By: Edgar Espinosa

It is believed that mathematics is complex and needs a lot of study and effort to be learned, understood and above all used as a tool not only for everyday use, but to understand and relate a universe, where chaos and order are primary expressions that originate the existence of both a physical, measurable world and abstractions that have been the basis of many sciences and technologies.

Remember that the brain is not only memory, it is a hologram of the universe that contains schemes, structures, mental maps; its design is mathematical, it is proven that it has an immense potential of neuronal connections that are based on operability. In addition to an accumulation of satisfying integral experiences, as well as painful experiences that are permanently being processed by the entire nervous system.

Likewise, inadequate experiences are blocked as a self-protection strategy. However, when the organism has a climate of security and harmony, by not activating its biochemical resources to deal with tension, fear or mistrust, the energy is not used for creativity and learning, but to defend itself.

I have observed that children’s experiences in mathematics are positive when they do it with pleasure, in a playful and experiential way; the opposite happens when they are forced to sit and repetitive exercises are imposed to be memorized, which they find boring, not interesting at all, this is one reason why they soon lose interest and do not enjoy it.

Therefore, the learning of mathematics with concrete didactic materials contributes to understanding, is interesting because they are stimuli that are perceived, are attractive and satisfy cognitive needs. Internally, what happens is that there are neuronal links that, upon perceiving the stimulus, the child feels attracted and interacts because it is motivating and a complex and vast cognitive network is created naturally, where numbers, operations and concepts acquire meaning for the individual.

The didactic operating material for mathematics allows a fascinating display of visible and colorful coherent geometric designs, that with constant practice, self-discovery arises naturally and autonomously, that inexplicable joy of “noticing”, “this way is faster” or “aha I’ve got it”.

The ability to realize, to see relationships, to glimpse that there is something to discover causes curiosity, there is a neurological stimulation of satisfaction and above all there is amazement.

“With a natural glow, personal satisfaction is a deep state of harmony and well-being that implies maintaining a coherence between one’s expectations and the processes that are triggered for the personal experience; the passion with which one lives is just a consequence of the learning dynamics when the subject is active.

When taking into account that the feelings experienced when something is done produce well-being due to the success or discomfort due to the setback suffered, it should be noted that, in the second case, we are conditioned not to accept the mistake. For example, making decisions is a pleasure in itself, because one has identified what one wants, and making it a reality for oneself becomes an achievement, which evidences the capacity of the human being to provide happiness for oneself, even if the desired results are not obtained.

In the midst of an imposed belief system, we could well be left without our own north and give up on our goals, for the simple fact of “obeying our superiors”, in spite of having clear purposes.

When it is imposed, we already taste disenchantment, because we are not taken into account; not having been part of the decisions from the beginning interferes in the attitude with which we undertake any activity. In taxation, “duty” prevails over “will”.

In a broader sense, a new perspective on life may contradict the old parameters. For example, it is believed that to achieve a goal you have to sweat it, you have to make an effort; on the contrary, when you see that a person enjoys it, you doubt if what they are doing is really contributing to their life or if it is just entertainment.

There is also the belief that “in the childhood years we are incapable of finding solutions to problems without the help of an adult”; furthermore, that “only at school do we learn” or that “a child damages everything because he or she is naughty”. These “apparent truths” with which they have defined our life, at certain moments are ties that prevent us from acting, that make us doubt our own capabilities.

In the same sense, if we have already identified that this interferes with us in a forceful way, won’t it be pertinent to have one’s own belief system in order to live as one believes? It is then about “living as I want”, to find the meaning of my existence and, for the same reason… to feel pleasure when I discover, when I do the things I have decided because I want to do them. And beware that we do not put rebellion, but passion in what we say and do.

On the path of self-discovery, we encounter new perspectives on life that we find fascinating and that add to our understandings of what we want. Once we discover what we believe in and how we want to live, we will be able to feel pleasure in the multiple experiences in which we are involved and develop, because they will have arisen from our corazonar (understood as feeling the thought or joining the heart to the reason).

Psychologist Alvaro points out: “In each beat, the heart generates electromagnetic waves. When these follow an orderly and repetitive pattern, it is said that the heart enters into coherence. And this state of cardiac coherence is transmitted to the brain. Science indicates that cardiac coherence is an indicator of health.” (Tomas Alvaro. Article, Your heart changes your brain, Rev. Healthy Mind No. 135. 2017: 56).

All activity involves neurochemical processes, whose communication channel is the bloodstream that carries the information from the heart to the brain, so that it is the one who approves it and so that together (brain and heart) make the necessary actions. Apparently, consistent decisions are a consequence of communication between the two, as long as the signals are picked up and processed, which is an indicator that the needs are real”.

When the subject has his or her own experience from the beginning of the process, personal motivation is the first step and is what leads to the decision to avidly investigate a specific topic. Therefore, each interest becomes a search that does not end with the “eureka!”, because they can be “ephemeral” instants that give us a momentary sensation of self-satisfaction, which in some cases are the result of a project that was already in the making. In this sense, they are not isolated processes; they are often complements or triggering elements of latent phenomena.

In the different educational contexts in which I have participated, I have observed that when there are moments of concentration in the child or young person, they enjoy it, they are immersed in the activity and identify the logic, the rules and foresee the next steps, that is when I interpret that there are connections and reactions to stimuli and surprising responses; they are almost always emotional manifestations of well-being that are expressed with the exclamation “aha, I got it, aaahhh!

This includes the bioenergetic level, manifestations with intense internal energetic, emotional and neuronal movements that occur in the face of self-discovery. Perhaps, due to the spontaneity of this magical “click” we think that it is momentary and that it will not have major repercussions, but it implies a higher level of complexity and, obviously, new undertakings, procedures and goals. While we are looking for the meaning of the sensations and neural connections, it seems to us that we cannot link it to the emotion of joy alone, as they may have been on the basis of a previous feeling of frustration or a need for survival.

The interjections: aha, I got it, or eureka! are not only a topic proposed in this text, but a concern that several scientists have wanted to decipher. And, over the years, it has been a permanent motivation to ask, what happens inside a person when he or she manages to understand something?

We have all experienced the wonderful feeling of finding solutions, of understanding, of seeing clearly something that was not clear, even if we have been delayed in the attempt. It is about understanding about the magical and mysterious activity of the brain and its unfolding in learning; I believe these are areas with different levels of complexity.

In this regard, it is pertinent to quote Dr. Antonio Damasio, And the brain created man:
“Understanding connection diagrams is a good way to begin to understand what the brain does and how it does it. But this is no simple task, as the wiring diagrams undergo considerable changes throughout the development process and throughout life. We are born disposing of certain connection patterns that have been installed following the patterns of our”(…)

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