There are already tons of articles explaining the basic anatomy and the features of the human mind. This article is not gonna be some typical conventional approach to mesmerize or overwhelm you by telling how many neurons the human mind has or the fact that our brain is 70%water. It’s gonna be about how one can make the most out of the human mind, understanding how to declutter and reboot our tiny little brains, to you know, live a slightly better life.
So, before proceeding ahead, we are gonna do a small activity. I am gonna make you experience something which probably most of you have never experienced before in your life. Excited?
All right, so here’s the thing. For the next few minutes, shut down your laptop/mobile screens, go to a quiet place(no, I am not asking you to go to the caves of a mountain), and just simply be. Observe the space between you and objects. You have to keep mum, both from the outside and the inside. No talking, no thoughts, no movements, nothing. Just you and your consciousness.
What will happen is that, some thoughts are gonna prop up after a while—let them come. You don’t have to fight them. As soon as you realize that you went someplace else in your mind, just give a little nudge to your mind to come back. One can perform this activity even if he is outdoors—be it in a traffic jam or a restaurant. You don’t need to have any kind of thoughts about it, you just have to observe and be in complete silence for a few minutes.
OFF you go now! Shoo.
All right, now that you are back. How was it? Was it irritating? Boring, perhaps? Or did you feel stupid doing nothing? How long did you do it for—a minute? An hour? Ok, well I don’t really know how many of you even attempted doing it, but I am gonna assume you will give it a try once you read the full article where I will explain in detail why I made you do it in the first place.
Human Mind is an Exceptional Tool
You see, all the problems you have in your life, the root cause of it is none other than our pretty little human mind. Now, don’t take it otherwise, the human mind is probably the best instrument there was and ever will be in this world, only when we use it right. Just like a smartphone, an excellent tool as long as we utilize it the right way.
But if these instruments overpower and control us then the very same instruments which proved to be a boon become a bane for us in a snap of the fingers. And that’s what the story is with the human mind. The human mind has totally overwhelmed and subjugated us and how.
We keep on tirelessly running from one place to another in our minds, not knowing how to stop. That’s what we need to learn. To learn to stop, and that’s what that activity was all about. If you weren’t able to do it, then you are a living example of what I am saying here—we don’t know how to stop mentally. We are swamped in a bottomless pit of thoughts all the time.
Ask yourselves, “What is the longest you went without having any thoughts in your mind?” We are being bombarded with thousands of thoughts non-stop, day and night. This is precisely why we are not able to stay with a particular problem for long enough because we are just too mentally restless.
What’s the solution to this predicament? There are two kinds.
One is temporary, where I throw a bunch of shortcuts and tips and tricks to you, and you feed them all in your minds. But it’s probably not gonna work in the long run that effectively. Surely, it will have some effect, but you won’t even realize how quickly you go back to your normal life. Well, that’s why it’s a temporary solution. But lucky for you, I got a permanent one too.
It’s simple. You need to figure out the solutions to your problems on your own. Nobody knows your problems, your life situations better than you yourself, so it’s no brainer that only you can come up with solutions that serve you best. Your life is entirely different from mine. Your parents are entirely different from my parents, your relationships are entirely different from my relationships. Hence, it has gotta be you only who analyze your circumstances and act accordingly.
Millions of people are gonna read this article one day, but only a handful of them will notice a change in their life. If I really was the one who’s responsible for bringing a change, then I would have changed everyone’s life in an unbiased manner, but it’s not the case. Ultimately it all depends on you, how and when you want to change your life. The faster you understand that no one else is gonna do it for you, the quicker you will be able to change your life for good.
Declutter your Mind To Leverage it
Now, when can you understand your situation better? Only when you can patiently and calmly observe what they are actually all about. But since our minds are cluttered with an infinite stream of thoughts, we feel helpless, stupid, and incompatible.
It’s exactly like opening 20-30 applications on your mobile at once, which will do nothing but slow down the device. That’s why we remove the unused applications to speed up the device or restart the whole system when it hangs.
The human mind is also like a computer device, where too many open and unused applications slow us down and deteriorate the efficiency of performing a particular task. Besides, the more troubling part is that we don’t really know how to close these unused applications in our minds, which is holding us back. We don’t even know how to reboot our minds or how to shut down our minds for some time.
Whenever a particular application pesters us in real life—a setback of any kind, a fight with someone, a failure, or anything—we, instead of shutting that application down, open another one to keep us distracted. That’s the root cause of all the problems. Come to think of it, this seems like the only option left for those who don’t know how to shut down that application, or restart the system.
Let’s say this particular application ‘zeta’ is making your life miserable. Now, instead of shutting that application down, we will open a bunch of other applications to divert our attention. For some time, zeta would stop bothering us but it is still running in the background. The slightest contact (merely one simple thought about zeta), and the whole application will be up and running full throttle, right in our faces.
