If you have changed your abode more than 4 times in your lifetime (I did 18 times so far), you will be able to relate to what I am saying. Each time you relocate, you have to go thru this process. Retire old stuff, pieces of furniture, books, clothes, unused items etc and reorganize everything as per new space, ambiance, taste and start new journey afresh. At times, people take this as an opportunity to empty their old house and buy altogether new stuff for their new house.
Unfortunately, we don’t apply the same principle to our mind space.
Right from the childhood, we keep observing and collecting tons of information and keep depositing them layer over layer. Some of this forms the knowledge base for us to reference later. Few experiences stored in our deep sub-conscious mind help us prevent the same mistakes. Generally, unpleasant experiences hold us back in taking certain actions in future, make us risk averse, cause excessive hatred towards certain individuals. Overall, some of these experiences are useful, worthy of preserving that you would want to leverage in future and some you would want to get rid of.
But how do you do it? Or have you thought of doing it in the first place?
Before you venture into this exercise, you must understand how does our mind and subconscious mind work in tandem.
If you carefully observe everything we see, do and feel around us is a manifestation of what goes inside our mind? Sometimes it happens consciously with deliberate effort and most of the times effortlessly within our subconscious mind, often termed as muscle memory. If you have been driving down to your office following the same route, you may realize that you don’t have to make any effort. The path to your office is stored in your mind. You may get a call on your car blue-tooth and navigate through traffic very easily without being bothered about the route.
Now let me draw a parallel. Think about a mobile app that has many features and functionalities in it. Whenever there is any input received from UI (user interface layer), these inputs are passed onto one of the inner layers of the program using a function call or API (application programming interface) call. Based on what action is written inside, the desired output or behavior is exhibited on the user interface.
Our mind functions almost the same way. Right from the childhood, as we grow, all new experiences (situation and our reactions to them) are created and stored in our sub-conscious mind as default behavior pattern aka Default Neural Paths “DNP”. As we grow through adulthood journey, any similar situation in our life invokes one of these stored DNPs and exhibits the similar action or behavior (like a reflex). Unless we put conscious effort, we tend to see all the similar situations through the same lens (experiences and learnings of our past).
But is this the right way to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Ask yourself.
When your past experiences start shadowing your present, you should become ‘Alert’. Indian scientists and ancient saints have done enough research in this space and helped us with various techniques of meditation to reach to this state Alertness called ‘Mindful Awareness’. This is the state where you are putting a conscious effort of cross-training your brain for not to use the default neural path (if not needed). This is also known as living in THE Moment.
In simple words, next time when you see somebody crossing red signal and if you tend to abuse him in your mind, Don’t indulge in it. When a colleague in your office passes a derisive comment and you are about to lose your temper, remember DNP. Being aware of every moment (good or bad) and not using your default behavior (if it’s not universally accepted) rather staying calm and responding to the situation than reacting is called being ‘mindful aware’.
So if you are one of them working day and night for many years and chasing goals one after the other, here is the time for you to take a break for a week or two to empty your mind with old prejudices. There are many meditation techniques available to learn this art. You can choose the one close to your belief system. All of them will lead you to the same state so that next time when you see a traffic police stopping you for any road offense, you won’t need to call him MAMA, THULLA etc but stop by, pay your fine, pass a smile and move on.
It’s time to reboot your mind!
Please leave your thoughts behind so that I can incorporate them in my series 2/5 article.