The Secret to LifeArticles 1 to 5.
1. Are You Trapped in the Matrix of Your Mind 22. Getting to Know The Creature You Call Your Mind 53. Your Mind Can Be An Ally And Greatest Enemy 84. How to Master Your Mind 115.
The Wonders of Having a Strong Consciousness 14 1. Are You Trapped in the Matrix of Your MindHave you wondered what life is about and how you can live to your fullest potential I hope to give you an idea in weekly articles over the next five weeks.Remember The Matrix, the hugely popular and successful film trilogy This science fiction movie revolves around how man??™s over-dependence on robotics and artificial intelligence led to machines taking over the world.In the human??™s losing war against the machines, man irreversibly scorched the sky, blocking out the sunlight which is the machines??™ source of power. Man won the next few battles but eventually lost the war, when machines, in all their genius, learnt how to harness energy from man??™s body! Thus, human fetuses were grown in electronic fields, harvested and kept in cocoons where energy such as heat and electrical impulses from the body are harnessed. The human mind is kept alive by being connected in a computer programme called The Matrix ??“ which simulates the world as it was before the machines took over. Thus, humans went about their ???lives??? in the virtual reality world of The Matrix.
We were essentially reduced to human batteries for the machines.Don??™t you think this is a scary and dismal thought of the future But what if I told you that many people today, in this real, tangible world of ours, are indeed living in some kind of Matrix ??“ not the computer programme world of the movie ??“ but a Matrix created by our own mindsImagine for a moment your mind as a separate entity with a life of its own. This mind creature of ours absorbs our consciousness into its thoughts. By thoughts here I refer to mental images, music or sounds we hear in our heads, reflections of the past, thoughts of the future, mental dialogue etc.What I am saying is that our mind does not belong and is not a part of who we are. It??™s like a creature with a life of its own.
Shocking but nonetheless true. The mind and our consciousness (i.e.
who we really are) are two separate entities. There are two simple tests to prove it.Firstly, we cannot really stop thinking, even if we wanted to. Try it.
Give it a go. Try to blank out your mind of all thought for 1 minute. Most people will have great difficulty. Thus, if we can??™t control our minds, surely its got a life of its own and is separate from who we are.Now, in the second test, recall when you tried to blank your mind in that 1 minute. Were you able to observe what the mind was doing Not sure Try again. The fact is that all of us have a consciousness and as a result, we are able to observe or ???know??™ our mind creating thoughts. This goes to prove the duality between us and our minds.
Think about this for a moment. We have been brought up all our lives believing and ???knowing??? that our mind is a part of us. Our minds have been dominant and so much in control that it has overshadowed our consciousness. We grew up, believing that our mind belongs to and is a part of us, when in fact it is not.
Such a shocking concept, a mind blowing thought ??“ forgive the pun.Thus, for the most part of our waking and sleeping hours, we are ???lost??? in another world which is entirely conjured by our minds. We drift and are totally immersed in the Matrix of our mind. And because we are immersed in this mind made construct, it will affect our moods and emotions. In fact, the mind influences us more than we realise. Let me give you a few examples. When was the last time your mind reminisced on a pleasant past experience (e.
g. an idyllic holiday in a resort island such as Bali or Hawaii) and how did that make you feel Real good I reckon.The flip side is thinking of an unpleasant experience, e.
g. your last quarrel or fight with someone and how another other party has wronged you. Don??™t such thoughts, make you feel terrible Nightmares are another example of how immersion of your consciousness with the mind thought can affect how you feel. Really bad nightmares cause you to wake up with fright and dread going back to sleep again.Future thoughts will also affect how you feel. Think back to the last time you went for a holiday and recall the excitement and how you felt a day or even a week before the trip. The thought of the trip invigorated you didn??™t it Or how did you feel a day or two before attending a big soccer match, your favorite rock star??™s concert or simply catching a much anticipated movie How did you feel the night before a major exam, or moments before making a speech in front of a large crowd, or making a sales pitch to the biggest potential client of your company The thought of such future events will naturally make us excited, nervous, fidgety or all of them. Why do we feel that Fridays are the best days of the week This is because the mind keeps feeding us with blissful thoughts of the weekend.
