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Aha moment

[ 2009-02-24 10:17]     字号 [] [] []  
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Aha moment

Reader question:

What is an "aha moment"?

My comments:

An "Aha moment" is a time when you say "Aha! Now I see."

In other words, Aha moments are times when you realize something, something that's been bothering you for a long time, such as a philosophical question for lack of a good choice – sane people like yourself with errands to run and money to make have no time for philosophical questions, I know(^-^).

Anyways, it's an answer you've been seeking but couldn't get.

Then all of a sudden, bang! You get it. It's there.

Yes, as though someone gave you a thump in the head and woke you up.

Or as if the lights were turned on in a dark room, as Americans say, and you saw it.

Or as if the scales finally fell from your eyes according to the British and you were able to see.

Or in idiomatic Chinese, an Aha moment is one of sudden realization or awareness, enlightenment as it was described in Zen teachings.

And in the hay day of Zen in this country – a long time ago to be sure, so don't bother with that – there were once two contradicting Zen schools co-existing, peacefully I may add, around the same time. One was called the sudden school, for lack of a better word, and the other, the gradual school.

The sudden school TAUGHT, as it were, pupils to PRACTISE "sudden realization" – total understanding of the fundamental principles of Buddhism and Taoism.

Or Buddhahood, Godliness, one's intrinsic human nature.

Or, if you insist, the indescribable Tao.

Needless to say, pupils seldom found their Aha moments, or THE Aha moment in there as sudden realizations, as it were, can not be taught – not in the way arithmetic and grammar are taught at any rate. They can be inspired, to an extent, but Aha moments usually do appear to come from within.

The gradual school, on the other hand, had no such problem as they believed in progress by degrees. Faculty felt encouraged, I imagine, any time a student came to understand anything of any form, shape or size.

In scientific discoveries, of course, people talk about their Eureka moment, the moment when they discover what had been eluding them for a long time.

If you're still confused, let's examine a few media examples – hope you'll find your own Aha moment along the way somewhere somehow:

1. An "Aha" moment is one of those times in your life that all the pieces fall into place. A moment of clarity that enlightens and actually changes you.

These moments, though they may be far and few in between, are defining moments where true knowledge has been gained and it is up to you to seize these moments and use this newly discovered wisdom to change your life.

There is almost always one of these "Aha" moments for all coaches. When we asked A. Drayton Boylston what his "Aha" moment was, this is what he had to say:

"My Aha moment took only 20 years."

- Your Aha moments, CoachTrainingAlliance.com, January 27, 2007.

2. "The aha moments grow out of hours of thought and study," Marggraff said. "If you look at my innovations, there's a common theme. I take something familiar, intuitive and ubiquitous and recast it in a manner that will redefine its use to drive profound change."

- Reassessing the Aha! Moment, International Herald Tribune, February 3, 2008.

3. It didn't matter that nobody really understood the essence of Zen. It was enough to know that it was some kind of Aha! moment, a mystical insight that could not be explained in words. That was part of its attraction—it was a feeling, an aesthetic, not an idea.

- Shaka Buddha, Hana Hou, magazine of Hawaiian Airlines, April/May 2008.




About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.