SEED QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you relate to the need for both theory and practice in our lives? Can you share a personal story that illustrates the importance of theory? What motivates you to test the validity of theories in your own life?
I had trouble with this passage. After reading it a few times, I realize I must be one of those "dumb meditators." Feeling, observing, and moving through initial shame, I see it as a jumping-off point to learn more. As a result, I find a very helpful article at tricycle.org titled "Are You Practicing Stupid Meditation?" Much to chew on. Thank you.
I'm very grateful for this wonderfully articulate statement about the importance of both theory and practice. I have loved the quote from Kurt Lewin: "There is nothing so practical as a good theory." I personally amend this to say, "There is nothing so practical as the interplay of several good theories." We get a more complete picture when the blind spots in one framework are illuminated by the different perspectives of other frameworks. In my work I share the gems from Appreciative Inquiry, Trust Theory, Chaordic Design, Integral Theory, Theory U, Process Oriented Psychology and many others "lenses". The theories help others to see more dimensions and nuances in any given situation, and therefore to navigate better. I also think exposure to these theories is a potent way to grow consciousness: Our perception can shift profoundly and quickly thanks to the pointers that are at the heart of any good theory: As in, "This distinction is important/helpful." "Look here."[Hide Full Comment]
I love what Jagdish P Dave said, 'theory and practice are two wings of the bird of living." I agree we need both and that one is thought and one is action; we need them to move forward in understanding. However I would also point out there is a potential pitfall for many to become so attached to theory the action never comes or an action comes but without truly understanding human impact. I have witnessed this is my work at the World Bank where economists become so enraptured with their data and what they think the theory is that they do not always listen to the humans their work impacts to understand in *practice* what the outcome may be of their *theory* on paper. I hope this makes sense. In my own volunteer work in Belize, I leaped in without having all the theory behind what I was doing in training teachers to use their own cultural legends in their classrooms, this not knowing all the theory was a blessing in disguise as I was unaware that in theory it should not have worked as it did. So, there can be blessings too. I do believe we need both and not to become bogged down in either one. As always, balance is key. I hope this made sense. <3[Hide Full Comment]
According to my understanding theory and practice are two wings of the bird of living. Our thinking mind asks questions about what and why.Such explorations provide a theoretical foundations for application, action and practice. Without practice and experience, only theoretical knowledge or information does not have the taste of life.
I am very particular and careful about what I am putting into my mouth. I know food is medicine. I need to know and want to know what is good, nutritional and wholesome food. And I want to know the benefits of such food. But unless I put such information in practice, what good does it do? My grandson and I took an online course on Plant-based nutritional whole food course. The course offered very valuable scientific information. We were convinced and made a few changes in our diet.The action has sharpened our appetite to know more about diet and nutrition.
I am taking another online course on Science of Happiness. What is happiness? Why should we know about happiness? What are the benefits of living happily? It is up to me and others like me taking this course to apply what we learn from this course.
May we cultivate wisdom to live a fulfilling and growing life!
Jagdish P Dave
A theory is an idea, a possibility, a speculation. Practice is action. Theory encourages action to try out or test the theory, and practice provides action to support or dispute the theory. They work together well. My theory was that I could play basketball adequately well at 70 -- not as well as at 30, but still well. Long story short, I got into a basketball game with some guys in their 20s. After clumsily moving around on the court, missing passes and shots, falling over myself and injuring and probably breaking my big toe which still isn't completely healed after 6 months, data indicated clearly that my theory was inaccurate. Theory got me out on the court and got me playing. Practice put the theory to the test and woke me up to the reality that I'm not 30. I don't know whether my theories are true or false until I take action to test them. I can hear what others believe or learned, but I don't know for myself until I test the validity of my theories for myself. There is no teacher like personal experience/practice/action, even, maybe especially, when it hurts.[Hide Full Comment]
This passage feels so relevant. As someone who has read a lot of J.Krishnamurti, whose work is considered abstract by many, I know that its easy to go off into abstraction, without the slightest idea of what a particular concept might mean in practice in one's own daily life. In this context, direct experience of what is being communicated is key to learning. Without it, all the theory is just that.
I think a robust theoretical framework is very useful in spiritual endeavors. Given that there are so many teachers and practices out there, without a good understanding of the overall scheme of things, we are either likely to hang on to one practice or view and potentially become pedantic about it. With a robust framework that is malleable, flexible and open, one is free to examine new ideas, teachers and practices that one might come across. In fact, in my experience, the beauty of it is that you being to see the common foundation and threads across a spectrum of teachings.