It??™s subtle and you many not even realise it if your consciousness is not strong enough. Obviously, if it is a working weekend, then Fridays won??™t be as fun. Similarly, Sunday evenings or Monday mornings are the worst moments of the week because the mind feeds us thoughts of how we have to endure the whole week of work before the next weekend.
The feelings we feel due to the above thoughts will not arise if we do not immerse ourselves in those thoughts. Even better, just don??™t think about it and we will not be affected by it.To sum up this article, our mind does not belong to us. It is a separate entity or creature if you like.
Because it??™s in our head and stuck with us all the time, naturally it has a great influence over us and affects our mood.In my next article, I will dwell a little more into how the workings of your mind affect not only how you feel, but how you behave, how you react to situations and ultimately how happy you are with life. 2. Getting to Know The Creature You Call Your MindIn last week??™s article, I wrote about how our minds do not belong to us and is really a different creature or entity. Because it is separate from whom we are, it has a personality of its own.Allow me to introduce you to the little creature in your head.
Generally speaking, most minds display the same characteristics.Your mind is very egoistical and heavily influences you to act with pride.It is always not satisfied and not contented. Because of this, it influences you to be never truly at peace.
It gives you a sense of disquiet. The critter is always ???hungry??? and as a result, incessantly searches for something to ???feed??? on. Its ???diet??? ranges in the widest possible spectrum and is limitless, just as the mind??™s imagination knows no boundaries.
It could feed on an exciting thought, the pleasure of going on a vacation, the need to buy something new, need to change furniture, to watch a movie, to visit a park, to go to the beach, to rest and relax, to write a book, to buy a new car, to renovate the house, to change jobs, to go to the karaoke, to get a new love partner, to eat your favourite food, to travel to the moon – the list is endless.On top of not being satisfied and contented, your mind is also a greedy bugger! How many times have you over ordered food when you are hungry Or bought new shoes, ties, shirts, accessories knowing full well that you have more than enough How many of you return the extra money the cashier accidentally gives you Recall back when you have been working for a couple of years and drawing a monthly income of say RM3000. Surely you would have wished back then that your income was double. But when you finally reach RM6000, it??™s not enough is it Greed is also reflected by how we tend to hold on tightly to all that we have. For example, how many of you donate your money on a regular basis Parting with some loose change when you take pity on a beggar does not count. Also, you don??™t need to have a lot of money before you can start putting aside RM1 a month for the needy.Your mind also gets bored of the same thing.
It becomes excited whenever it comes into contact with something new. Suppose you recently purchased a brand new BMW. The mind is ecstatic – but not for long. After six months, maybe less, the BMW is just another car and does not offer as much excitement and joy as it did when you first purchased it.
When was the last time you got a new shirt, tie, shoe, blouse or jewellery The feel good sensation didn??™t last very long did it Imagine your favourite meal. Can you eat it everyday The mind creature easily gets bored and once it does, it searches for the next item to ???feed??? on and indulge in. Thus, it can never be satisfied as described in the point above.Your mind worries a lot and gives you fear. Reflect back on how you dread and worry over future events, and often, most do not come to pass. This is caused by your mind creature giving you thoughts of all possible failures and disasters which may befall you in the future. The following are some fears and worries most people face in their lives ??“ embarrassment of fumbling during public speaking, fear of being asked to speak or sing when an entertainer does his/her rounds during a company annual dinner, your lover/wife/husband liking someone else and eventually leaving you, meeting with an accident, children mixing with the wrong company or not growing up normally, enough money for retirement, ability to execute a new area of work well etc. Try thinking back on how many of your fears and worries actually materialised Not very many isn??™t itThe mind is a creature which craves for sensual pleasure.
Be careful what you expose your little critter to. It feeds of substances and is excited and easily addicted to them. These include alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, opium, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. The mind can also be addicted to experiences such as shopping, gambling, online gaming, pornography, sex, masturbation, eating, work etc. Other pleasant experiences which the mind latches on to, but does not get addicted, include going on a vacation and eating your favourite food or dessert.
