Understanding your own human nature through paying attention to learn about yourself in particular ways using the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Self-Study Guide for Wellness will teach you (among other things) about your limitations, your amazing potential, and the myriad of possibilities for transcending those limits to fully self-realize and self-actualize.
You are pure potential
You have incredible potential just waiting to be actualized, passions to be uncovered, and many weaknesses that are likely suppressed that could surface at any time and cause unwanted or unintended damage.
Consider: How many times have you been alternately either pleasantly surprised by your own talents or prowess and horrified at your own weakness and unintended bad behavior?
Make your daily life better
Rather than deny our weaknesses and animal nature, pretend they don’t exist, or repress them, we ought to study them, understand them, and manage them as productively as possible.
We all need to intentionally and very deliberately learn more about who we are and understand what it means to be human—both rational and animal— so we can express our very best and manage our very worst.
Putting our truth under a spotlight is the path to freedom, and it is the most responsible work a person can do for themselves and for others (which is also why so many people don’t want to do it! Freedom requires responsibility and that’s work!)
The process may not be pretty, for self realization is not about happiness per se but the struggle to be the fully-expressed YOU, and it is exactly how the meaning of your life is to be found.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”— Socrates
The Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Self Study Guide for Wellness is designed to inspire and motivate you to live an “examined” life and give you simple, pragmatic tools for everyday use. It’s about the why and how to “know thyself,” so you can express your uniqueness for a lifetime of wellness and wellbeing. This five part process of self study will enable you to specifically articulate yourself to yourself and empower you to more deliberately author your own life story.
The purpose of the Self Study Guide is to encourage you to look inward at least as often as you look outward which is why it begins with attention. Look up from your screens, away from teachers, friends, experts, and yes, even your parents, to look inward at your own human nature because that’s where your integrity and passion reside as well as all the answers about who you are and how to live well.
(1) manage your attention and understand its relationship to your values,
(2) increase your self-awareness,
(3) realize the value of embracing challenge to build character, discipline, and resilience,
(4) make more intentional choices to respond to life experiences rather than reacting to them mindlessly or unconsciously, and
(5) approach life with the attitude of a lifelong learner to cultivate growth mindset and an openness to experience.
Self study is about reflection, introspection, and radical honesty to improve your human experience. We aren’t here for very long, so get started living your best life today!
Get your copy of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Self-Study Guide for Wellness Available for only $9.99 at Amazon.com.
“To know yourself you need not go to any book, to any priest, to any psychologist. The whole treasure is within yourself.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
Each of the five parts of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Bikram Yoga Teacher’s Self Study Guide for Wellness contains a rationale, helpful definitions, self-study exercises, and prompts for journal writing. (Additional information related to self study can be found in the Appendices & References at the end of the Guide.)
The activities contained within the self study program: self-observation and audits, introspection, writing, meditation, Bikram Yoga practice, and listening are meant to get you started on your journey to know yourself better. Some practices will be more useful or more comfortable than others. Most can be repeated, some can be modified to suit your needs and others entirely ignored. It’s up to you because it’s your personal curriculum, your individual education plan. There are no due dates or tests, as your personal learning is up to you. You are your own teacher.
Use the Self Study Guide constantly or intermittently over the course of your days, years, and life time. It’s up to you to learn by teaching yourself, using your own direct experience and by tailoring the resources and practices contained in the Self Study Guide to fit your needs as you continually grow and change. You have 100% control over the process and all of the responsibility. Like any exercise for better fitness, you will get out of it what you put into it!
Once you become adept with using the Self Study Guide and its practices, you’ll likely form good habits of reflection and introspection that will, over time, seem like second nature to you, and hopefully, the fruits of your labor will further inspire and motivate you to continue growing in wisdom and wellness.
When you use the Guide, you may focus on one, two, or all five of the aspects of it to improve your life. Or you can begin with any of the five parts you choose, although beginning with Part I: Attention and working your way around the wheel clockwise or in the order the parts are listed is recommended.
Since the wisdom of knowing oneself is timeless and classic, the Self-Study Guide will be useful both immediately and far into the future, repeatedly throughout your life at the times and places of your choosing. And once you become familiar with the five aspects of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human: A Self Study Guide, you can revisit any or all of them whenever you’ve lost your way and need to reconnect with your inner world.
Your Choices Define You.
The Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide will help you learn to manage your attention, become more self-aware, and develop resilience in the face of challenge, so you’ll inevitably make better, more mindful choices from a central locus of control.
More self knowledge from self study will help you learn to respond to reality in the present moment, mindfully, rather than reacting irrationally or unconsciously.
“It is not external events themselves that cause us distress, but the way in which we think about them. It is our attitudes and reactions that give us trouble. We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.”
When you are more aware of the way you behave under pressure, understand your habits, and know your strengths, weaknesses and triggers from working your way through the Self Study Guide, you’ll be able to make better decisions and choices from a central locus of control.
Rather than trying to manipulate the world and your experiences to be as you’d prefer, you’ll learn to accept what happens that is beyond your control and respond mindfully in the best way possible for your personal growth and wellness.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how”
As you work your way through the Self Study Guide, you will become more centered and more grounded in the truth of who you are because you will discover your values, that is— what you’re aiming your attention and effort at. When you know what you focus on that is good for you and that matters most, you can choose more of what’s good for you and what is in line with your healthiest values. Your choices will be informed.
Are you Responding Rationally or Mindlessly Reacting?
Reactivity that creates additional suffering is not worth compromising your wellness. Instead, you can make better and more deliberate choices, cultivated through direct experience, introspection, and reflection– practices you can find throughout the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide.
With honest practice and self-compassion, you can learn to accept insecurity and vulnerability as part of being human. You can figure out how to “let go” more quickly of your internal resistance as well as your reactive, negative habits rooted in fear and cause “bad” stress in your body.
For example, when that person cuts you off in traffic, you’ll choose not to react irrationally toward the offender in order to keep your stress-levels in check to keep yourself well.
Instinctively reacting to the danger of potential physical harm is built in to human beings, of course, but the extra mental suffering that comes from the anger you decide to hang on to or project onto others will wreak havoc on your body unnecessarily. That sort of stress and suffering is a choice. Unnecessary struggle and suffering is preventable. By tapping into the higher levels of attention to your values and the self-awareness you’ve gained in Parts I and II of the Self Study Guide, you’ll be empowered with self knowledge for more self control which means better, more mindful choices for your wellness.
“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Because you will learn throughout your own self study process that your flawed thinking patterns, projection, and irrationality is common human behavior, you’ll be far less likely to take things personally or reactively blame others for behaving in the ways that you can recognize in yourself and in all other human beings. Your honest self study of your own nature will teach you empathy and compassion for others who also act as human, thus flawed, struggling along and suffering just like you.
It is true that when you know better, you can choose better, but when you know who you are, nobody and nothing can steal your peace— at least not without your conscious consent.
The Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide has been designed to help you look inside– to travel inward bound and make self-inquiry and self-discovery priorities in your life. It’s intended to help you learn how to collect and mine the data from your own life, encouraging you, like Dr. Gabor Mate suggests in the video below, to look inward at least as often as you look outward to understand yourself for wisdom and wellness.
The Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide is a foundational program that can be used in concert with other self-help resources, many of which I include in the Resources and References sections of the Guide, (like the clip below of Dr. Gabor Mate interviewed on London Real), but ultimately you have to trust your judgment to do what is best for you based on your own self knowledge.
It is easy to get distracted or lost on the outer landscapes for learning by being overly enamored with a guru or teacher or wrapped up in trendy new strategies, apps, and resources rather than spending more time studying yourself and your own direct experiences.
Sometimes we get too focused on the “help” in “self help” when it becomes just another way to distract ourselves or avoid focusing on the hard work of studying the “self.”
Dr. Gabor Mate’s advice to his younger self is what the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide asks you to do:
“Look inside and pay as much attention to the inside, if not more, as you are paying to the outside.”
Indeed, wise advice from the good Doctor and Classic Wisdom especially relevant for our Modern times.
If 2017 was a year of travel for me, then 2018 was the year of writing about my various journeys across the landscapes for learning, inside and out.
