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The Art of "Surfing the Himalayas"

A university student majoring in art attended some free classes given by a couple of Rama students where they gave out copies of Ramaís books to the people who came. She began reading "Surfing the Himalayas" and one week later, the same student came to class in great excitement, explaining how much the book had helped her in her art studies.

"Oh?" said one of the teachers, who was not sure what the art student meant as she couldnít for the life of her remember any conversation between the young American snowboarder and the Tibetan Buddhist monk Master Fwap in the "Surfing" novel about art history.

"Yes!" said the art student excitedly. "The chapter where Master Fwap talks about lines and circles!" **

The teacher smiled and hoped like heck the art student was going to connect the dots as she still wasnít sure where this was going. Maybe the art student had been given an assignment for a painting class to explore geometric forms?

"I love all my studio art classes, but Iíve been having a terrible time with the art history classes we are required to take, because I just canít make the connections between the art history classes and what I am doing in the studio classes. And then, suddenly, reading this book, I saw my problem.

"I have been arranging all the information from art history in a long line in my mind, and I have been thinking all the information must build on top of each other. Once I put all the information from art history into a circle and stood in the middle of the circle, I could pick and choose what I needed and what was appropriate for the studio class! It was just the most amazing revelation. I feel so free!" explained the art student in triumph.

And sure enough, when the teacher reviewed the book again, she realized a discussion about relational thinking that had meant so much to her in her own computer work could easily have such meaning to an art student:

Master Fwap says, "Let us say that we have placed a great deal of information along a straight line." He explains normally one might travel from end of the line to the other in order to reach a given piece of information.

"But suppose we took the same data and arrange it along the circumference of the circle--and then let us further suppose we sat down in the middle of that circle of data," he suggests, reconfiguring the entire arrangement so that the person in the middle of the circle can now reach out and access any piece of information easily.

This is the revolution of "relational" thinking versus "hierarchical" thinking and watching the explosion of happiness on the art studentís face, the teacher felt very humbled to see its application in a new area, one she herself would never have described in class.

 

**excerpt from page 183

 

     


Surfing the
Himalayas

Surfing the Himalayas

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