Recall the time you had a lovely long holiday, and how reluctant you felt going back to work.The mind is averse to un-pleasurable or painful experiences. On a lesser scale, it also has pet peeves. The mind is averse to public speaking, for example, because, being egoistical (another mind characteristic I raised earlier) it fears public ridicule and embarrassment should you fumble. Again, the list of aversions or pet peeves is boundless.
For example, getting up at 6am on a Monday morning for work, sitting through a boring meeting, lecture or class, waiting in a long queue, getting caught bad in traffic on a rainy day, hearing chalk screech against the black board, getting an injection, experiencing a painful tooth extraction, walking under the blazing afternoon sun, meeting someone you dislike, having to spend the weekend working etc.The mind is tricky and very clever and persuasive at drawing your consciousness to what it has to say. This relates back to my first article where I wrote about how it??™s extremely difficult for you to stop thinking, even if you wanted to. Thus, your mind incessantly bombards you with thoughts, continuous chatter, images, memories of the past, plans for the future, ideas, background music, humming etc. It stealthily sucks our consciousness into its world and controls our mood and behaviour. Indeed some of you are very much under its influence, more so that others. Those who have a stronger consciousness need to be ever vigilant.
The moment your consciousness slips, you will unknowingly be lost in your mind conjured world.Having read about your mind characteristics, some of you may think, ???Wait a minute, aren??™t most of it the same as a person??™s characteristics??? Well, yes and no. Those of you who are heavily influenced by your mind will certainly display your mind characteristics. Similarly, some who are more in control of your minds will display less of the mind characteristics. In fact, prior to reading this article, most of you may not have appreciated the duality between your mind and your true consciousness. Thus, it??™s not surprising for most of you to think that your mind is a part of you and hence believe mind characteristics to be your own.
In this article, I briefly introduced you to the basic characteristics of your mind creature. In my next article, I will touch on why self improvement books usually do not work and thus, explain what you really need to do in order to be truly happy and successful in life. I will share with you how you can master the universe if you can master your mind.[pic] 3.
Your Mind Can Be An Ally And Greatest EnemyOur mind is really a separate entity and does not belong to us. I touched on this in my first article. Our mind typically holds domain in our lives and prevents us from feeling consistent and lasting happiness. This is largely because your mind creature is egoistical, can never be contented, greedy, worries and fears and craves for sensual pleasure. I wrote about this in my second article.Allow me to give you an example of how your mind creature grapples with something of big interest to most of us ??“ money and material wealth! Many of you lament about not having enough cash, that you need a bigger house, a bigger car, a wider selection of clothes and accessories, a more sophisticated computer, a larger plasma TV, a house renovation. Many of you, would have had the following thoughts run through your mind – ???If only my income is double what it currently is???; ???If only I am rich, owning a designer triple storey detached house, a fast car and an easy job so that I have more free time???.
But what if I told you that you wouldn??™t be any happier (on a long term basis) even if those thoughts turned to reality Let??™s imagine people lower down the spectrum of material wealth (i.e. those with a monthly household income of less than RM1000). I am pretty sure they wish they lead the lives of the middle income group (i.e. those who earn more than RM1000 a month and will typically eventually own a double story terrace house, two cars and a comfortable salaried job). This category describes most of you reading this article.
So, just like how we envy those who are richer than we are and think how much happier they could be, similarly those poorer than us will wish they were in our shoes, thinking how happy they would be. But let me ask you this ??“ you are already where most poor people want to be, but are you happy with your life, contented, not wanting and needing anything more materially Most of you would say no. Now let??™s think about the people up the spectrum of material wealth. Do you really think people who are better off are happier than we are Really Think about it.Yeah, so most you know that money and materialism does not bring happiness. So why is it some still buy the lottery weak after weak Why do you feel envious when your neighbour or friend drives home the car you??™ve been dreaming of, or brings the latest Louis Vuitton or Coach handbag to work Why do you long for a pay rise Why do you feel attracted to high salaried professions or positions Why do you have the urge to buy a bigger house, a new TV, a new dress, a new briefcase, a new shoe, a new watch, new clothes, a new tie, new golf clubs, a new bicycle, a new laptop, a new hand phone, a new PDA etc. every once in a whileAll these thoughts are really the workings of your mind creature.
