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However, be aware that it is not possible to release negative conditioning in a short period of time. This is because the mind has established neural pathways that subconsciously run the conditioned responses on autopilot.

Awakening the Thinking Mind - Book PDF

These strong pathways have been built and reinforced over the years. When we suffer a persistent negative belief or some other troubling behaviour, and we identify its dysfunction, we are in a position to let it go. Though superficial changes are possible, real transformation is rare in such people. This very hard conditioning of thought and behaviour seriously hinders growth in the vast majority of population. In such people, thinking and behaviour pattern is repetitive and tend to occur subconsciously.

Essentially, habits are developed through frequent repetition and reinforcement. Unless such conditioning is dissolved and people become aware and ready to avail themselves of the opportunities surrounding them, real transformation is unlikely. Through awareness and receptivity, we can successfully address this self-limiting thinking and behaviour.

They just arise on their own. But once we no longer identify exclusively with the mind, it becomes easier for us to go deeper inward, right to the source of thinking. Observing the mind from this vantage point, we may then attempt to separate the emotions from the thoughts. That is the most difficult part, when the thoughts are rendered emotionless and non- judgmental. The speed with which we let go of a negative belief depends entirely Awakening the Thinking Mind on how willing we are to dissociate from it.

If we are convinced that it is not serving us and are totally determined to let go of a negative con- ditioning, no specific action is required to decondition that response or belief. Gradually, the fear, insecurity, and any other associated emo- tions will fade away simply by virtue of awareness and observation of the conditioning pattern.

As awareness grows, the less habitual and programmed we become.

This is how deconditioning begins — merely by awareness and observation of the mind. Many of us suffer from an addictive attachment to our thoughts. Not only do people suffer from chronic ills like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and dementia; they also experience debilitating loneliness, disconnected from the world and the community around them.

Whether by adverse nature, inadequate nurture, or a combination of the two, all of these sufferers got badly trapped in their thinking mind. And all too often, their conditions are aggravated when they go for treatment. Prescribed medications may be ineffective, or the relief short-lived. We are totally identified with our mind.

We are neither alert nor attentive, and we, therefore, miss the moments at hand. Only when we are attentive and alert do we live in the present moment.

When we watch the mind closely, we observe that there is an undifferentiated stream of consciousness just below the level of thinking.

This is because, according to one study, we have about 40 to 60, thoughts and about 1, feelings each day. Arising and proceeding from mind, thoughts affect our feelings, which is how mood and mental states are determined.

Unpleasant thoughts spark negative emotions and feelings in us. When we try to prevent unwanted thoughts from entering our mind, those very thoughts of resistance only make the situation worse.

We are then badly caught in a vicious cycle. Unless we know how to manage these killjoy intruders, even to pass a single moment in their company can be very difficult. Time simply stops on those occasions.

We will not find a single person on Earth who has been happy and contented all the time. Every one of us carries some sorrows and woes, is afraid of something, dependently attached to someone, and has lost a loved one.

Life is like that. We are all vulnerable as our flickering Balvinder Kumar mental state changes all the time. This sensitivity makes our mind more agitated and restless. We often get trapped in overthinking, especially negative thinking, which is obviously bad for our mental and physical health.

Positive and pleasant thoughts are like healthy and nutritious food to us, but any other kinds of thoughts are often injurious. Our mental diet should ideally consist of thoughts that give us peace and happiness. Such thoughts are also generated from healthy relationships, whether at home or in the office. However, when relationships with friends and relatives lack balance and include discord, the result is a contaminated and gloomy mind.

This leads to worries, sadness, and anxiety that could have been avoided. In such situations, our mind, which is already burdened with overthinking, gets entangled in psychological suffering. Neuroscientists have found that human beings experience their own moment-to-moment reality. A study conducted by Dr.

Norman Farb and his colleagues at the University of Toronto has discovered that people have two distinct ways of interacting with the world, using two different networks. First is the default mode, when we are primarily thinking about ourselves and are lost in planning, daydreaming, and ruminating.

We keep working on our stories and developing our characters as if we were writing a book. When this default network is active, we think about our own history and about the future, including all the people we know. Thus occupied, we create and manipulate massive storehouses of data to suit our fancy.

Mabel Elsworth Todd

Awakening the Thinking Mind We do come across purposeful choices while journeying through life, but only if we believe that the goal is attainable. Otherwise, we tend to wander aimlessly and waste energy and time by pursuing routine things in life.

Instead, we should decide and focus what we need in life and then start channelling energy in that direction. For this, one needs to overcome the hard conditioning of ideas, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, which have been built up over the years and are difficult to change.