Much of what I have written in my life is based on observation and reflection about learning—my own, or others’, as well as learning in the broadest sense.
Sometimes I share my “professional” learning with others publicly as I did when I published The Graphic Novel Classroom (Corwin Press, 2011) for educators. Most times I don’t share my “personal” learning that I’ve been recording almost daily in paper-bound journals over the last two and one half decades. A hybrid of both professional and personal writing is this blog and the soon-to- be-completed Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide.
In hindsight, I am glad I have consistently written about my life both professionally and personally because I can revisit my history and see its value, especially in terms of learning. I can see how far I have come and how I have grown. I can see “mistakes” and “wrong” turns that were responsible for such growth and now inform my future direction. I know where some of the potholes are and am better at avoiding them. As Louise May Alcott wrote, “I am less afraid because I am learning how to steer my ship.”
Because I have recorded my learning in writing, I can see the personal strength and flexibility I’ve built over time through the trial and error process and this motivates and inspires me to keep struggling forward. It reminds me that the current pain will be worth the health, integrity, and satisfaction of my future self.
I can rely on myself in the future as a result of my attention to the work of being me in the past, and for taking on the responsibility for knowing who I am. Without self-study, without writing about my learning experiences throughout my life, I’d be useless to others, unable to connect with them, serve, or teach.
By looking back on my personally recorded history, I can have faith that life will happen for me exactly as it should because it always has, and that I don’t need to try to force things to happen or control the future. I can see how my attempts at control merely postponed acceptance of truth. I can also stay more open to the mysteries that will inevitably unfold (like a flower petal blooming) and cultivate an attitude of curiosity about the unknown– the potential that will actualize– instead of being afraid of it or resisting it. Surrender is powerful.
I have also learned that my current pain and suffering, whatever it may be whether self-induced anxiety or from external “accidents” beyond my control, shall pass, as these always have and always will. I have the stories of my past, in writing, as proof of the truths of what it means to be human and what it means to be specifically and uniquely me.
If I continue to approach all of my experiences as opportunities to learn, to observe my life as it unfolds organically, then I can enjoy it, be grateful and appreciative, and use what I have already learned to continue to be healthy, secure, and well and help others do the same.
I am not a Pollyanna nor am I wearing rose-colored glasses.
It’s not that everything works out the way I want it to or that everything always turns out well; it’s not that I don’t make the same mistakes twice (or more). It’s simply that, for me, using writing for reflection has been an incredibly useful tool for becoming more wise over time and more well. And as I keep becoming more of who I am, well, it just so happens that that’s the meaning and joy of my one, short, precious life. If I am reflective and continually witness the unfolding of my true self, and accept that truth, especially when it’s difficult, I can love my life even more and resist its discomforts less!
As I age and become even more experienced, more keenly reflective, and more honest in my writing, the more alive and robust I feel, yet at the same time, I feel less rigid, less anxious, and more humble about all there is still yet to be discovered. I continue to see how much I really don’t know. Now, at almost 50, I am surely not the same person as I was at 40 or 20. Who will I be at 60 or 80?
My life, as I record it through writing, has taught me that a sense of security is not the same thing as permanence, and trying to control and cling to safety is not the way to live well. Just because my life has been constant change, that the world is constantly changing (faster and faster most recently), it doesn’t mean I am not secure and safe. The one thing that has remained consistent is the entity called “me”– the experiencer, this reflective, evolving being who writes. Writing has been a critical tool for my self-knowledge. And knowing myself better is foundational for my good health and wellbeing.
I write to articulate my life to myself, not as self indulgence, not as self-obsessive or selfish, but as self-care, as therapy. I also can share who I am with others, if I choose, certainly not to give prescriptive advice about how to be or do life (I don’t recommend anyone be like me! and I don’t have the answers for you!) but to let others know they aren’t alone on this journey of figuring out how to become a person (Rogers). I can share my struggles and successes with others, but like any diet or recipe, what “works” for me may not apply to others’ unique constitutions. We are all so specific which is why we have to understand ourselves as well as possible to apply the exact prescriptions for our individual selves.
The Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide is my newest way of publicly sharing my learning from a life of writing, teaching, and yoga practice. I outline a few insights, practices, and techniques I have learned along my travels, both professionally and personally, on the outer and inner landscapes of life, to help me be wiser and more well.
These insights, practices, and techniques are not a secret, nor are they original. They’ve been in the toolbox of humanity for a very long time. They are recorded in the literature and history of the ages, rooted in the wisdom traditions from both East and West. I’ve discovered them, applied and tested them over time, and found they work very well for a meaningful trek to knowing oneself in our modern world. I hope you discover that they can work for you as well, in your own way, to meet your own individual and unique needs to know who you are and express that truth.
I hope next year when I reflect in writing about 2019 that I will be able to report that the personal learning I chose to share publicly in the form of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide has helped propel my life and others’ lives in the direction it’s meant to go. I trust that it will.
“If you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.”
Self Awareness is Part II of Landscapes for Learning’s Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self-Study Guide.The Guide provides tools and techniques for learning to turn your attention inward to become consciously more self-aware so that you can make informed, intentional decisions for your well-being and develop the discipline it takes to avoid being distracted or blown off course by powerful influences in the external environment ever vying for your precious attention.
Aside from owning and managing your own attention (learned in Part I), another important “soft skill” in our modern age of artificial intelligence is trust– that is, trusting yourself. But you can’t trust yourself until you know yourself well. And you can’t develop self-awareness and self-understanding if you don’t pay careful attention to yourself.
Focusing attention inward to gain self-knowledge and self awareness is what it means to travel the inner landscape for learning. Part II of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide empowers you with practical activities to become more self aware– to know thyself to be the best you possible.
Turning your attention inward is like shining a spotlight on yourself to understand who you are, and this is the beginning of becoming more self-aware and conscious that you are a human ‘self’ with a specific nature.
If you study your personality, habits, patterns of thinking and emotions, and learn about your mind-body connection, you will know more about who you are, how much of you is under your own control, how much is not, and the qualities of human nature that you share with other human beings.
You will discover that you have limitations and challenges and so does everyone else. This knowledge will positively transform your relationship with yourself and others.
Your increased self awareness may motivate you to welcome new challenges in your life, motivate you to use your strengths to thrive, inspire you to face your fears and insecurities, and provide you with more concrete information about yourself to make better, more informed choices from a locus of control, all of which leads to more wisdom and wellness.
The soon-to-be-completed Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide contains the why and how to “know thyself” for wellness. It is a collection of tools and practices for you to know yourself better so you can express your uniqueness for a lifetime of wellness and wellbeing. The ancient dictum, “know thyself” from the Oracle at Delphi is the very definition of “classic” wisdom because it is archetypal, definitive, remarkable, and judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality. Living according the dictum can help you pursue truth and thereby wellness in our modern world.
LANDSCAPES FOR LEARNING
I believe so strongly that dedicating more time and energy to understanding oneself is the foundation for balance and wellness in this day and age of speed and data overwhelm that I left the security of my long career as a high school teacher to create Landscapes for Learning, this online classroom where my mission is to inspire, motivate, and foster the growth of individual uniqueness and encourage individual expression through a life time of learning.
BALANCE IS WELLNESS
I had been grappling with the increasing anxiety and unwellness among my students and observing it throughout the school’s culture, while at the same time I was helping people to grow in healthy self-realization as a Bikram yoga teacher. The principles and philosophy of Bikram’s brand of yoga seemed to be the exact antidote needed to address many of the problems pervading not only school culture but also the problems in modern American life in general. I wondered how I could possibly bring the principles and philosophy of the yoga into schools to improve wellness and promote balance, if I could not get students (and their parents and my co-workers) to visit the studio to actually practice the physical postures of the hatha series. So, I did what I love to do most, I wrote curriculum and called it the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide. Its five central tenets (or learning units) are derived from my professional experiences teaching the Humanities and my personal Bikra yoga practice, a combination of the wisdom traditions of West and East, and are meant to help you– teens and adults– pursue optimal wellness through self study.