The little bugger constantly bombards you with these thoughts. I wrote in my second article that your mind is never satisfied and contented, is easily bored of the same thing and craves for sensual pleasure. Thus, your mind is probably already bored with most of what you have.
It??™s really telling you to get something new, although at most times, you do not necessarily need it.So how do you achieve consistent and lasting happiness Most people turn to self improvement books. Many of these books offer great advice on how you can enhance your lives. Trouble is, the solutions provided are either too complicated or involves too many dos, don??™ts and practices.
The biggest obstacle though, is having enough discipline and will power to execute the books??™ recommendations. Any plan, however grand or ingenious, is only as good as its execution.Remember all the resolves that you have made before – to either do things differently, to spend more time reading, to spend more time revising for the exam, to keep to a strict slimming diet, to exercise regularly, to watch less television, to take extra classes after work, to reduce eating junk food etc. When your resolves are new, you are usually enthusiastic about achieving them. However, you would have found that these resolves are hard to keep over a long period of time.
They are certainly easier said than done, aren??™t they Very often, the initial energy fizzles out quickly. Thus the self help/improvement books that you have read becomes nothing more than a memory, which will fade away as well if it??™s not remembered and put to practice.Many great people attribute their success to hard, diligent and consistent effort. Discipline is vital. Think back on all the times you have planned what to complete in a week. How much of what you set out to do is usually achieved Fourty percent, maybe fifty, sixty or seventy percent Often, it??™s never a hundred percent. How much you consistently achieve in a week, is a reflection of how much you??™ll achieve what you set out to do in life.
So if you are hitting fifty percent week after week, you??™re only going to be half as successful as you want to be. Thus discipline is crucial in ensuring we consistently hit one hundred percent week after week, and eventually achieve all your life goals.You have probably used many methods to achieve discipline.
These include having sheer will power, suppression of desires or having a very compelling set of goals to motivate and see beyond the obstacles. Some have achieved greater success than others. But using will power is like fighting the mind creature. It??™s always tough and unpleasant to be in a fight. And your mind creature is very strong if you challenge it this way.
Often you succumb to its desires ??“ urges are very hard to ignore. Imagine trying to quit smoking, abstaining from masturbating, not shopping for a year or not doing the thing you love most for a long period of time.An easier, less confrontational way to be disciplined is to be the master of your mind. Your mind is the source of all your indiscipline. So if you can discipline your mind, you will in turn be disciplined.
Thus, your mind can be your best friend and most powerful ally. It can also be your greatest enemy. It??™s a double edged sword. It??™s like fire ??“ controlled and used carefully, it provides immense power.
Let it run wild and it will ???burn??? and destroy us. Therefore, the trick to be happy and successful in life is to be the master of your mind, to discipline and control it.In summary, an unchecked mind will give you much dissatisfaction and disquiet.
The secret to success and happiness is thus to master your mind. Sheer will power or strong suppression of mind distractions may not be the best way. I will show you a better way next week ??“ all you need to do is just one thing. 4.
How to Master Your MindLast week, I talked about how self help books are very hard to execute and how the trick to lasting success in life is to master our mind (in my first article, I wrote about the duality between your consciousness and your mind). I then gave some examples of how the mind influences us and hold domain in our lives. In this article, I will give an overview of how you can gain mastery over your mind.Those of you with poor will power are clearly letting your mind control you and vice versa. The tussle for dominance over your body, and subsequently your actions, has been and will continue to be a life long battle. Most of you are not even aware of this and are clearly under the influence of your mind creature.
There are many ways to gain mastery over your mind. The objective is to strengthen your consciousness by reducing your mind??™s influence over it. One way is to sit with a straight posture, without any back support. You can either sit on a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed.
