Mindfulness has been gaining popularity as a subject nowadays. Or so it seems.
I’ve been practicing mindfulness, for as far back as I can remember. But, it’s only lately that I began to realize that good mindfulness comes from being in an optimal frame of mind, body and soul. Happiness and emotional well-being are integral foundations for mindfulness to occur.
A lot has been said and written about the topics of mindfulness and unconscious processing. The two are definitely related and it’s not that hard to master this technique.
The trick is to:
- Be fully present in the environment you are in.
- Practice the art of raising your level of awareness. It can be as simple as that if you try and keep trying.
- Make sure that the levels of Glycemic Index in your body remains constant. Don’t have two big meals. Break them down into smaller meals a day. Do not have big meals before an important event, meeting e.t.c. In layman terms, when you have too much food, the blood rushes to your stomach. That leaves less blood and subsequently less oxygenation for the rest of your body and your brain. This is the reason why you get drowsy after a big meal. Resist the temptation and that will help keep your brain sharp and alert throughout the day
- Listen to your gut feeling. You know when someone is talking about something and you can tell relatively quickly about the amount of planning and effort that has gone into delivering a presentation, meeting e.t.c.
- Do not try and absorb everything. Try and get to the gist of what is being said. Visualize a framework and try and extract the logic. This is more of an art, than a science
- If you don’t get it, then ask questions. Simple. Try and ask the question off of yourself before asking too many question.
- Practice the art of connecting dots. Also, refrain from connecting too many dots. Keep it to the subject at hand.
- Be happy. Whatever you do, don’t ignore your happiness. Everything flows from a state of emotional-well being. Emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual.
There is more to it, then just these tips. On a very high level:
- The engine: The unconscious mind is extremely powerful. The conscious mind is merely trying to make sense out of reality. I suspect the primary goal of the conscious mind is to really ‘filter the noise’. But that’s a subject by itself. Remember, all human thought, action, consequence and reality is by and large ‘governed’ by our unconscious.
- Mindfulness is what enables you to store qualitative information into your conscious mind (at first). Separate the wheat of the information from the chaff and let the unconscious do the rest for you (milling, grinding, mixing e.t.c). I’ll try and explain what that means, later in this blog-post.
- Storage: This information is eventually stored into your unconscious mind. Stored data can only be useful, if you use it for a specific purpose at some point in time.
- Factory: Once inside your unconscious mind. You can work with this information however you see fit. You can shape it, mould it, connect it with other data-sets and try and come up with new realities. Problem is, the conscious mind cannot tap into the unconscious mind on a real-time basis for an extended amount of time. There is probably an evolutionary reason that the brain has emerged with that specific design.
- Supply: Hence, keeping the above mentioned point into consideration. All that you can really do is to provide your conscious mind with the necessary supply that it needs. Reading books is a great fuel supply. Nothing nourishes your mind more than reading books. You can go at your own pace and absorb as you see fit. If you can’t read books due to any given reason, then go for audio-books. Or view the information presented in an audio-visual format. There is a lot of good content posted on Youtube and other open-education websites (udacity, coursera, khan academy, udemy, mit opencourseware and even iTunesU). Thanks to technology, there are many ways of absorbing and acquiring knowledge in this day and age.
- Construct: Solitude and dedicated thinking time is also very important. Go for random thinking for creative brain-storming and focused thinking in order to get to solutions.
- Thought-Experimentation: The wikipedia page for thought experimentation can be a little confusing. Thought experiment are just a series of if and then statement. The trick is to narrow it down to one single hypothesis and then test that hypothesis leveraging if and then statements. These statements can be ideas, probes, strategies. Don’t limit it to boxed values.
- Eureka: What you eventually want to get to is an epiphany. The short and simple way that I describe epiphany is a “realization when things merge and compliment each other in our mind”. It’s a much enhanced form of connecting dots and it is largely processed in the unconscious mind. Stellar epiphanies always come when you least expect them.
- Move, absorb, live: Human body is a machine and needs the necessary nourishments to keep in functioning in an ideal condition. It’s needs a daily doze of fresh oxygen. The limbs need to move as that is what they have been designed to do. The skin craves sunlight, so it can start producing the vitamin D, which has it’s own set of benefits. I think you get the point. Take care of your body. No one else can do it for you. Also, take time to stop by and smell the flowers from time to time (figuratively speaking). Expose yourself to a range of activities, sights, sounds and smells. It works wonders for your cognition and also for creativity.
- Relax: You need play, leisure and perhaps some form of meditation, in order to get the mind into a relaxed state. The first two would generally suffice. Also, prayer is also a form of meditation. Epiphanies do not come from time-slots dedicated for thinking. Epiphanies rarely come from very rigid structure of mind and networks. And if they do, then there is a tough price to pay for that. Relaxation of the mind, body and spirit is a much better alternative. It also contributes greatly towards one’s happiness. That is tied in part and parcel with success.
- Imagination: This is why our sense of reality is largely limited to what we can imagine. Einstein has important things to say about imagination. But I really like this quote by Pablo Picasso and it’s very true for our day and age. So imagine good things and be hopeful of the future. In fact, go out there and create the future you want. You will be astounded how many people would be willing to join you on your journey.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso
So this here is my brain-dump for mindfulness and unconscious processing. I’d be sure to add more to this content. Specially as I learn more about how the mind works, about psychology and generally how human behavior is fashioned.
I’d be curious to know what others think of some of these thoughts and also if there is something else that can be added to the list above.
Synopsis: If I was going to synthesize this blog-post into one sentence. That that would be to be mindfully aware of your surroundings. Specially when it comes to the absorption of knowledge. Soak up as much knowledge as you can and let your unconscious mind work with the knowledge that you have acquired. Nothing is truly wasted in the Universe and the knowledge that we acquire is not an exception when it comes to that statement.
