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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Are You Wise?

Are You Wise?

Empower your mind with wisdom to overcome your autoimmune disease, which, according to Western medicine, has no cure. 

In spite of living in an age of information and technology, many of us may only be knowledgeable but not wise, although we may delude ourselves into thinking that we are wise.

Given that life is limited and knowledge is unlimited, using what is limited to seek out the unlimited is not only futile but also unwise. Yet many people seek knowledge in a futile attempt to attain and accumulate wisdom. But true wisdom is the application and interpretation of limited knowledge assimilated and internalized through a variety of life experiences in order to understand better the nature of things. This profound understanding is true wisdom.

Prerequisites of Wisdom

Wisdom has much to do with the thinking mind, that is, how the mind thinks.

Your mind is your being, and your brain is the most important of all your body organs because it controls your thinking, and hence your whole being. How you think, what you choose, how you act or react, and what you do with all your life experiences—they ultimately become not only your memories but also your realities.

Descartes, the famous French philosopher, once said: “I think, therefore I am.” Indeed, your thoughts become what and who you “think” you are right now.

Therefore, it is your thinking that holds the key to unlocking true human wisdom. As mentioned previously, true wisdom is not the same as extensive knowledge: a wise person is not necessarily knowledgeable. Human wisdom is the capacity and capability of the human mind to intuit knowledge accumulated and life experiences encountered, and then apply that self-intuition to everyday living to live as if everything is a miracle.

Important as it is, thinking is not easy, just as Albert Einstein once said: “Thinking is difficult; that is why so few people do it.” To become wiser, you must do your thinking, and do it often.

There are certain prerequisites for the thinking mind to think right in order to attain true human wisdom: intent to understand, to learn, and to change the thinking mind.

Understanding the Thinking Mind

Understand that thinking is a process of self-intuition through asking relevant questions to create self-awareness and self-introspection. It is the natural habit of the human mind to try to solve problems by asking questions. Through solving problems, the mind can then make things happen. Asking questions is self-empowering wisdom because it creates the intent to learn and to change.

Understand the importance of asking questions, and continue to ask meaningful and relevant questions through-out your life.

"A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes." Mahatma Gandhi

Learn how the human mind functions. You have both a conscious and a subconscious mind. Your conscious mind does all the active thinking: selectively recording whatever data and information you want to remember, and discarding whatever you think is irrelevant or inapplicable to you. Your subconscious mind, on the other hand, absorbs everything indiscriminately that you are exposed to, and stores it at the back of your mind in the form of memories.

Originally, your mind is like a blank sheet of paper. Your thinking begins with your five senses—how they perceive and interpret your life experiences. These physical and mental sensations then become your thoughts or memories stored at the back of your subconscious mind. Whenever you experience a similar sensation, your mind will go back to your subconscious mind to look for more clues or relevant information, and then send out different messages to your conscious mind, instructing it to act or react accordingly. To illustrate, a baby, who previously experienced a pleasantly tickling sensation, will begin to laugh when being tickled as soon as the subconscious mind sends to the conscious mind the message of that previously experienced pleasant sensation.

Essentially, while your conscious mind is just about to make all your everyday life choices and decisions, your subconscious mind is, in fact, controlling and directing your conscious mind from behind the scene without your knowing it. That is why it is called a “subconscious“ mind.

Gradually and accumulatively, all your life experiences with their own respective messages—the pleasant as well as the unpleasant ones—are all stored at the back of your subconscious mind in the form of data and memories. Accumulated over the years, millions and billions of such experiences and messages have become the raw materials with which you subconsciously weave the fabrics of your life, making you who and what you have now become. In other words, they have become your “realities.”

But they are not your realities. That is to say, they are no more than your “thoughts” or “memories” controlled and dominated by your subconscious mind. To illustrate, say, your conscious mind tells you to eat a healthy meal, but your subconscious mind, loaded with images and messages of many TV commercials of mouth-watering junk food as well as your own past delectable experiences of some of them, may tell you something totally different, and you may end up eating a burger and French fries instead.