Hence, we should first know ourselves as clearly and deeply as possible, and be open to personal evolution and transformation. When we transform ourselves, we transform the world. Lack of mindfulness makes us likely to react in ways that are mostly habitual and somewhat mechanical. This state is extremely common. Most of the time finds us mainly focused on our own affairs, and busy in internal dialogues. It is widely believed that we spend most of our waking hours in default mode, especially when not paying much attention to any specific task.

These are the times when we are present in the moment, and not thinking about our own constructed stories. Attention fixes on the swirl of activity all around us, as well as its overall feeling. The Art of Meditation Peace of mind, serenity, and calmness are descriptions of a disposition free from the effects of stress. In some cultures, inner peace is considered a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training, such as prayer, meditation, tai chi or yoga, for example.

Many spiritual practices refer to this peace as an experience of knowing oneself. Finding inner peace is often associated with traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. Meditation is a lifelong process. Give it a try. In addition to the much beleaguered brain, all other organs especially the heart, lungs, and digestive system are periodically subjected to great stress.

Cellular and physiological systems are often disturbed. Without inner peace, we cannot maintain our mental and physical health for Awakening the Thinking Mind very long. We are bound to suffer mentally if we withhold loving attention from our mind.

Rest and relaxation are tonic to the mind. Fortunately, through time-tested techniques of meditation, we can achieve complete peace of mind and of all other organs and systems.

Observe the mind Thoughts are coming and going. Along with them, associated emotions and feelings arise. Internal chatter continues unabated in the brain. Asserting its seeming authority, ego works incessantly. But it is never wholly impartial or fair interpretation. When we deeply meditate, however, reflection on thoughts ceases. Mind becomes Modern science has established that meditation has a very profound basis in quantum physics.

Fred Alan Wolf in The Yoga of Time Travel explains that conscious life consists of patterns of focused and unfocused activities, and that these patterns give rise to the ego or body-mind, which evolutionarily arose as a mechanism for survival.

Through meditation we learn how and when to focus and unfocus our mind. When we focus or unfocus, we gain or lose control over our body and our environment and learn how and to what extent we can manipulate them. This state, in turn, frees us of regret from the past and anxiety for Balvinder Kumar the future, while also weakening conditioned habits of thought and behaviour. We respond appropriately to people and events as they are.

All of our senses come alive when we live in the present. Meditation is simply to bring attention and awareness to the present moment. Awareness then increases, commensurate with frequency and depth of the practice. When we meditate regularly, we develop the capacity to perceive things in a non-judgmental way. We all suffer from negative thoughts or obsessive thinking at one time or another. Mind goes to the same thoughts, futilely, over and over again.

If we can look at those thoughts dispassionately, their energy and intensity subsides sharply and quickly. Meditation is the only non-drug remedy that can dispel disharmony in an effective way. Through meditation, our observing capacity increases and then we can watch and observe our own thinking process as thoughts arise, some of them repeatedly.

Merely by doing so, we can witness improvement in those disturbing moments. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When we are mindful, we observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting life pass us by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Mindfulness is an essential element of Buddhist practice, including Vipassana meditation. Meditation — How it can potentially transform our physical and mental health For thousands of years, ancient traditions have encouraged a variety of meditation techniques to calm the mind and relax the physical body.

Science is finally catching up to what spiritual gurus have known for centuries. Though meditation is extremely simple to perform, its effects are tremendous. Meditation can make us happier, healthier, smarter, more productive, and more socially well adjusted. Meditation helps slow everything down as we observe from a distance. It teaches us to be present, and to have discipline over our thoughts.

Learning to meditate also helps us to relax our body. Meditation is the art of finding peace and happiness within ourselves by using simple methods of calming and stabilising our minds. Most of the time we are carried along by the force of emotions, habits and conditioning and end up feeling tired and stressed by everyday life. Practicing meditation can change this type of stressed life. Meditation can help bring about a natural sense of peace and well-being that can extend to every aspect of our lives.

People who meditate regularly tend to handle the ups and downs of daily life with more clarity and ease and relate to others with more compassion and warmth.

Once we start to practice meditation, we tend to become increasingly aware of what is going on around us all the time. This is called meta- Balvinder Kumar Meditation can make changes inside our heads, to make us calm. When we are highly stressed or emotionally disturbed, we are able to regain equilibrium much faster if we do meditation.

In other words, we recover faster from virtually any disturbance. When we practice meditation, the amygdala, in those moments, resumes normal function much faster. Meditation is especially valued for its role in cultivating many positive aspects, such as compassion and loving-kindness. People become far more affectionate, kind, and empathetic in their relationships. Our unwelcome guests seem to be there for the duration, drawn by and feasting on the negative energy we feed them.

