming simplicity . . . you don’t even need your other foot . . . leads to great clumsiness.

Do you understand the advisability of balance between two possibilities? Think about it. And develop your own balance, your own strong left, your own strong right, your own way of walking.”

The Four-Step Path . . . is a great starting point when seeking to deal with change in our
lives . . . it is a sequence, a logical way to proceed through chaos.

1. Be Who You Are -

Center yourself, be in touch with all you have ever learned about your own essential nature, especially about how you learn. No need to wish you were anyone but your unique self.

2. Be Where You Are-

Be aware of the energy flow, the patterns around you. Feel your way into the circumstance. You may wish you were anywhere but where current circumstances have you, but this is your present reality.

3. Look Around -

Open your eyes. The purpose is not to decide or even to try to understand what is going on around you. At this stage you are only taking in the totality of your circumstance. Consider all the possibilities that may be available to you. Apply the Rule Of Six.

4. Decide/Do -

Now you have all the information you are able to gather and perceive. It will never be enough information, but it is time to decide/do. Take an action. Accept your apparent circumstance as real. Respond to it appropriately, given your personal experience.

There will be time later to evaluate . . .

To further emphasize the need to decide/do, Paula would offer the following scenario: If you suddenly awake and find yourself in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, you best start swimming and ask questions later.