August 21, 2009

To Maximize Thinking Power, Unite Mind and Body

A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices. — William James

We spend a lot of time between our ears to no good purpose.

It isn’t that thinking is a bad thing. It’s that people often do it poorly. In your mind’s eye, step back for a moment and watch yourself think. You’ll observe ideas blazing along… concepts intermingling with to-do’s and dozens of oddball interjections light the inside of your skull up like a fireworks display. Worries, fears, plans, and desires jockey for first place in your consideration.

Some days it’s a wonder we get anything done at all, isn’t it?

Our image-and-information-driven, television-fed, sound-bite-work culture encourages people to practice a brand of brain-based elitism that’s mistaken for The Real Thing. Our thoughts seem as real to us as anything we touch, taste, smell, hear, or feel — perhaps in some ways even more real.

The mind amazes us with its complexity and its ability to synthesize while keeping the human body running like clockwork. But thinking, now, thinking is a tool that we all too often brandish like a leaky, smoke-belching chainsaw, slashing life up in little pieces on our way to who knows where.

Thoughts Are Ghosts

Thoughts are nothing more than ghosts until we connect them to the physical world.

Good thinking is the opportunity to unite mind and body and create meaning.

When we unify the mind and body, we achieve a level of awareness that can seem almost psychic or superhuman. Unification creates genius-level thinking. All we’re doing, though, is practicing maximum presence. The mind and body working as one gives us access to a richness of life experience that cannot be reached by focusing on either alone.

Engagement and Useful Activity

It’s no surprise that the world’s greatest thinkers deeply engage the world. They know instinctively that the secrets of the universe open up only when mind and body are completely in sync. Perhaps that’s why so many people are drawn to mind-body work such as martial arts, yoga, tennis, golf, and rock climbing. Each trains the mind and tunes the body simultaneously, yielding strength that is the natural result of being a whole human.

This weekend, seek an activity that involves the mind and body as a unit, that engages your full attention and all your senses. It can be something as simple as drawing, as playful as juggling, or as challenging as rock climbing.

Whatever you choose to do, bring your full focus to it. When the activity is complete, observe how your body feels. Watch the calmness of your mind.

That’s the blessing of being whole. Bring that wholeness to your life each day, and see miracles happen.

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