The Magic Pill
What if there existed a magic pill that can improve your health help, you live longer, build creativity, help discover your true self and ultimately make you happy. How much would you pay for a pill like this? What if it were free? Well, that pill exists and it’s called mindfulness.
The trouble with thoughts
We have on average, 60,000 thoughts a day. Now the trouble is most of the thoughts are over about the past, worried about the future. Our minds can often be our worst enemy and negative fault patterns can lead to stress anxiety, depression and, in turn, will affect our physical health. To demonstrate how little control you have over your mind, try this. Close your eyes and think of a blue lion. Now do it again, but this time close your eyes and think of a blue lion and only of a blue lion for one minute – don’t, let any other thought interrupt you. I bet you can’t.
Why is that? Well, it’s. The nature of the mind to wonder, and you’ll notice, that as soon as you attempt to concentrate only on the blue lion within a few seconds, another thought will pop into your mind, like this exercise is silly, I’m hungry or what is this all about? It’s because our mind never ceases to throw random thoughts our way. Mindfulness helps us to take back a little of that control. It helps to develop tools allowing us to not only notice these thoughts as they appear, but also allow us to choose the way we respond to them.
The Dog and the Lion
Imagine standing in front of the dog with a bone in your hand, waving it left to right, then throw the bone. What would a dog do? Now imagine standing in front of a lion again waving the bone in its face, and then you throw it? What do you think the lion will do? The lion might attack or might not. The point is the fundamental difference between the mind of a lion and a dog. The bone represents all of reality to the dog. The lion can see beyond the bone and has a choice on how to respond to the situation. Who is the king of the jungle? Who is the king of the inner jungle?
The brain is a muscle and it can grow just as our muscles in the body need to be exercised. So do the muscles in the brain. Mindfulness is like doing a set of mental push. As a thought enters your mind, this is the beginning of the push-up. The completion of the push-up is one being aware of default without judgment and two, bringing your attention back to the breath. It’s that simple. The next thought that pops into your mind is the beginning of the next mental push-up. Scientists have shown that, just after eight weeks of practice, the parts of the brain responsible for the positive stuff, like creativity, emotional intelligence and happiness physically can change, shape and grow. The amygdala responsible for the fight-or-flight mechanisms related to stress, depression and addictive behaviors actually shrinks during this time.
Everyone is doing it. You can too.
The scientific evidence is so strong now, mindfulness is being employed in places like Google, Bank of America, the US Marines and the National Health Service. More profoundly, simple mindfulness exercises can give you a new lens in which to see yourself and the outside world without the ego and also your relationship with the present moment. It has nothing to do with religion and it’s helping us to enjoy life be happy and ultimately allow us to help others.