Close your eyes and feel the sensation of your abdomen rising and falling as your breathe in and out. Do this for as long as you can. For beginners, you may attempt a 10 minute session everyday. As you become better at the practice, you may gradually increase it to half an hour, one hour or even two hours everyday. Do not visualise the rise and fall of your abdomen, just feel it.If your mind starts to wonder (e.g.
by thinking of the past or future, imagining situations, conjuring images, questioning you how long more you need to close your eyes, playing background music etc.) divert your consciousness from your abdomen to your mind. When you ???watch??? your mind in this way, it will become weak and the earlier distractions that it created will fade away. However, since your mind has had its way for the most part of your life, it will not be used to being subdued in this way. Like a petulant/seemingly incorrigible child, it will incessantly distract you with thoughts. Thus, whenever it does so, you will have to focus your consciousness on those thoughts.
Do not fight or resist your mind. Like a patient parent, just ???watch??? over it again and again. Such is the practice for beginners, and even experienced practitioners. In fact, you will find that you have to focus your consciousness more on your mind rather than the rising and falling of your abdomen.
There you have it. You have just learnt how to master your mind! You might ask, so what??™s behind the practice Why do I need to ???watch??? the rising and falling of my abdomen When you do that, you are strengthening your consciousness. Every time your mind tries to interfere by throwing you thoughts, you turn your consciousness to those thoughts and they fade away.
Thus, your consciousness is slowly gaining strength over your mind creature.It is important not to move an inch of your body while you are practicing. If there is an itch, ???watch??? it with your consciousness. Try to examine the itch as closely as you can.
You will find many facets to an itch (e.g. how it changes in intensity and how it moves within a certain spot or creeps around a region). Apply the same process for any other physical experiences (e.g. pain ??“ from sitting too long, sweat, mosquito bite, wind or breeze touching your skin, ant crawling etc.). If several things are happening to you at the same time (e.
g. mind running wild and throwing you all sorts of thoughts, an itch under your foot, a mosquito bite on your forehead, your right lap feeling numb from all that sitting), then apply your consciousness to the thing which is most distracting and calls your attention the most. Once it subsides, then shift your focus to the next most distracting thing, and the next, until you can finally revert back to your neglected abdomen.Sometimes a physical experience may be so strong that you can??™t tolerate it, what more observe it closely. For example, when the itch becomes so strong that you just have to scratch it to get relieve, try focusing your consciousness on your mind instead. You will find that your mind is very agitated because of the itch and is giving your consciousness a lot of pressure and forcing you to scratch the itch. If your consciousness is strong enough and you apply it to your agitated mind, it will be subdued. Hence the itch will no longer bother you.
Technically speaking, the itch is actually bothering your mind and your mind in turn is trying to force you to relief that itch.Another technique to gain mastery over your mind is to ???watch??? the in and out breath at the tip of your nostrils. Feel the sensation of wind brushing against the rings of your nostrils. Again, do not visualise it. Just feel it. Yet another way is to walk slowly and feel your footsteps against the ground. Irrespective of technique, constant practice is required before you see results and the immense benefits of having a strong consciousness.
These formal techniques of practice are important and serves as the right foundation for you to develop your consciousness. However, practice in day to day activity is equally, if not more important. By day to day activity, I refer to your daily tasks such as driving, waiting, walking, drinking, using the toilet, ironing, folding clothes, reading, speaking to people, working etc. During many of these activities, how often do you find yourself day dreaming or loosing focus on the task at hand Pretty often You day dream and loose focus because your mind is playing the lead role and distracting you with all sorts of thoughts and images.Building consciousness in day to day activity is similar to how you do formal practice. Try to apply your consciousness fully on whatever you may be doing. Suppose you are driving home and there is really no need for any thinking or mind activity.
You??™ve had a full day at work and you just want to go home and sleep. But would your mind creature leave you alone and give you the peace you need No. It will continue to bombard you with thoughts, images and music. So, ???watch??? them and they will disappear. Then focus on driving ??“ the feel of the steering wheel, the bumps on the road as your car goes over uneven ground, the sounds of traffic outside etc. When your mind wonders again, remember to ???watch??? it and then revert back to feeling the drive.Apart from practice, the progress you make is also very much dependant on your natural disposition or makeup.