And of course, the more Awakening the Thinking Mind vigorously we defend against or try to banish them, the more insistent they become. This is a maddening process. So what can we do? You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.

Meditation also contributes to happiness by decreasing anxiety, reducing depression, enhancing positive emotions, and decreasing stress.

Studies also show that meditation makes us healthier by enhancing the functioning of the immune system. According to one study, meditation reduces the overall risk of heart attack and stroke. Mindfulness meditation is the practice that increases attention on the present moment, a focus that goes a long way toward managing the emotional stress we face in daily life. Specifically, this meditation can limit the expression of genes associated with inflammation, and therefore many chronic inflammatory conditions can be effectively dealt with through this practice Jacqueline Howard in the Huffington Post.

Eileen Luders and Dr. Florian Kurth. Therefore, we can, by practicing mindfulness meditation, slow down the aging process. According to one estimate, a person of 30 years of age and who does regular meditation for next 5 years, his biological age will be 23 years as against the biological age of 36 years for a person who does not do meditation during this period.

Such difference of biological age can be observed in real life situations. Numerous studies and investigations have been carried out in the recent past on the effects of mindfulness meditation, especially on emotional and physical outcomes.

Physically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce cortisol and blood pressure and to boost the immune system. Cognitively, mindfulness has been shown to decrease rumination and boost attention. Emotionally, mindfulness reduces reactivity and improves resilience. It has been found that meditation prompts changes in the emotion-processing amygdala. The new research suggests that these beneficial brain changes persist even after the meditation sessions are over, resulting in enduring changes in mental function.

Researchers and lay persons alike agree that meditation fosters greater Awakening the Thinking Mind creativity, clarity of mind, self-confidence, and a sense of balance and inner calm.

Perhaps the most exciting of all, subjective reports suggest that mindfulness meditation changes the way we experience ourselves in the world. To manage negative experiences, emotions, and thoughts, it is the most natural and easy remedy. It can play a major role in dealing with depression, anxiety, and many other mental woes. Even allopathic doctors now recommend meditation to supplement medicines in the management of various diseases, ranging from psychological to disorders caused by lifestyle.

When we create peace and harmony and balance in our minds, we will find it in our lives. Hay According to a new study conducted in November , mindfulness meditation exhibited even stronger physical pain reductions than morphine. Fadel Zeidan, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, has studied mindfulness for 15 years and has observed improved health outcomes as a result.

Brain Waves and Meditation An awakening mind means an awakening brain. Throughout history, many great teachers and practitioners have cultivated remarkable brain states. For example, when experienced Tibetan lamas go into deep meditation, they produce powerful and pervasive brainwaves. We all know that the brain is an electrochemical organ using electromagnetic energy to function. Electrical activity taking place in the brain is displayed in the form of brainwaves.

Briefly, there are four categories of brainwaves. They range from the high- amplitude, low-frequency delta to the low- amplitude, high- frequency beta. Men, women, and children of all ages experience the same characteristic brainwaves. They are reportedly consistent across all cultures and countries. In brief, characteristic features of the five different brainwaves are: gamma waves, at 40 to cycles per second, which are involved in intense concentration and complex processing, as when learning new material; beta waves, with frequencies ranging from 13 to 30 cycles per second and experienced during waking states such as logical thinking and conversation.

When a person speaks or argues, he or she is in a high beta wave state, as are those who are listening attentively; alpha waves, having a range of 7 to 13 cycles per second and experienced during states of peaceful wakefulness and relaxed activity, such as meditation; theta waves, ranging from Awakening the Thinking Mind 4 to 7 cycles per second and predominantly present during light sleep daydreaming, creative pastimes, meditation, paranormal phenomena, out-of-body experiences, etc.

Lastly, the lowest- frequency waves are delta waves, at 1. All of us have an enormous capacity to control our brainwaves and therefore our state of mind. By increasing or slowing down our brainwaves, we can easily alter our thinking, feeling, and behaviour. By learning some measure of control over these different states, we can improve our overall sense of well-being, including both physical and mental health.

During our waking and sleeping states, the brain moves through all four stages. At any given time, the range in brainwaves determines how deeply we have entered into that particular state. By learning techniques of brainwave alteration, we can consciously enter into a particular state and control our thought processes.

The latest research now shows that when we meditate, the balance of brainwave activity in our brain shifts — there is less gamma and beta i. As this shift occurs, the low-frequency brainwaves accompany the happiness and contentment so often experienced by meditators. Through the presence of calm brainwaves found in meditation, we can experience a feeling of intense happiness.

