Informal Learning: Who’s in charge

January 31, 2005

Monday morning. Smokey the Wonderdog whines to wake me up. On auto-pilot, I arise, brush my teeth, and take the garbage and recycling out to the curb. I brew a cup of tea while the computer boots up.

Undoubtedly email has arrived overnight. Phone messages await my pick-up. The day’s New York Times has interesting stories to read. I sip my tea. I write these words. I contemplate what I want to accomplish today. The interruptions can wait.

Each of us has a choice of what we think about, what we learn, and what we do. Our minds are an inner sanctuary to which we alone possess the key. No one else will ever see what’s inside. It’s ours alone. Private.

“each of us is at the center of the universe
so is everyone else”

e.e. cummings

Less than 99% of the light, sound, taste, and touch that bombard our senses ever make it into our consciousness. Behind the curtain of awareness, our minds take a snippet of this and a smidgen of that, connect the dots, and play the internal movie we experience as reality. Your mind’s eye and mine see different worlds. Reality is all in our heads.

“Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” Albert Einstein

Listen to what’s going on in your head at this moment. There’s a conversation in there. It’s about that inner movie.

You can listen in or you can join the conversation. You can let the inner voice prattle on, making comments sparked by your inner movie. Or, if you like, you can actively participate in the conversation.

We’re working with neurons here, not film. You can influence the script writer, make suggestions to the director, and edit out things you don’t want to see.

Young thoughts need shelter from the elements to grow. I nurture my thoughts in the morning, before the cacophany of ringing phones, flashing lights, and FedEx trucks tries to make me a passive listener in my inner conversation.

Asked whether he didn’t hate the Chinese, the Dalai Lama responded, “They have taken my country. Why should I let them take my mind?”

There are few absolutes in life. Success requires balancing your inner self and new sensations.

You don’t want to shut out all the interrupters knocking on the door. The hot stove may not be what you think, but don’t put your hand on the burner.

You must revere your inner mind and belief that you are more than a mere pebble in the stream. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re unlikely to reach an enjoyable destination.

Time to check the emails.

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