Claude Parker, a Navy comrade of many years ago once told me that he could just sit around and think and learn stuff. He said he tapped into the universe for new knowledge and could assimilate facts from his memory. I thought the idea was preposterous.
I was wrong. Through this process he noted that elements of fundamental truths among unrelated things often correspond. For example: while thinking about questions on an intelligence test, he noted as fact that Paper is to pen as chalkboard is to chalk ;therefore, many of the characteristics of paper might apply to chalkboards and the same for pen and chalk – new facts to consider and assimilate.
A simple example yes, but it illustrates the underlying process of Stump Sitting (pronounced Stumpset’n). Stumpset’n involves clearing out those ingrained notions, attitudes, and prejudices that are queues for the repetitious sequence of everyday thoughts. Once the sequence is broken new facts can be observed.
Why is so much effort involved in solving everyday problems?
We don’t usually carry around problems looking for solutions but we carry a bag of solutions with us at all times. When a problem is encountered we reach into our bag for the solution. If we can’t find a solution that fits the problem, we lapse into a quandary and launch a sequence of thought to redefine the problem to match a solution in our bag. The path is set, redefinition follows redefinition and is not likely to lead to an effective solution.
Frustration is added as a new ingredient to the process. Further mental effort is demanded, intensifying the repetitious sequence. Our thoughts diverge further and further from the needed solution. It’s not until the sequence is broken that an optimum solution is reached.
Stumpset’n is not for solving specific problems but for practice in clearing the obstacles to unencumbered thought. It adds to your bag of solutions by creating new solutions, variations of old solutions, adding options, smoothing out and filling in details.
Find a stump in a quiet spot (physical or mental) where there is just you and God. Relax to the point your shoulders are no longer touching your ears. Observe nature, relive happy and triumphant events, savor the moment, and follow the threads of random thoughts until they become obscure or excite you to the point of action. Now you’re Stumpset’n. –CP