Self Help Advice Concerning The Matter Of The Mind
The self help advice in this article will be relevant to you, regardless of who you are, because it has less to do with self help advice and more to do with 'who you are'. And we're all somebody.
Specifically though, this article has to do with whether or not your mind is still 'crawling' or now 'walking'.
And only in using your own mind will you truly be able to determine how 'mature' your own mind is.
That, to me (and to a great many philosophers down through the centuries), is simply incredible!
So, firstly, a definition...
MIND: That which is responsible for one's thoughts and feelings; the seat of the faculty of reason.
Secondly... a self help advice video (from the TED website) which doesn't DIRECTLY concern the topic of one's self improvement, and which you don't NEED to watch to understand this article, but it will add nicely to the article if you do watch it.
And thirdly... the first main part of this article...
The Power Of Simple Beginnings
Wherever you are right now, observe your surrounding environment.
Know that every single item you see originated as an idea in someone’s head, perhaps even your own.
That particular wallet, that particular cellphone, that particular alarm clock, that particular rubbish-bin, that particular candlestick, those particular earphones... they all began as DREAMS that were eventually made real.
Have you ever considered that, but deeply?
Nothing that is MADE could have come into this world if it hadn’t first SIMPLY been an idea in the mind of a person.
The chances are it was merely an adaptation of something that came before, but still. A car is simply an adaptation, ultimately, of a horse, but most would concur that it is nonetheless a very valuable invention.
Even though my pet bird is a living creature, she too represents the product of an idea, because she is a pet, and to tame and keep wild animals until a certain domestication can come about is an idea that began a very long time ago in the head of someone else. You and I are also products though of other people’s ideas, as well as our own. We wear particular clothing, we are drawn to certain music, we avoid foods that we find unpleasant to our preferred tastes, but these are not even the deeper ideas to which I am referring.
Because we can communicate with language, we can think with words that we were taught when young, and our thinking (our using learnt words silently in the recesses of our minds) allows us to further change the world in whatever capacity we might be able to.
Sounds... then words... then sentences... then the beginnings of ideas... then fully fleshed out thoughts... then actions performed as a result of our surmisings and desires and necessities... then reality physically being changed... then reality - in a larger sense - sometimes also changing... and other people who you know or wish to know or no longer wish to know having their reality changing as a result too. And we continue this process over and again in all different ways. And the results of other peoples’ thoughts also influence our reality over and over again. And eventually we die. But the ability to think thoughts into reality never does, because life on this world continues and will hopefully continue for a long while yet. But in whatever manner it all eventually ends - for better or worse - it all began with sounds. Sounds! Grunts actually, if you take evolution into consideration.
So being able to THINK and MAKE SOUNDS + having a certain degree of INTELLIGENCE = THOUGHT and LANGUAGE. And thought and language = a possibly UNLIMITED POTENTIAL as to what we may be able to accomplish given enough time. Which brings me to the next part of my point.
The Potential Potential Of One's Mind
We don’t just have one mind.
We don’t even merely have a division between the academic mind or emotional mind or whatever other category takes your fancy in this department of psychology. For instance: we have a different academic mind when we’re in a relaxed environment as opposed to a traumatic environment. A different emotional mind when we’re around Person A as opposed to when we’re around Person B. Maybe around our loved ones we are more susceptible to succumbing to feelings which we might not so easily show in a work environment where professionalism counts too greatly to risk showing these ‘weaknesses’.
No wonder it is so incredibly difficult for one person to be analyzed to the point where every aspect of them is to be understood. Quite simply, our minds are too complicated to make this possibility very probable (for now).
No wonder it is so thoroughly impossible to put the puzzle of existence together - seeing what lies ahead clearly in every respect - because this would involve fully understanding every person’s mind in the world, which will most likely NEVER be possible.
Here’s what fascinates me about our ability to think consciously though...
While you could never physically touch your own mind or another person’s, 'mind' is the one thing which touches upon everything else.
Every thought and feeling which leads to all that our physical reality is comprised of started off merely as an idea/ ideas in that very top part of the human body, somewhere inside the brain... as I already stated. But in a different way. Don’t worry, I find it’s just best to sometimes rephrase certain points, in other lights, to show their true value. So I’ll do it once more, and again in a slightly different manner.
Every civilization in the world, since whatever the first civilization happened to be, looked the way it did because of different and uniquely individual groups, made up of uniquely individual minds, working together and building upon the foundations of what other uniquely individual groups of uniquely individual minds had already made of the world. It’s absolutely true that a civilization’s ubermind can be comprehended very accurately by looking at what BELIEFS and ENTERTAINMENTS that civilization holds (or held) in the highest esteem.
And that just blows me away!
