How to study the material on this site

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This was written in response to a reader of ERW, asking how he could systematize studying articles on ERW. --John Eagles 11 April 2012

There's already a lot on the site and this is only the beginning. I've much more that needs to be uploaded. It's only with enough material that i'll be able to make the site into a curriculum, which i have planned to do. When that's the case, students will be guided through the different courses.

Until that time: Different methods can be used. Yes, there's terribly much to be known and understood, and once we get deeper grasp, more questions arise. My own method is to focus on a certain topic during a certain time period of several weeks or months. Then i take several hours each day for this. That time is basically divided in three stages:

  1. Reading a text and then doing research of parts of the content. Researching can mean to look up more about certain people mentioned, checking historical data, following external links and 'see also' links etc. Make notes of what you find interesting. This research is not always possible as some topics are more internal.
  2. Studying the text in more depth. Make notes for yourself. Check for each paragraph if you understood the content. Try to memorize in your mind a summary of an entire chapter or essay. Write down questions and try to find the answers.
  3. Pray about the notes you made, both of the text and of what you found in your research. Take enough time to pray, contemplate, meditate until you feel you got a deeper grasp of what you needed to know for that day. Also write this down. Sometimes you get inspiration for new study or research tasks for yourself.

You will see that what you're going to keep in yourself as real learning is what came out of 3. In a sense, the rest (1. and 2.) is not so important. It's basically external knowledge that won't really change your life and won't change you as a person. What came as result of 3. is the real result of your study. That knowledge will become part of yourself.

Another good method is reading a certain number of pages each day. For example, i read the DP book more than 50 times. Keep this discipline over many years. You can make notes and pray about what struck you while reading. It's not really studying what you do. It's picking up some aspects of truth that fit into your current stage of life. But you do need to contemplate and pray after the reading, in order to internalize whatever content was important for you that day. Eventually, all these bits and pieces of insight are going to form a solid base of understanding in yourself.

The difference with the first method is that for the second method you choose a book or a collection of articles and you read page after page. In the first method, you choose a topic for a certain time period. Both are good methods as they guide you through material in a systematic way.

In addition to these methods: It's a good discipline to make organized files of your notes and of texts that you studied. These files can take the form of a personal encyclopedia. In this way you can later study what you assembled in files about certain topics and you won't lose what you learned earlier. In my own computer i have a personal encyclopedia with over 60,000 files. It's a bit organized like Wikipedia, with many cross-links. In order to allow for making such links in my own computer, i set up the encyclopedia as a private website.

Finally, you can always ask me questions. Also this is a good method to deepen the understanding, not only for the reader but also for the author, me in this case. We have planned to add a function of social interaction to the ERW site, but that hasn't been made yet. Until that function is operative, you can always write me emails or write a question on our new FB page.