It is our tradition, to study with a partner. One can go very deep into one’s studies. A truly devoted student doesn’t need a teacher or a text book. One thing leads to another, and at every depth, there is more to learn. But often, in our enthusiasm at a find, or an understanding… we are liable to get pulled this way or that, and lose a proper perspective. And so, with a study partner, one can check one’s understanding of the material, and bounce an idea or a thought, to see what one’s partner thinks. Just as the two eyes in our heads give us a sense of perspective and three dimensions, and allow us to understand what is close and what is far away, so study with a partner can give us a much greater depth of vision.
The more often, the better, of course. But there are many variations to this type of study. We learn that one has to schedule study, and there are many people who dedicate an hour or two every day for this purpose. And there are those who prefer to go to a course once a week, or two once a week courses, which means that they have set aside a few hours twice a week for study. I’ve known people who ‘did’ Yoga in the same way that my friends and I make time for study. Sometimes it deteriorates to a rather meaningless routine… but as long as one stays connected, there are signs to warn you when you get out of shape.
Playing music demands a similar dedication. One has to work regularly to stay in shape. And there is no need to take a test to learn you’re getting rusty. There was a time, when we used to make music for ourselves, and knowing how to play the piano or the violin could provide an important ingredient for very moving evenings with friends and family. But these days, we are getting used to a rather lazy attitude towards life and social relations too. At first, it was amusing to see two people at a table in a coffee shop, and each of them speaking on their cell phone to someone who wasn’t there. But with time, its become a bit sad.
I was going to write about the subjects that came up in my last study session. But drifted off to a more general subject. And while looking for a particular picture as an illustration, found myself looking at others… which brought to mind other thoughts. There was a time when I posted more often, and in a way, though it demanded more time, it offered more freedom of expression. What didn’t fit in one day, could reach the page the next. Right now, there is too much on my calendar to post frequently. But there are so many subjects that beg for a bit of attention.
It is very interesting, the relationship we develop with a study partner. It is like certain relationships with colleagues at work. We get to know one another intimately. And because there is a common aim, and that is most important, there is less tendency to make unfair demands of one another, or to get into complicated emotional situations. I have had study partners who were very different from me, with different attitudes towards almost everything in life, and yet we learned to love one another and to work together in true partnership.