Are You An Open And Active Learner?

Sometimes I sit down to write and have no idea what will come out and this is one of those times.  I have been doing lots of reading lately so my mind is full of ideas especially about how the mind/brain work.  As I write this now what comes to mind is about having a willingness to learn and differing styles of learning as I thought about my three sessions with clients yesterday afternoon. Each client brings there own set of ideas and receptivity to the process of therapy which is definitely a learning process.  

One client is a super learner who soaks in ideas of interest like a sponge.  He soaks up books.  He does his own research on topics he wants to learn about. Today he talked about nuclear fuel enrichment, a psychoactive drugs in the brain and how it works to alter a person state, and different dream states he recognizes in himself.  He is about awareness and has an endless desire to learn.

The next client wants to study psychology but seems distrustful of the process of having to come to therapy. He does have a curious mind that is inhibited by his lack of trust but that trust can be built and his curiosity could really bloom.  Until then his learning and awareness will be held back by a skeptical mind.  A skeptical mind is partially closed and usually the person is unaware of that pending closure.

The last client is a kind of a light and happy guy who is amazed that he is staying clean and sober so easily. His mind got clear that he wanted to put the drugs behind him and that is what he is doing in a relatively easy way.  He is not so active in learning but more in the flow of what is.  He learns more by experience and less as an active seeker.  Life is a day-to-day journey, which he tries to go with and see what happens.   

Each of us has our own style of learning that is unique to our life circumstances.  Here are few questions about you, your mind, and your learning:

  • Are you an active learner? 
  • Do you read a lot? 
  • Do you research your areas of interest? 
  • Is you mind open, closed or in between? 
  • Do learn better by sight, by hearing, by feel or a combination of these? 
  • Do you even know what your learning strengths are and what your blindspots are? 
  • Do you trust others as teachers? 
  • Do you learn intuitively? 
  • Was school a postive experience or negative? 
  • What kinds of people inspire you and uplift you?
  • What do you learn about yourself asking these questions?

A dose of humility is always a good teacher.  Monday evening I often play table tennis with a group of people who are very competitive.  I am getting back into the sport and constantly get big doses of humility and it is still fun. 

Every aspect of life has lessons for us if you are aware there is much to learn every day.  What are you going to learn today?


Peace Letter #70

Dear President Obama,

I just turn 60 and my whole adult life I have opposed all the wars we have been in because there were all insane ideas caused by human egos.  Today in our country there is great unrest and growing violence and that is no surprise because we as a nation have advocated for violence in the form of war for centuries. 

I wanted to again state there is no such thing as a good war and waging war is an insane human fascination that does not benefit humanity in any way.  War is the most primitive intervention and the most costly.  Please change your mind about Afghanistan because what we are doing there will not work and please get us out of Iraq soon.

Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.

Join me and send President Obama emails of support and encourage the end of war and the other dysfunctional ways of government at: