I maintain that there are only two kinds of education.
I respectively call them by the following, plain, yet also somewhat quite descriptive names:
Let’s take Training first.
Training refers to learning and developing skill, competence, knowledge and expertise in a particular activity or, if you like, area of focus.
This can be anything: from carpentry to flying an aircraft.
From cooking to diamond mining.
From playing golf to industrial design.
Any Training Has Four Stages…
And The First One Is Theoretical Acquaintance
In this first stage you study and understand the theory behind the subject of your training and, in particular, the principles according to which it functions, and based on which you can use it.
If we wanted to oversimplify things, we could say that this stage of Training comprises your intellectual assimilation of a series of key “if… then…” true statements.
To draw an elementary example: “If I press the accelerator, the car goes faster; if I press the brake it goes slower”.
AND: “If I press the brake and the car doesn’t go slower there is a problem”.
Notice that what matters here is not so much to gain intellectual knowledge on the “why” but rather on the “how to”, as well as to be able to quickly identify crucial deviations from the business-as-usual “how to”.
Training, you see, is not really interested in producing theoreticians, philosophers or academicians; it is rather focused on producing good, solid and reliable Users.
The Second Stage Of Training
Is Practical Familiarization
Here you pass from theory to practice.
Step by step, you begin to actually become familiar with the subject of your Training.
You take the car out for your first practice ride, so to say.
Experimentation and learning through a Trial And Error process is of the essence here, as is exercising extreme caution to make sure that the safety of yourself and others is guaranteed – the prevalence of the latter concern depends, of course, on the subject of your training.
It goes without saying that a presence of instructor or Trainer is sine qua non in the first two, as well in the third, stages of Training, at least until the latter have been successfully completed by the Trainee.
It is of course not ruled out that the roles of Trainer and Trainer be assumed by the same individual.
The Third Stage Of Training
Is Autonomous Delivery Or Execution
In this stage, both your theoretical studying and practical experimentation continue and gradually intensify and become harder, up until the point of you being in the position of functioning fully effectively and autonomously, without posing a risk to yourself or others.
To return to our previous example, at the end of this stage you should be able to drive a car on your own, under any circumstance or condition.
Very often, and for obvious reasons, the successful completion of this third stage of Training is marked by receiving an official accreditation or certification, validating your ability, from that point onwards, to do on your own, freely and without any supervision, what you have so far trained yourself to do.
The Fourth And Final Stage Of Training
Is Gaining Mastery
This is, in reality, a lifelong process, whereby you grow your excellence in your subject of Training, up to the point of you being acknowledged as someone outstandingly proficient in delivering it.
A Master Trainer may or may not be involved here (but usually is).
It is also not unlikely that at this stage the Trainee become themselves a Trainer.
It is only natural: the more demonstrably your expertise grows in any subject or activity, and the higher the level and quality of your deliverables are, the more you find yourself in the position to actually teach such subject or activity yourself, by directly and indirectly training others.
Especially if the activity in question is a complex, difficult and widespread or popular one.
OK, this is all about the first kind of Education, Training.
Let’s now move on to the second one:
It is not very easy to talk about Practice, but words are the only tool I have available in the present context, so I have no choice but to do my best and use them to the best of my ability.
So, Practice, in the way I employ the term here, refers to “learning” how to live your life.
Or, rather, “unlearning” how to live it, by removing all the layers of conditioning you have gathered throughout many years in this regard from manifold sources, but primarily, from family, society and “formal education” (which typically represents decades of suboptimal Training).
This is, typically, the primary field of Spirituality, and of everything usually falling under this umbrella term.
Now, Here’s The Thing About Practice
The quality of Schools or Trainers offering Training on any given subject obeys, more or less, to the “normal distribution” pattern.
That is, the overwhelming majority of such Schools or Trainers provide Training of average quality, while there are few who offer high or low quality of Training, and even fewer who are too-notch or, on the other hand, atrocious and to be avoided at all costs.
But this is not how things are with Practice.
In the case of Practice, the analogy of looking for diamonds in a landfill seems more appropriate.
In other words:
99% Of Those Who Claim They Can Teach You How To “Live Your Life“
Fail Quite Miserably To Live Up To Their Promise
Please consider that I am actually being very careful with the language I am using here, given that I refrain from talking about fraudsters or charlatans, as, perhaps, I should.
This, then, leaves us with only 1% of truly worthy cases of Teachers of Practice.
And here is the only case where I allow myself to use the emotionally charged – to the point of sacredness – word “Teacher”.
A Teacher can of course also be a Trainer in one or the other field – and usually a very good one.
On the other hand, an excellent Trainer may be no Teacher at all – in fact, this holds true for the overwhelming majority of Trainers, be they exceptional, average or unfit in their vocation.
You want examples of true Teachers?
Now, the Teachings of every true Teacher – throughout the millennia and across the widest possible spectrum of cultural and personal backgrounds – on how to Practice the Art and Science of Life are astonishingly similar.
It Is Only Their Way Of Teaching Practice That Differs
Here’s a sample of few of these essential teachings, concisely formulated in my own words:
. . .
You And The World Around You Form An Unbreakable Unity
. . .
What Appears To Your Senses As Reality
Is But A Fleeting Illusion,
Whereas, What Is Always There Is Invisible And Formless
And Is The Only Thing That Truly Exists
. . .
The One And Only Sin –
Which Is Also The One And Only Obstacle To Your Self-Realization –
Is Your Sense Of You Being A Standalone Entity
That Is Separate From The Rest Of The Universe
. . .
Your True Nature Is Perfection,
Unconditional Happiness And Pure Love
. . .
You Are The Only True Cause Of Your Misery,
So It Is Only You That Can Set Yourself Free
. . .
Can I conclude this post by sharing with you a little secret?
I consider myself to be an aspiring Teacher or “Teacher in the making” (again, here, words fail to do us any favors, but… anyway).
I understand that this may sound like a ridiculously pompous assertion.
But, you know, I also know that it is, anyways, not up to me or you to accept or deny the truth of it.
Only Life –
In All Its Loving Fairness And Unwavering Objectivity –
Can Be The Judge
Which comes, of course, in addition to this, entirely free and multidisciplinary, collection of teachings presenting themselves as loose deliberations on one or the other “random” – this is NEVER the case, of course, as randomness is a completely misleading and illusory notion – subject.
Until we talk again,
And if you have yet to find a Teacher, don’t you worry.
Not only you can be your self’s own Teacher…
But, in fact – and as every true Teacher has proclaimed in one or another way – your True Self is, anyway, your One and Only True Teacher.