That’s the whole game of the human mind we need to familiarise ourselves with. The human mind craves pleasure and is terrified, petrified, mortified, and stupefied of pain. Those painful applications can vary for different people. And to counter them we run towards temporary pleasures which is not the solution. It can alleviate our pain for some time but as soon as we return to our normal life, we will find all those applications still up and running ready to smack us down. Instead of facing them, we are trying to run away from them.
Look Inside Your Mind
Most people keep on searching for the solutions on the outside, completely oblivious to the fact that all the answers lie inside us only. This is why we need to learn to stay, pause, stop for a while and reflect. We gotta learn to see things with patience. Start small, if you can start with as much as 5min a day of peaceful and calm observation, then that itself is a great start.
That’s what the essence of that activity was all about. But hey, in case you were wondering, I am not asking to stay stagnant for your entire life. Try to grasp the context of what I am trying to say. Aimlessly running from one place to another isn’t gonna get you anywhere in life anyway.
But not moving at all is even worse. It’s ultimately all about creating a balance. Taking a pause to analyze, visualize, and scrutinize your current scenarios in life, will ultimately increase your efficiency, proficiency, and competency in doing whatever it is you are doing.
Just like we delete the temporary files(.tmp) to free up space in our computer systems to boost up its productivity, similar is the case with the human mind. The more space it will have and the freer it is of useless clutter, the better its performance is gonna be. If somehow you can delete these temp files in the mind, refresh them, restart them—if only you can have a button to do these tasks—then that will increase the human mind’s productivity a thousand folds.
The Breathing Phenomenon
So, how can we achieve this? It’s actually quite simple. Whenever the human mind is overloaded and bombarded with one too many applications and we feel like restarting the whole system, simply shift your attention towards your breath. Simple enough? Breath is the most real thing there is, it’s always in the present moment. It is perhaps the strongest testimony to the fact that you are effing alive.
And focusing your attention on your breath will remind you of how freaking fragile life is. Right now you are breathing, the very next moment, maybe not. When you start seeing things this way, it changes your perception and relieves you of any underlying stress or burden you are going through. Breath is a formless entity. It is absolutely neutral. You will feel neither love nor hate, neither happiness nor sadness, neither excitement nor boredom—you will just become calm and still when focusing on the breath.
All the emotions are triggered in us whenever we come across a form. But the minute we encounter something that’s formless—we become absolutely neutral, we come at the center point. The problem arises when we identify ourselves with forms and get attached to them. Because then we make their problems our problems, their happiness our happiness, their sadness our sadness, and that’s an anchor pulling us down.
Attachments can pose a Problem
Doctors never get attached to their patients because they know that doing so will make it harder for them to operate. The minute they attach themselves with the patient, they will operate under a sense of fear, “What if something goes wrong?”, “What if I am not able to operate successfully?” and so on. And this fear because of attachment itself will become the biggest hindrance to a successful operation.
Now there are two types of attachment. One is where you are theoretically attached to the person in the eyes of the world. That’s all well and good. “She’s my wife”, “he’s my boyfriend”. This is just a role we are playing. But the other kind of attachment is where you get attached to the other person at the level of mind, which is pretty tricky. Here you forget that you are playing a role altogether.
This is where clashes become inevitable. You are basically trying to possess an independent person’s mind. The minute you try to possess someone at the level of your mind, then you would want the person to behave the way you think is best. If you are attached to your wife at the level of mind, then you would want your wife to behave in a particular way you seem fit. You think you can tell her what to do just because you have attached yourself to her.
When both the partners are attached to each other, then both of them want the other person to understand what they themselves are going through—both of them want the other to do what they think they should do.
Now, under these circumstances, it’s practically impossible for either of them to understand each other. The clashes and fights will keep on continuing until one of them tries to grasp the situation by completely detaching himself/herself. One can only see what the other person is actually going through when he let go of the attachment. You gotta become the third person trying to analyze the situation going on between you two in an unbiased way.
Only now you can find the solution to the underlying problem—deepen your understanding of your relationship—and expect to experience true love.
A Misunderstanding That’s Hindering Your Growth
There has been a huge mix-up that has impaired our understanding of how to play this game of life. The human mind thinks that in order to be happy we need to do something, or achieve something. We think that whenever we get so and so material things only then we can be happy or as soon as I find ‘the one’ I will become happy.
If you think about it, these are just ‘external causes’. In layman’s terms, this means that you are always dependent on something or someone for your happiness. Extracting happiness by anything that’s external is temporary. Neither the thing/person that supposedly makes you happy is permanent, nor the happiness you get out of it is gonna last forever.
You get a job promotion, you become happy for a day or week, then back to normal life. Your true lover who used to make you happy has now changed completely and is your biggest source of misery. But wait, not everything is doomed already. There is a state known as causeless happiness that does exist, at an experiential level. And how to experience it?
