Advice on Learning 
by Stuart Inman

                         My advice to anybody researching any tradition or system ,or any subject at all, in fact,  would be much the same. The following is what I think and is for anybody who thinks as I do.

                         1. Assume you know nothing, then you will probably be right.

                         2. That which you do know will come in useful - later, that is when you have
                         studied the particularity of the system or tradition under examination.

                         3. There is a zen phrase "beginner's mind" that expresses the proper state
                         perfectly, not only for the beginner, but for the old-timer - I'll not say adept -
                         even more so.

                         4. By taking it on in its own terms, you learn what those terms are, what the
                         unique flavour is.

                         5. No system exists in complete isolation, but in relation to others. This does not
                         mean that it is not different or that they blend seamlessly, they are probably
                         more like the separate slates that overlap on a  roof.

                         6. While reading (books, emails, whatever) is a necessary prerequisite, it takes
                         real work, mental, emotional, physical, to digest and really understand a system.
                         Nothing other than that friction generates a flame.

                         7. If you are too afraid of seeming a  fool to ask questions or to give wrong
                         answers, then you probably are a fool. In that case you have nothing to lose and
                         you might as well ask those stupid questions and give those wrong answers. This is
                         how we learn. After all, if you sneak in a really good question or get some of the
                         right answers, then the world can always revise its opinon of you upwards...

                         8. Having taken the trouble to learn about a system in its own terms, relate it to
                         your own tradition. This way, instead of having an eclectic mess, you might achieve
                         a synthesis.

                         8. In the context of any given system, this might mean that what you do ceases to
                         be that system or any other preexisting system or tradition, but it will no longer
                         matter, because it will be your own.

                                                 Copyright © 2003 by Stuart Inman