Learning to Control the Thinking Mind

All is not what it seems. Wisdom is the capability to see what is going on in the subconscious mind so as to be able to separate the truths from the half-truths, or the myths. Mindfulness, which is deep mental awareness of the present moment, enables you to have clarity of mind to see things as they really are, and not as what they seem to be. Unfortunately, many of us have a compulsive mind, instead of a quiet mind. Not only is a compulsive mind riddled with thoughts of the past, but also is preoccupied with projections of those thoughts into the future in the form of desires and expectations. Unlike a quiet mind, a compulsive mind is unable to think with clarity, and hence lacks wisdom.

Do you have a compulsive mind?

You do if you talk on your cell phone while walking, or, worse, while driving your car. You do if you always watch your favorite TV program while eating your dinner. You have a compulsive mind when your mind is not always focusing on what you are doing at the present moment. A compulsive mind is too preoccupied with thinking past and future thoughts  because it is not focusing on the present moment, and therefore is not attentive to the present surrounding with all its seemingly irrelevant details. Without acute attention, there is no awareness; without awareness, there is no penetrating perception, and hence no profound wisdom, which is deep understanding of the nature of all things that requires mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the antidote to compulsive thinking. Mindfulness is the presence of mind in the present moment. The best way to practice mindfulness is to focus your mental attention on your breaths—noticing your breathing-in and breathing-out. Mindfulness is paying close mental attention to something that seems irrelevant and insignificant, such as your breathing, and thereby instrumental in slowing down the compulsive thinking mind.

Meditation is another effective way to slow down a compulsive mind. According to Saint Theresa of Avila, the mind is like a wild and unbridled horse wandering where it wills, and it must be reined in and brought back to the right course.

Meditation is an ancient practice of quieting the mind. For thousands of years, it has been used by sages for both relaxation and self-enlightenment. Sitting erect in a quiet place with a relaxed body, simply close your eyes and wait for the next thought to come. Surprisingly, it may not come right away, if your body and mind are totally relaxed. When a thought ultimately comes, let it go and focus on your breaths by gently breathing in and breathing out. If the same thought or another one comes to your mind, dismiss it gently by re-focusing your mind on your breaths but without deliberately dismissing it. As you continue to repeat the process of focusing and refocusing on your breaths, you will soon find that your thoughts do not come so frequently to a quiet mind. Meditation is an effortless practice to calm and clear your mind for better and clearer thinking through your deliberate and sustained mindfulness of your breathing.
Do you meditate, or even find time to practice noticing your breathing in and breathing out every day?

Changing the Thinking Mind

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."  Albert Einstein

All along, in your subconscious mind, you may have unconsciously made toxic choices and decisions, leading to toxic feelings and emotions, toxic actions and reactions—they have become your toxic memories that affect how you think. Now is the time to change your thinking mind by evaluating and validating your thoughts and memories that may make you “think” you are who you have now become. In other  words, you need to “rethink” your mind to find out what is the “real” you in order to have the true wisdom to be who you really are—a better and happier you!

Learn to listen with mindfulness to your thoughts in order to understand with awareness how they may have affected your emotions and feelings, as well as your actions and reactions.

Before you can change your thinking mind, you must have, first and foremost, an empty mind to help you better understand your thinking mind.

With an empty mind, you can rethink your thoughts and memories that are coming from your subconscious mind, which controls and directs your conscious mind. An empty mind enables you to see things as they are, and not as people say they are. This simple but profound wisdom gives you deep understanding of the nature of all things. With an empty mind, you may avoid any pre-conditioned thinking, which prevents you from thinking right. For example, we are living in a culture that says if you feel good about doing something, then go ahead and do it; and in a culture that says surrender is weakness because you are entitled to everything in life.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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