Every time I think about it, actually, it overwhelms me so greatly I can’t precisely grasp what an amazing concept it is.
And my being blown away by this entire ‘matter of the mind’ blows me away more-so, because think about it: ‘my mind itself’ is being blown away by the idea of ‘the mind itself’. It’s like looking into a microscope only to see your own eye looking back at you. Creepy and crazy, but most definitely also awesome.
But it’s sad too that so many people don’t realize how incredible an ability it is to be able to think consciously.
I don’t say this, however, because ‘I feel we do not fully appreciate our conscious selves and therefore that’s wrong’. I say this because if people knew that this tool we’ve called a mind is ultimately the most powerful instrument each and every one of us has in our possession, we would more likely use our own minds more fully, having far more self-aware existences and understanding nature and the nature of humanity very possibly far more-so than we already do. We could learn more accurately how to attain goals which might otherwise seem too far out of our reach and we could have the sorts of relationships with ourselves and with others that we truly want. And far more.
And now a slight veering in direction, but still holding true to the topic.
A VERY Important Point
There are rules, everywhere in the world, concerning when a person is legally allowed to marry.
This, for many reasons, is a good thing; but I sometimes wonder if we overestimate when we will most likely be emotionally mature enough to get married, let alone to have intercourse. I think many assume this age would be after puberty, but if this is so, it shouldn’t be the case, because this is not when most people become emotionally ‘mature’; rather, this is when people become emotionally ‘more stable’. Or even more accurately put: this is when most people become more emotionally ‘less unstable’.
I’ve seen forty year olds who aren’t ready to marry, and I’ve seen twenty year olds who are. One’s physical age, very often, means very little opposed to one's mental age.
Most of us know that emotional maturity does not match the age one happens to be at the time, but I believe most people DON'T know how emotionally mature they themselves may be, which makes sense, because how can one estimate something like this? One's academic standard (or ability) is assessed via way of testing, and large volumes of academic results are then weighed against each other, and statistics are formed. But I have never seen a test that TRULY determines VERY ACCURATELY a person’s emotional maturity levels. That said, I do know it doesn’t simply have to do with something as trivial as 'how kind a person may be'.
I personally believe emotional maturity comes LARGELY with self-examination.
Did you notice I put the above word ‘largely’ in caps? Thought so, but I had to check anyway. You see, it wasn’t a mistake. It’s because this is the most important thing I’ve so far written. By my own estimation, granted.
I’ve thus far ascertained in my life that emotional maturity and self-examination go hand in hand. And maybe hand in hand with other hands too, but that is not where I’m wanting to take this article just yet.
So if I believe self-examination is so thoroughly important, then here are two questions you might be pondering over...
1) What type of self-examination am I specifically talking about?
2) How would you examine your psychological workings in this manner?
In answer to these two possible questions you were possibly pondering...
1) I’m talking about who you are inwardly and outwardly, who you are when you’re alone as opposed to with other people, in what way you think other people regard you (and what this means to you), and how you generally are in your day to day life. For starters.
2) You’ll find the answers to these questions by thinking and observing, as well as not being afraid of the truth... whether it’s your own or another person’s. Again: for starters.
You’ll find some painfully unattractive aspects regarding yourself along the way, but also many unexpected pleasures (I honestly believe we’re all far more fascinating than we know, for one thing) and ultimately, as a result of examining your life, you’ll become wiser, stronger, healthier, and happier (happier as a result of becoming wiser, stronger, and healthier). For enders. For now.
But back to spreading things out more specifically again.
Getting into the habit of asking yourself questions (even when the answers seem obvious) is the first part of the process.
Often we think we know the answers to certain questions, but those answers are merely answers to questions that other people fed us at an impressionable age or at a time in our lives when we may've been feeling vulnerable (as we may've felt alone or scared or infatuated with someone, etc), so we grew into these ideas that seemed right at the time; but still, your beliefs and temperaments in lieu of your life and the world must be examined by your own self first before such decisions are made about who you are or who you really wish to be, and how you will become who you wish to really become.
If somebody says you’re a good person, then why do they say this? And who are they in relation to you? Another way of self-examining is to ask others to be specific when they’re referring to you in whatever the respect. Even if there’s no respect in whatever the respect. Apart from my trying to be clever though, with that little play on words, I’m meaning to say that if a person is critical of you in either a flattering or a disparaging manner, ask them why they say what they say. If they can answer you, and if they have unfounded reasons (or unclear reasons) for their opinions concerning you, then ask YOURSELF why you think they said what they did. Furthermore, ask yourself why they are in your life and what this says about you.
