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Meditation: The Art of Calming the Mind

Hamza, like any other human, wills to live consciously. I'm a life student who offers personal experiences to inspire individuals worldwide.


Meditation: The art of calming the mind

A brief history of you

Most of us are gifted with razor-sharp memories, remarkable ideal thoughts, rapid learning capabilities, great depth of vocabularies, long attention spans, high levels of alertness, and so forth. However, these things slowly fade away as one grows older. You start getting used to feeling less worthy, low willpower, less intentional acts among other negative thoughts. Concentration spans start diminishing and your mind tricks you to do nothing with some pretty compelling reasons because it already knows you. So you gradually form beliefs and habits that become hard-wired in your brain circuits. Your life becomes an aggregate of your past events as shaped by your environment. Yes, you are the architect of the complex matrix of “I can’t do this”. But all these can be reversed, and your body restored to its original status. Let us go through the process of taking a quantum leap in being mindful. What exactly is the mind? What is its purpose? How can an individual master the mind?

What is the mind?

The mind is composed of higher faculties that shape your cognitive and no-cognitive aspects. Perception, imagination, thinking, memory, judgment, and intelligence are some of the cognitive aspects. Non-cognitive aspects examples are emotions and intuitions. The conscious mind deals with the things you’re currently aware of, and they are the only ones you’re thinking of at a particular instance. On the flip side, the subconscious mind doesn’t subscribe to the focal awareness of that instance but has the largest control over your habits. The unconscious mind consists of an automatic process that you cannot introspect like the thought processes, memories, interests, and motivations.

You can see how the mind has access to a vast size of information about you and your gifts. If the mind is not nurtured, it can imprison a person in some sets of habits. This results in cases where you’re stuck at habits you consider detrimental, nonetheless, you find it quite a hustle sticking to a lifestyle you want. New challenges seem quite difficult to handle that your mind drives you back to the autopilot behaviors ingrained in your subconscious mind. It is quite hard to change a habit unless the paradigms running one’s mind change. The mind should not be considered a bad gift. It is the best tool to run the body like a machine more efficiently. It possesses a potent power strong enough to see a person through the toughest tides of life. Unlocking it is the only option of saving a person.

Mind: An Ocean of Ideas

Let us do a simple mindful exercise. I want you to find somewhere comfortable, it could be a seat or on the ground, and close your eyes. Try to observe your breaths without thinking just for 30 seconds. It is normal for flashes of thoughts to cloud your mind, but don’t let them carry you away. Don’t even worry about nor judge them. Just focus on your inhales and exhales. Only shift from a breathing action to the next when you notice the periodic pauses at the peak of either the inhale or the exhale. If you managed to hold for the entire duration without wandering off you must be having a good mindset. I couldn’t manage to hold for more than five seconds when I was starting. But why is this so? What makes it hard to take command from yourself? Think of it this way, your mind has access to a large pool of unprocessed information. It is constantly feeding on multiple information inputs, and when this information and thoughts are not organized they keep your mind preoccupied. This keeps you distracted and unable to focus. It’s just like talking. You can’t listen to anything if you’re talking the entire time. Likewise, when you are constantly thinking you will have absolutely nothing to think of apart from thoughts themselves.

The thoughts keep your mind busy analyzing the huge chunks of data, creating thoughts that keep you hooked up. That is why you find yourself doing things you have not planned for. For instance, your favorite song comes up, and you find yourself singing subconsciously. That’s a paradigm shaping your actions. You will notice that this is unusual when since you are not the one who gave yourself the command. Or sometimes your mood changes when a person walks in a room because you have your perception about them based on their past life events. The other example is when you’re assigned a task and the deadline is fast approaching. Instead of focusing on how you can best tackle the task, you find yourself worrying about how the work is above your capabilities. We notice that the mind gets easily disconcerted from the three examples, judges events, and worries when not trained.

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Creating Trains of Thoughts

How best can you restructure your mind? How do you create coherence in your thoughts? The answer to both questions is simple; organizing your thoughts. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to create your mind palace, nor Mahatma Gandhi to reshape that mind of yours. Mastering the mind isn’t meant to be a hard task for any mortal being. For thousands of years, the art of meditation has always been practiced by the Eastern religions to better control the mind, become more human. When you sit down to meditate, you get a chance to self-examine. All you have to do is to observe your thoughts without judging and trying not to wander off. The neural networks in your brain underlie most of the activities and use these circuits to create an autopilot program that drives you. You find yourself falling back to bad habits as the brain signals become less efficient. Through meditation, you learn to be mindful. Practicing meditation trains you to be super-conscious, to have great willpower, and increase your intentional acts. This helps you make better choices. Intentional actions stimulate neuroplasticity which activates the gray matter. You, therefore, won’t have a hard time grooming the newly sprouted neurons lest they fall to the autopilot ship. All you need is a comfortable place to sit, and you’re good to meditate. It is advisable to close your eyes to minimize distractions. Breathing exercises should be enough for beginners. Five or ten minutes of daily meditation will enable you to see some changes in your life. When you feel like the distractions have settled, try scanning your entire body from the crown to the toe. Numerous YouTube videos provided guided meditation for beginners that you can check out if you have an internet connection. Give yourself some time to learn this new art. I’m not saying that I can be quite hard, but I’m confident that you won’t regret it.

Key Takeaways

Your mind is the most powerful tool you can use to steer your life.

Your life is an aggregate of past events as shaped by your environment

Almost 90% of your activities are run on autopilot by the subconscious mind.

Meditation keeps you mindful and encourages neuroplasticity in the gray matter.

© 2021 Hamza Matea

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