Everyone needs to be their own best friend, parent, partner, counselor, and teacher– the person who knows you best, you can trust the most, and always has your back, no matter what. I became that person for myself by discovering the real value of following the classic advice to “know thyself” through my own deep self-study. By traveling the landscapes of my life– both inbound to my core through practicing yoga and writing and outbound across the outer landscapes of the world as a student, traveler, and teacher, I learned to express my uniqueness, to “do me,” with integrity and purpose. Becoming a better version of myself, overcoming fear and limits, and managing constant change took conscious effort and lots of trial and error, and it continues to be an ongoing journey toward wholeness. We should never stop learning, moving, or growing.
I was inspired and motivated by prominent writers, podcasters, yoga enthusiasts, and many other teachers in various fields who were all both working to become whole and healthy individual human beings and promoting this same journey toward integration and wholeness through knowing oneself.
I heard over and over again that many of the problems and illnesses of our modern day are due to lack of knowing who we really are and that we are disconnected from our truth. I agreed because I was witnessing this reality in my own life- my own personal experience and in my role as mother, high school teacher, teacher of teachers, and yoga teacher. I also knew that learning was the answer along with yoga and journal writing, as these were my practical, everyday tools for my own self study, growth, and wellness.
I am hopeful that the almost completed Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self Study Guide, based on my insight gained from a deep work approach to self study, will improve your relationship with yourself (and others) as it did my own and continues to do. I am currently trying to walk the walk as I talk the talk, and this website is evidence of my own journey forward to expressing the truest me possible. As you may have noticed, there are “WORK IN PROGRESS” images on almost every page! Our work to live as our truest selves is never done!
The pursuit of classic wisdom, to “know thyself,” is to be a traveler with no final destination but the means to live authentically. In other words, the landscapes of your life are for learning– forever. Unlike schooling, learning is a journey of trial and error where trying and failing is the point— it’s the meaning and purpose of your one, unique life. So you ought to expect messy, to get a little bit dirty, and be bumped around a bit as you fail forward in your effort to know yourself and find your truest expression. As we say in the Bikram yoga community, when it comes to self-realization, there is no perfect— only practice. We are all, always, a work in progress!
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Engage in Self-Study to
Prepare to Thrive in the Future
“What’s good for everybody is to get to know yourself better because we are now entering the era where we are hackable animals…and there are corporations and governments that are trying to hack you
whether you are a student or a billionaire…If you don’t get to know yourself better you become easy prey to all these organizations and governments that are hacking you as we speak… you have to run faster..
previously you had no competition, but now you do.”
—Yuval Noah Harari*
Listen to and/or read the following interviews from Yuval Noah Harari for the reasons why self-study is the most important curriculum to engage in at this point in history.
If you want to avoid being hacked, being irrelevant, or overwhelmed by constant, stressful change, then get ahead of the curve by knowing yourself for proper self-development now and for the future.
The five lessons or “practices” of the Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human self-study program are designed to help you learn to know yourself. In the program, you will learn:
- How to understand and manage your own attention (Harari says “Your best skill is your focus to form a clear map and vision of reality.”)
- How to become self-aware and know yourself better than anyone else
- How to do what’s difficult, uncomfortable, and challenging to gain strength, grit, and resilience
- How to respond rather than to react to challenges in the environment using self-control
- How to approach life as landscapes for learning and see every experience as an opportunity for growth
KNOWING ONESELF IS THE ESSENTIAL WISDOM needed for the coming decades. Landscape for Learning’s Classic Wisdom for the Modern Human Self-Study for Wellness Program can show you how to get to know yourself and the unique human that you are!
The workshops, resources, and wellness programs provide the tools and information you need to take 100% responsibility for your own life. This program will enable you to take the necessary action and develop the habits and character through direct experience to know yourself and become the best, strongest, wisest you possible.
There are no teachers in this program except you. You follow no guru, no generic prescription or step by step, magical, one-size-fits-all program. Your experience with Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Human self-study program is specific and unique to you because you are one of a kind!
IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE, YOUR FREEDOM IS GONE!
WHEN TECH KNOWS YOU BETTER THAN YOURSELF
(INTERVIEW AND TRANSCRIPT)
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