At first people will be surprised if you question them on such matters, especially if you’re questioning them for complimenting you, but I highly recommend you do this anyway because you’ll often find out gems of information when another person had just assumed you knew what meaning was behind their words. The most valuable aspect concerning your getting into the habit of examining your life, by questioning all of the elements in it, is this, however...
Thinking is more important than wondering what to think about.
At first your internal questions may seem ridiculous - or perhaps you’ll often miss the mark, landing yourself in no new territory of understanding yourself at all - but training yourself to have a questioning brain is firstly and foremostly the most important thing you can do because if your brain doesn’t naturally question the details of the reality that comprise your own existence, then you’ll find it quite hard to become otherwise self-aware. To repeat this last point in as simple terms as I can though...
Asking questions is more important than knowing what questions to ask, in concerns to your life, because this teaches the brain to eventually ask questions naturally and often, which will in turn eventually make you a master ‘question asker’, if not also a master ‘question answerer’.
So when you’re alone, instead of spending that time stuck on how bored you might be, question yourself silently regarding the reality of your own local universe.
- How has the human race possibly changed over the course of decades or centuries or millennia?
- How have we remained the same?
- What might you have in common with a commoner of 18th century London?
Maybe you know more about ancient Rome though, so let your mind roam to this point in time instead, should this be the case.
Don't be afraid to think.
Never be afraid to think.
It doesn’t matter where you wander in your wonderings, you see? It just matters that you start letting your mind randomly explore the concept of self-questioning, self-observation and self-reasoning. And soon that random meandering will illuminate into patterns that will teach you unexpected things about yourself.
Have you ever considered that maybe romantic love often ends so terribly because it is in opposition with evolution?
Love, from the perspective of evolution, is perhaps similar to a cancer.
I do not believe this at all about love, I should at this point point out, and I’m not opposed to evolution either, because it is a wonderful ability that all life possesses. But love - in contrast with evolution - may be akin to being a cancer because it is something that begins as lust (which is good for evolution’s sake, and my apologies to any romantics out there for saying it like it is) but then that love/ lust becomes something more... it becomes a way of two people wishing to remain together, which doesn't help the bloodline of a person’s genes to spread out as much as evolution would have it; for the more one can spread one’s life out, the more likely that one’s family line will then survive on. Therefore love prevents evolution from doing its job properly, and maybe it is therefore evolution that somehow - very often - creates primal mindsets in people that destroy their original love they had for each other. Just a theory though. But if there’s an element of truth to it - no matter how minuscule or large - then it is a theory that affects possibly every type of life on Earth, including your own. That said, how many of your relationships perhaps ended because your genes naturally don’t want you to feel comfy day in and day out with the same person, so you don’t? Again though: just a theory. And not a scientific theory, but rather a question masquerading as a hypothesis at best. But remember: questions are good, whatever they may be. And questions which ultimately concern your own self are HUGELY GOOD.
As far as I understand, ‘thinking consciously’ is a chemical and 'electrical' process in our brain, which is all part of a biological framework; therefore the process of thinking was a tool given to us by nature, because everything comes from the physical universe to begin with. But maybe ‘thinking consciously’ was a tool given to us by nature because evolution was tired of being a purely spontaneous action in our genes. Having a brain means we can make ourselves (our minds and bodies) and the world we live in more evolved, and we can choose SPECIFICALLY how to do this. Now I know, of course, that evolution is not a living entity in any respect (or a colony of living entities, for that matter) sitting around somewhere inside of our DNA, improving us, but getting frustrated that they have to. No, evolution is simply an incredible mechanism that helps improve us (all life, that is) but I choose to personify it to make this question more fun.
So if evolution did give us a thinking consciousness for the very purpose that we could then choose to evolve on our own terms, then how would you most like to evolve, since the choice is yours?
An animal can only be true to its nature... a shark can never be a vegetarian, and a nocturnal creature can never choose to suddenly only ever be awake during the day, and a bird can never decide that 'only walking’ is actually better than it’s habit of mostly 'only flying’ (I exclude those few birds that can't fly, of course), but humans can be more than what our genes dictate we should be.
We wanted to fly, so we found a way. We wanted to explore the oceans, so we found a way. We wanted to explore the world entirely, so we found a way. We want to explore the universe, so we’re finding ways.
What do you want that seems impossible? Because maybe it’s not. Or maybe it is, but only for now.
People very often see themselves as being this body that has within it a brain that houses, in some small corner of it, a conscious mind. But that's wrong. The mind is what's big and the body is small. Unless the mind makes the body big. But never forget: life’s not just about living physically, it’s also about living mentally. Don’t just survive, survive in the way that brings you the most pleasure. But first find out what you REALLY most desire (not just what you think you most desire) by first understanding yourself as fully as you can. Truly discover what makes you and thus what drives you. Then strive to live to your full mental capacity because then you’ll very possibly be able to. Which brings me to my third last final point.
