If you’ve paid any particular attention to your mind lately, you know that it is an amazing tool. And although computers are superb when it comes to figuring out problems, nothing can compare to the power of the mind. That said, the mind can be a devious little thing. Some call it the monkey mind, others just plain annoying. What I’m talking about is your minds ability to create what can seem, at times, like an endless chatter of nonsense.
Jeff Gitterman, in his latest Huffington Post, explores the concept of how our minds have the tendency to jump from one random thought to another, sometimes creating quite a predicament, and how using meditation can help you to harness its true power.
Generally speaking, there are two ways that our minds work. If we have a project, task or problem to solve, we can engage our mind to help us accomplish our goals. A scientist figuring out a lab experiment, a mathematician working out a complex equation and a writer creating a novel are all engaging the mind in this way. When we engage our minds in problem solving, our minds are working for us; we are using our minds.
Then there are those times when our minds endlessly chatter, jumping from thought to thought about the past or future, often faster than we are even able to follow. For most of our day, as this is occuring, we are not engaging our minds; rather, our minds are engaging us, depleting our energy and not really accomplishing anything. It’s just trying to keep us hooked — on it. And as the saying goes, “The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master.”
The first step in learning to harness the power of our attention is to become aware of how it moves. To do this, we need to find a way to disengage from the stream of thoughts that preoccupies us. This is one of the fundamental reasons that people practice meditation, in all its many forms.
Read more from Gitterman on using meditation to harness your mind here.