It comes easier for some but others may need to work harder at it. Why Same reason as why some are born taller, shorter, stronger, prettier, smarter, cheekier, calmer etc. But the beauty about your consciousness is that you can work at getting better, unlike physical deficiencies.
Next week, I will talk about the immense benefits you will enjoy if your consciousness is strong. See how it will transform your life and let you do things you never thought possible. 5. The Wonders of Having a Strong ConsciousnessYour mind does not belong to you and is a separate creature.
Your consciousness is really who you are. I explained this in my first article. Last week, I introduced the various techniques to strengthen your consciousness to enable you to master your mind. Mastering your mind will give you the discipline and power you need to be successful in life. I will explain how in this article.
One of the benefits of constant consciousness practice is your need for less sleep ??“ a reduction of perhaps 1 to 2 hours or more, depending on the strength of your consciousness. Two hours less of sleep a day will give an extra 14 hours a week and fifty six hours a month. When your consciousness is strong, your active mind will wonder less and not wear you out as much.You will also be a lot more focused in all your activities. Your mind which wonders and distracts you less will allow you to concentrate fully on the task at hand. You will daydream less and become a lot more efficient.
Thus, not only will you have more waking hours (by sleeping less), you will also get more done in any given period of time.Because you are focused, you will also become very sharp. You will pick up ideas, concepts and new information more quickly than before.
Your memory will improve. Your speech and selection of words will be enhanced. You will find that you are better at stringing all the right words into sentences to carry the most clear and accurate messages across. As a result, you will be a lot more effective at all sorts of human interactions ??“ e.
g. meetings, social conversations, phone conversations, public speaking, counselling or coaching others, making a sales pitch, convincing others, attracting the opposite sex, handling your performance evaluation, politely saying no, easily breaking the ice with someone new and building rapport etc.You will become more creative, believe it or not. The ideas, bright sparks and new ways of doing things will come flowing. Your mind creature is not creative. It is good at learning new things and applying them, like a computer.
But it in itself does not generate new ideas. Your consciousness generates new ideas. Therefore, if your mind creature holds domain over you and drowns out your consciousness with incessant thought, your ideas will never be given a chance to arise and blossom.Your mind will influence you less with its negative characteristics (I wrote about our mind??™s characteristics in my second article).
Thus, you will be more at peace and will find contentment more easily. You will be less greedy, selfish and egoistical. You will not get bored easily and hence are able to persevere till the task is completed. You will fear and worry a lot less and lead a more relaxed and happy life.
You will crave less for sensual pleasure – reduced chocolates, sex, movies, partying, fun and games isn??™t necessarily a bad thing. Suppose you are trying to lose weight or need to watch your diet for health reasons ??“ the strong urges to eat your favourite snack or dish will not affect you as much. Less urges to have fun, party or watch the television will allow you to complete that school or work assignment and not procrastinate. Thus, ability to control your urges for sensual pleasure is a good thing. If your practice is good and your consciousness is strong, you will not be urged at all.
Compulsions to smoke, shop, watch a movie, go singing, masturbate, etc. will all be easily managed.You will be less affected by your moods and emotions. These are caused by your mind, feeding you with thoughts, images and memories of the past or projections of the future.
I wrote about this in my first article. If your consciousness is strong, you will no longer get Sunday night or Monday morning blues for example ??“ you may even enjoy going to work! You will not feel glum, down or depressed. Nervousness will not affect you so much. You will not lose your temper so easily and be cool and calm always. Driving in bad traffic will actually feel ok.
Again, if your consciousness is powerful, you may actually enjoy it!So, having a strong consciousness is really wonderful stuff, isn??™t it You will be energised with a passion for life and you can master the universe. Are you doubtful Why not give it a try The best way to learn is to experience it for your self. Then write me and tell me your experience. If you practice strengthening your consciousness, at least half an hour everyday for a month, you will begin to see changes. You will need to do it consistently though, without missing a single day.
Watch your mind. See for yourself its varied behaviours and characteristics. A lot of exciting things and revelations will unfold before you. For a wonderfully life changing experience, wouldn??™t you give it try From this point on, it??™s really up to you.