Your Social Life Is Not A Matter To Be Taken Lightly
Consider broadening your circle of friends.
If you find that you’re with a group of people (or a variety of groups of people) who don’t encourage a questioning mind, find people who do, because they obviously particularly value this way of thinking themselves, and that’s good. It’s great actually!
It’s not necessary to drop friends in your life though (unless you feel they’re actively draining your potential to be a higher ‘you’), but add people into your life who are open-minded, even if they’re not necessarily brilliant. This is the most important hyphenated word I could use, by the way. Open-minded. These people, I often find, are generally more secure in themselves, and therefore not afraid of thinking ‘differently’, which possibly is what makes them open-minded.
But open-minded people are not always the extravagant ones, or the ones who make the most hilarious or shocking comments at a party. Often they fit right in with everyone else, so are not always easy to spot and befriend. But if you put aside shyness, and safely approach strangers at friends’ parties (for lack of a better ‘safe’ situation I can think of) you will find that truly open-minded people exist in plentiful amounts, and come from all different walks of life. One of my closest friends is the head of her educational department, and exceptionally open-minded, even though many, I suspect, do not know it.
My Second Last Final Point...
Expose yourself to different multimedia.
If you choose to always read a certain type of book, resist that book for now, and turn your attention instead towards something the likes of which you’ve never read before. If possible, stick with something that you know is of high quality though, lest you become put off from leaving your comfort zone again of only allowing your mind to live in one genre of entertainment. And when I speak about multimedia, I am of course referring to music and all the other arts which you might enjoy letting your senses be a contented slave to.
My rule of thumb is that I will read any material (or watch any movie or listen to any song, etc) that is both ORIGINAL and took some obvious SKILL to piece together.
My Final Last Point...
(I’m being redundant on purpose, by the way)
Remember that EVERYTHING starts off small.
A kind gesture can be the beginning of a friendship.
A cruel joke can be the start of a relationship crumbling into dismal failure.
A single thought can lead you into one day becoming an astronaut or a professional dog-walker.
One sentence spoken to you by a total stranger can lead to your having a complex or a confidence in yourself that becomes extreme in proportion one day.
So whatever thoughts you choose to have, or to incorporate from another person, remember that the more you think about a certain thought, the more power you give to that thought. This can be good or bad, amazing or terrible, or something else entirely.
So as much as you should embrace the idea of more often questioning and thinking about reality, and your personal reality specifically, remember that ideas can go in any direction, so don’t be careful concerning what you think about; be careful, rather, in regards to what you choose to think about A LOT.
To Sum Up
Everything comes from the mind, so thinking is the most powerful tool we have. You can use this tool to improve yourself (and your life also, therefore) by self-examination. And you can self-evaluate by incorporating the following habits into your life (amongst other things)...
1) Become accustomed to asking yourself (and others, if you’re comfortable doing this) as many questions regarding yourself as you can. For instance: ‘who are you?’ and ‘why do you do what you do?’ and ‘what do you really believe?' and 'what do you believe because of what others have told you to believe?’.
2) Incorporate open-minded friends into your life, where possible. They’re not always easy to find, but if you actively speak to new people (in ways that won’t endanger you, just to reiterate) then you’ll come across them in all different areas.
3) Expose yourself to media that you would normally otherwise avoid. But don’t just read outside your most preferred entertainment zone; let your senses taste new things that have quality built into them too. I’ve never been particularly drawn to autobiographies, but I know people who are. So when I wish to one day try an autobiography out, I’ll ask a reliable friend, who knows more about the subject than I do, what autobiography really stayed with them because, in their opinion, it was an intelligent, entertaining, and moving read.
4) Everything starts small, and many small actions become a big part of your reality. Don’t concern yourself about possibly thinking the wrong thoughts though because you fear they may be damaging to your psyche, just monitor what thoughts you continue to think and build up in your mind. Not all bad thoughts will lead to dangerous conclusions, but 'one consistent way of thinking' might land you in a situation that you DON'T want to be in SIMPLY because it’s not as comfortable a situation as you might otherwise have been led to.
So EXAMINE the world around you.
Remember that EVERYTHING physically made by man came from that non-physical part of ourselves called The Mind.
In other words: The Mind is the most successful tool human beings have, to date, that can create other tools.
So what shape do you wish to give to your reality and the reality of others?
How will you CONSCIOUSLY choose to use your mind?
Yes, there's a tremendous amount to think about.
Isn't it wonderful that there's never any time to be bored?
OTHER RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
* The Power Of The Subconscious Mind
* Brain Enhancement Tests
* Self Improvement That DOESN'T Work
* Self Improvement Tips
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