The Workbook will guide your exploration and study of Gurumayi’s Message for 2020 through a process of self-inquiry and discovery. Posted weekly on the Siddha Yoga path website, each worksheet is focused on a question from Gurumayi.
The field of neuroscience reveals that repeated engagement with new information through a variety of learning modalities builds stronger neural connections, increasing your ability to remember and apply what you have learned. To support your study, practice, assimilation, and implementation of the wisdom in Gurumayi’s questions, the Workbook features three distinct learning modalities—physicalization, illustration, and mind-mapping.
Below, you can read more about the qualities and benefits of each learning modality in the Workbook.
Kinesthetic learning activates what your body already understands and intuits about a topic and brings that wisdom to a new situation, creating new meaning and connections. When you physicalize, you are allowing your body to move, be still, expand and contract as it will, trusting that it holds valuable insights and perceptions. Moreover, when learning is acquired through physical movement, the knowledge becomes anchored to your experience of moving through time and space. This anchoring of knowledge in movement, and to a specific location in space, strengthens your capacity to recall what you have learned.
Physicalization exercises encourage a childlike curiosity. Children intuitively understand the body’s inherent wisdom. They climb and build, dance and spin, using their bodies to express themselves and to learn about the world. As you participate in the physicalization activities, you, too, can connect to this innate sense of curiosity and wonder; it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and even reconceive of your relationship to the world around you.
The English word “illustrate” comes from the Latin word “illustrare,” which means “to illuminate” or “to enlighten.” Creative expressions such as drawing, poetry, and storytelling have been used throughout history to illuminate our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. Using these creative formats to explore and study the questions from Gurumayi will help you come to broader and deeper understandings of your sadhana and welcome new perspectives on how you can approach situations in your day-to-day life.
Engaging in creative expression relaxes the brain, which in turn stimulates out-of-the-box problem solving. Additionally, when you visually express your learning, your brain is integrating the visual memory of your expression, the kinesthetic memory of physically creating your expression, and the semantic memory of the meaning you depict. In this way, you are increasing your likelihood to be able to store and recall what you have learned in the future.
To participate in the illustration activities, you do not need to be a great poet or artist. Set aside the inner critic; give yourself permission to create whatever it is you are inclined to create. Be open to learning something new or seeing through a different lens something you think you know very well.
The inner instrument of the mind generates a continuous stream of thoughts that travel rapidly in many directions at the same time. How is it possible to reflect on a process that is moving this quickly? One way is by creating a mind map. A mind map gives visual expression to your thinking. Organized around a central word or idea, a mind map expands outward, connecting the central concepts with associated words, images, memories, and sensations.
In the Workbook, mind maps will be used in two distinct ways. At times, the mind map instructions may direct you to depict a snapshot of what and how you are thinking right now, allowing you to observe and reflect on your thought patterns. At other times, the instructions may direct you to explore your associations and insights on a given topic, prompting you to brainstorm new ideas, connections, or plans of action.
Mind mapping is a powerful learning tool that trains the mind to pause and reflect on its own thinking, increasing your capacity for metacognition. Metacognition is the ability to understand and guide your own thought processes and learning. When you are able to pause and reflect on your own thinking, then you are more likely to let go of those ways of thinking that do not support your sadhana, and you can instead develop new understanding that supports your progress.