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In my last blog post I wrote about 5 Keys to a Better Life: Awareness through Meditation, Forgiveness, Food that Supports You, Movement, and Organization. In my next five blog posts I’ll go deeper into each one of these, starting with awareness through meditation.
One of the most profound things you can do to improve your life is to become aware of what your brain is doing that makes your life less than optimal. We’re taught to blame the circumstances of our life for the quality of our life, but the reality is the quality of our life is determined by the thoughts we think about it.
These thoughts are programmed into our minds starting at a very young age. This is how a young brain becomes an adult brain over time. The programming from our younger life remains, but the life circumstances change.
We continue to use the same thoughts though. Think of your brain like a completely unique water filter. The facts of reality are delivered to your brain via your sensory organs, but then that information runs thought the filter, and comes out filtered through the thoughts you were taught.
Observing the programming
If you want to truly change your life, you have to change that filter, because that filter is what creates your reality. You could also think about it as a computer with coding. A computer can only respond to input it is programmed to understand, and it can only create output according to the programming it contains.
This is how your subconscious, or reactive mind works. Completely neutral, meaningless information is delivered to it via your sensory organs, and your programmed thinking (the computer) gives meaning to that information.
In order to see what that coding that produced the information is, you have to develop the skill of being able to observe, or watch yourself think. We all have this ability, it’s called self awareness, or becoming conscious. But most people don’t use this ability as much as they could, because it’s far more efficient to just let the programming run.
If you want to permanently change a behavior though, you have to get a good look at what is causing the behavior in the first place.
Meditation for awareness
One of the most effective tools I’ve found for training the thinking mind to move into the conscious space more often is meditation. And that it exactly what the act of meditation is: activating the conscious mind and returning to it every time you get lost down a thought train in the subconscious mind.
A daily meditation practice, even if it’s a short meditation, gets your brain in the habit of activating that higher part of your mind on purpose. The more often you practice it, the more often it starts happening on its own, without you initiating meditation.
Lifelong meditators eventually reach a point where they are pretty much just living out of their conscious mind, even while all the subconscious programming runs. With that ability to remain conscious always turned on, they see the programming happening in real time, and can change it on a dime.
That’s the power that meditation offers. If you don’t have a practice, start one now.
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