Well, this again goes back to that activity I asked you guys to perform. Just being fully alive in the present moment and seeing and listening to whatever’s happening around you is how you read that state. Remember, just because you are observing doesn’t mean that you have to respond, either physically or mentally. Simply experiencing the time flowing does the trick.
You don’t have to get something to achieve this state—you already have something right here, right now and that is the answer to everything you are looking for, but we never pay attention to it. The moment you pay attention to it, boom, everything changes, and I mean every damn thing.
It’s inside you. You don’t need your human mind to intervene or something to experience it. The second you get connected to it, then the thing you will experience is what’s called causeless happiness. It is probably the most realistic thing there is in this universe, but we are either too damn busy doing meaningless things or are effing ignorant to understand this.
If you have been following my blog, then you would already know by now what I am talking about. It’s the sound of silence. Most of you wouldn’t have a clue about it, so you can enlighten yourself here.
This thing is closer to you than you are to yourself. The human mind, which loves to time travel either to the past or the future, will ultimately have to cease doing these shenanigans once and for all. The whole world is like a never-ending film being played on a big screen. We are all busy just watching the film, but nobody is interested in focusing on the screen, which is actually the space between us, on which everything depends on.
Right now, you are looking at your respective mobile/pc screens. But the minute you look at the space between your eyes and the screen, what happens? The mind goes blank, just like that. The human mind can only think about a form, it cannot have thoughts about the formless, i.e space, in this example.
If you make the mind do something that it is not used to do, like watching the space, thoughts come to an end. You hear different kinds of sounds all the time, now try listening to the silence. When the human mind ceases its activities, the thing that is beyond the mind comes into the picture, and that’s what self-realization is all about. This is how you will reach the state of causeless happiness. Now you would no longer have any greed or fear of doing your work. You will do it to express your true nature.
Close the Pestering Apps in Your Mind
SO, I just talked about how to restart your system, aka the human mind, whenever things start overpowering and overburdening you. By simply observing something neutral—be it space, silence, sky, trees, or anything that makes your mind go blank.
Now comes the other exciting stuff—how to close the applications running in the system that’s an impediment. It can be anything—a business setback, getting fired from your job, or a breakup. These thoughts are gonna keep on haunting and pestering you again and again. So, how to close these situations once and for all?
Well, first of all, you don’t have to run away from them. The more you run, the more fearful you will become. Be like a lotus, blossoming in a swamp. You don’t even have to fight them—the more you try to fight them the more powerful you are making them. One just simply needs to observe them with a calm and cool mind.
Watch these thoughts like a film being played. Let them go wherever they want to, let them show you whatever they want to show. The human mind is perhaps the best filmmaker & director in the world. We all know how to watch a film now, don’t we? If you wanna watch the best film ever made in this world, just observe your mind, and appreciate its imagination.
For most of us, the minute we say to our mind, “Ok let me see what you have to show and where you are gonna take me now”—you will automatically come out of whatever situation it was that was pestering you and making you wallow in the sea of emotions.
The human mind loves to operate in the dark. Whenever our backs are facing the mind(not being fully aware of the situation), it shows and tells a ton of things that intimidates and frightens us. But the minute we turn, and see for itself what’s going on in our mind, it stops playing whatever it was that it wanted to play. As long as your back is facing the mind, it is gonna leverage your situation to keep on taking advantage of you. All you have to do is look directly into the mind.
The Theory of ‘Multiple Minds’
This is a rather fascinating theory. You think you have a single mind, but if you look closer you actually have multiple minds. Different mind comes into the picture based upon the different roles you play in your day to day life, and you are actually migrating from one mind to another, within a fraction of a second, day in and day out.
Mind here basically means the bunch of thoughts associated with a particular role you play. So when you are playing the role of a son, you are using a completely different mind as opposed to when you are playing the role of a father, and so on. The mind of the father in you is born the moment you look at, hear, feel, or think about your child. Your thoughts, your plans, your desires, your feelings, your emotions, your memories you have as a father is entirely different from you as a son.
One essentially becomes a totally different person when he is with his wife as opposed to when he is with his daughter. Your behavior, your body language, your way of talking—everything changes. Your roles can change, edit, or modify themselves, but the person performing those roles, aka the real you never change. And that’s the most important thing to understand.
Always remember, you create these roles, the roles didn’t create you. So never feel overpowered or overburdened by them. If in case you are no longer playing a particular role then the choice is in your hands what to do next. If today you are in a relationship, then you are playing the role of a girlfriend. In case of a breakup, you no longer will be playing your previous role, but instead, you will get a new role to play i.e. the role of an ex-girlfriend.
You don’t have to go into depression or become morose about it for the rest of your lives, you just have to elevate your understanding and see that even if it’s the end of a role, it is actually not gonna affect you at your deepest level—it always remains untouched.
The Human Mind is a fascinating tool. It can both put you on a pedestal and also obliterate you into a bazillion pieces.