At first, this feeling may last for just a few minutes or hours after meditation, but gradually over time, happiness and equanimity become our normal state of mind. Using the fMRI technique, Dr. Andrew Newberg and his team studied a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks as they meditated for approximately one hour.

After meditation, the brain regions were imaged and the meditative state compared with the normal waking state. The scans provided remarkable clues about what goes on in the brain during meditation. Newberg explained. In addition, a notable decrease in activity in the back part of the brain, or parietal lobe, recognised as the area responsible for orientation, reinforced the general suggestion that meditation leads to a lack of spatial awareness.

Types of Meditation Meditation is integral to many traditions and includes just as many techniques. However, the basic technique common to all is the practice of intentionally focusing on the present moment, accepting and nonjudgmentally paying attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that arise during the meditation period. Broadly speaking, we can categorise meditation techniques into two groups. The first category is that of focused-attention meditation, and the other one is open-monitoring meditation.

In focused attention, we focus our attention on a single thing — it can be the breath, a mantra, a visualization, a sensation in the body, etc. This is the way of Vipassana Meditation, Taoist Meditation, and other mindfulness meditations.

The Practice of Meditation One can even meditate while walking, sitting, or lying on the ground, but the most recommended posture is sitting quietly in peaceful surroundings. Sit on a cushion on the floor, or on a chair, with straight and unsupported back. Pay close attention to the movement of the breath. Breathing in, be aware that you are breathing in, and how it feels. Breathing out, be aware that you are breathing out. Feel the coolness of air going in, and the warmth of the air coming out from the nostrils.

Continue this simple process for the length of Balvinder Kumar your meditation practice, constantly redirecting the attention to the breath. Alternatively, you can move on to paying attention to whatever bodily sensations, thoughts, and feelings may arise. The idea is not to do anything intentionally, and to experience the present moment.

Throughout, a mantra is repeated in the mind without uttering a sound, while other thoughts keep on coming and going. While we meditate, we are of course distracted by surrounding sounds, physical sensations, and the irrepressible arising of thoughts.

Whenever that happens, gently recognise that you have been distracted, and bring the attention back to the breathing, or to the objective witnessing of those thoughts or sensations. Just observe whatever is happening in a non-judgmental manner while observing and watching the breathing. Experience the inherently enjoyable practice of observing, without reacting or responding, to thoughts and sensations.

In the same way, we can practice mindfulness in our daily activities — for instance, while eating, walking, and talking. In mindfulness meditation, the idea is to pay attention to whatever is going on in the present moment, simply to be aware of what is happening. If we are speaking, we must pay attention to the words we speak, and attentively listen to what the other person is saying. If we are walking, we should be aware of surrounding sights and sounds, our body movements, such as feet touching the ground, and the flow of the breath.

Vipassana Meditation Vipassana Insight Meditation , as practiced in the Theravada tradition of Buddhism, is a straightforward method of purifying the mind through the understanding of the Four Noble Truths as taught by the Awakening the Thinking Mind Buddha. It is the understanding of the transitory, impersonal, and unsatisfying nature of phenomena. It was taught in India more than years ago as the remedy for universal ills.

I learned Vipassana, as taught by S. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin. Although courses of up to 90 days are offered, one must initially start with a residential program of at least ten days. For the first three and half days, the meditator concentrates on his or her breath anapanasati. Breath has long been used as a conduit to inner knowing because breath is the only thing that comes with our existence and stays until our death.

Meditators watch the breath moving freely through their nostrils — just as it is. If it is deep, one perceives that it is deep; if it is shallow, one notices that also. If it is warm or cold, that too is seen. Nothing needs to be added to or subtracted from it. While in the process of knowing in this way, the meditator gradually starts to experience many emotions; all kinds of feelings are roused in his mind in the form of memories from the past and projections into the future.

All of these feelings, while seemingly new, are actually deeply rooted, and were there right along. The meditator is taken by surprise, however, as he had never seen within himself like this before. Focusing only on being with his breath, and watching as the emotions come Balvinder Kumar and go, the meditator develops an understanding that everything is changing — be it for the seeming good or the seeming bad.

While seen on a gross level, understanding nevertheless does come. People who read a lot of books about spiritual practice often believe themselves to be already in possession of this understanding. But they are mistaken, because true understanding bypasses the intellectual and comes only on an experiential level watching their thoughts coming and going, on the wings of the breath. In the next phase of Vipassana, the focus now changes to sensations, simple bodily sensations.

After practicing the mindfulness of breathing for three and a half days, the mind is now calm enough to look deep inside it. The meditator gets a glimpse of his or her mind and how it behaves, why it reacts, etc. As explained by Buddha, when anything impinges on the senses of a being be it smell, taste, a sight, a sound, etc.

Their subjective goodness or badness is immediately noted, though subject to further analysis. If we find the sensations good, we will thereafter crave their repetition.

Similarly, if we experience them as bad, we recoil and establish an aversion to them. So that is why Vipassana focuses on sensations, and the understanding that they are happening on an experiential level. It is understood that the sensations are simply arising and passing away.

Next, when the meditator attends to the various bodily sensations and yet is able to maintain equanimity, then for the very first time he or she has actually started the work of eradicating lifelong defilements.

Awakening the Thinking Mind Within just ten days, the meditator has a much clearer view of him or herself, although very few changes will be noticeable to others. After consistent practise one sees life with altogether different perception. The Vipassana meditator gradually understands that the problem lies within oneself and its solution too. The Mind becomes so calm that working efficiency increases. The meditator notices that now his mind can differentiate between himself and his mind, he clearly watches his mind activities, mainly the thoughts which are so vague and random.

His mind thinks of many things at one single moment and he understands that a being has 52 minds with different science linked to each mind, but that stage comes after very deep meditation. If we talk on gross level, then at least a meditator understands about his mind churning all the time in the past or future, it never stays in the present. In the moments when the mind stays in present it feels itself at peace.

Two major things that a Vipassana meditator understands are, firstly, that everything is changing and secondly, that anything which arises is bound to vanish be it life situations, emotions, feelings or human being itself. Life and death exist simultaneously be it for fractions of seconds or for years. How much compassion one has generated in himself measures how well he is practising.

One who generates compassion distributes this unconditional love and Balvinder Kumar harmony to others. The way he feels peace in his life, may others also live their life peacefully with love and harmony. A peaceful mind enjoys a happy life. Even in his bad times, a meditator feels peace because he understands well that this will also change, nothing is permanent, everything is changing, and so will I and so will the situations of life.

One who practises daily, gradually understands that many defilements cloud our mind but if a meditator remains equanimous then the strength of defilements starts decreasing. Many meditators report that they have come out of their anxiety, depression, anger, regrets, jealously, and many negative aspects which were proving a hindrance to a peaceful life. Transcendental Meditation TM TM is one of the most important and worldwide popular meditation technique introduced way back in by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi According to the official website of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi more than six million people of all ages, educational backgrounds, cultures and religions have learned this TM technique.

The site further claims that the benefits of the TM programme have been verified by over scientific studies at more than independent research institutions in 35 countries. Awakening the Thinking Mind Compared to some other popular ones, this meditation technique is far more effective and simple in taking our mind into its most silent, peaceful and restful state.

The technique is very simple as one has to chant continuously a mantra or a word that is pleasing to the mind in order to achieve a restful state. As we all know that our mind is always in an active state with unlimited and uninterrupted thoughts coming in each and every second. The mind also requires relaxation. TM gives our mind an inward direction.

The Thinking Body

It helps us to turn the attention within, and once it is done the mind starts to settle down. In this way the mind goes into a complete restful state and total silence or quietness is achieved, thus getting deep relaxation.

Many studies have found a positive correlation between the TM technique and possible health-related physiological states, including reduction of high blood pressure, decreased insomnia, reduction of high cholesterol, decreased cigarette smoking, decreased alcohol use, and decreased anxiety.

How to stop overthinking, the root cause of all our mental problems? When we think too much, instead of actually doing things, we overthink. When we keep on thinking and repeating the same set of thoughts, we are overthinking. It is just a wastage of time and energy and puts us on a vicious circle thinking and thinking over and again.

When we are constantly thinking, worrying and analysing, we are not present in the moment. We move away Balvinder Kumar from the moment and instead put in a place of suffering. It is the overthinking mind that makes us feel anxious and worried about the future. Psychologists have found that over-thinking can be detrimental to our performance, and may lead to anxiety and depression. Most of our pain comes from how we churn the negativity over and over gain in our minds, until it envelops our very being.

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The origin of yoga goes back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions, but most likely developed around the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, in ancient India. When we meditate regularly, we develop the capacity to perceive things in a non-judgmental way. We move away Balvinder Kumar from the moment and instead put in a place of suffering. While we meditate, we are of course distracted by surrounding sounds, physical sensations, and the irrepressible arising of thoughts. Cognitively, mindfulness has been shown to decrease rumination and boost attention.

While in the process of knowing in this way, the meditator gradually starts to experience many emotions; all kinds of feelings are roused in his mind in the form of memories from the past and projections into the future.