So I got into this auto accident back in February and ended up with some soft tissue injuries.
This was the first time that I’ve had to use health-care services to this extent. Previous visits have always been relegated for lesser symptoms. (cold, fever)
From a first person’s perspective, I think the health-care services in Ontario have improved over the course of the decade. Here are some general and non-scientific observations that I have made:
- Wait times seems to have been reduced. I was able to get the necessary appointments for X-rays (24 hours) and CT scans (3 weeks) in a very short time period. However, working with a family doctor really helped expedite the whole thing.
- Electronic Records: It appears that the results from the labs (x-ray) were electronically uploaded to the cloud. I’m making an assumption here. But only because the doctors were able to extract the results from a secured (password protected) site and display on their screens. On a side note, this was immensely beneficial for me as a patient. Getting a visual into what was actually going on in my body, greatly helped in easing my sense of anxiety.
- Innovation, Better Equipment, Better Output: My doctor is pretty thorough and decided to send me over for a CT Scan. Couldn’t help but make an observation of the innovations occurring in the medical (equipment) industry.
The CT scan that I was under looked very sci-fi’esque. Found an image off the Internet and this looks very similar.
Equipment setup was almost identical to the image below.
The quality of the images (output) also appears to be way superior. I noticed that the equipment was from Toshiba and they had these promotional images hung on the wall. I didn’t think it would be prudent to take pictures at the time. But I did find the following images off the Internet.
Coming back to my personal injury. See someone else’s carelessness, ended up reducing my mobility and impacting my quality of life.
But on the flip side, I did get a very tiny glimpse into what was going on in the world of medicine from a first person’s perspective.
Last but not the least. Having lived in different parts of the world, I am very grateful that we have accessible health-care here in Ontario. A lot has to be said about a society that places the well-being of it’s citizens over everything else. Canada and the Nordic countries are examples for other countries to emulate in this respect (health-care).
Also, very thankful to the Doctors, physiotherapists and technicians who bring comfort and healing to others.
One of the thoughts circulating in my head lately.
The best form of intelligence is compassion.
Compassion helps in reducing and reversing suffering. Technological and scientific advances do the same.
So, in that respect, the most intelligent wouldn’t necessarily be Einstein. Although I believe that Einstein was a very compassionate soul. But the original message comes from Christ and perhaps Buddha.
Maybe that’s why all great journeys begin with mysticism.
It definitely appears that there is an elevated level of chaos in the world right now. It’s literally a daily barrage of terrible terrible news. And it impacts you on an individual level.
You can do things on an individual level to calm the nerves. But, the only thing that has really helped me in this scenario is to reach out to the elders and others in a different age group. People, who have grown up in the 60′s, 70′s e.t.c. Their observations during those times. How reality tends to get turbulent, but eventually things come back to a somewhat normal state. It’s reassuring to hear those words.
Other individuals in my generation are probably going through similar thoughts and feelings. These tips and suggestions have helped ease my sense of anxiety a little bit. And I figured I’d share them on my blog:
- Reach out to someone and talk about what you are feeling.
- Try and talk to someone in an older age group.They’ve experienced more and that has led them to become more wiser
- Reach out to someone who is not a polarizing figure and someone who doesn’t have their own set of strong biases. Someone that you know, do possess a good /rational head on their shoulders.
It’s surprising, the kind of insights that can come out of normal everyday conversations.
It appears that 5 year plans are a big part of the overall strategy for some developing nations.
- China [link - history, link and link]
- South Korea [link]
- Singapore [Singapore's story is fascinating. Almost all the successes that Singapore has experienced can be accredited back to Lee Kuan Yew. I am not sure if Singapore has one comprehensive 5 year plan. But it does appear that there are a number of different 5 year plans that the state has embarked upon. 5 year plan for Science, Technology and Enterprise starting in 1991 [link] , to things like improving waterways [link]. Plus, there has always been a focus on the economy and Singapore is #3 in the entire world when it comes to GDP per capita [link]. Quite an achievement for a country that has almost no natural resources.
5 year plans originated in the Soviet Russia back in the days. But, as it’s quite evident, other countries have taken this methodology and have leveraged it to their economic and scientific gain and benefit.
Analysts and policy makers in the Western Economies and the rest of the developing world, please take note. Please research this area, assessing the pros and cons and look into the possibility of leveraging 5 year plans for nation-building. US and Britain have some 5 year plans. Nothing for Canada. And surprisingly enough, not even for Germany.
- Engines of Prosperity: Western economies have robust institutions that have the potential to spur creativity, research and innovation. link
- Platform: A democratic framework is what allows that to occur. Creativity and real innovation (not copy cat) can only occur in an environment where ideas can be exchanged without any constraints. Where dissent can actually be harnessed and not kiboshed. Multi-Trillion dollar economies can be launched with the Democratic framework as a platform (base). link And if Democracy is broken, then it can be fixed.
- Markets should be free. But not freer: Economic growth needs to be stimulated, channeled and nurtured. link
- We cannot just create brick and mortar companies and expect that talented individuals would want to come, live and work there.
- An entire municipal eco-system needs to be designed in order to attract the best and the brightest.
This here is a good encapsulation of what it takes to do just that. i.e attract the best and the brightest.
Excerpt from another article about the same:
“Yet it is here an enigmatic tycoon is spending $350m (£230m) in a unique experiment at urban regeneration and, as he puts it, human happiness. Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay) is luring poets, artists, inventors, investors, geeks, a motley band of British entrepreneurs and 1,500 ferociously cheerful employees known as Zapponians into an attempt to turn downtown Las Vegas into a hub of culture and innovation.” link
Revive communities; attract the best and the brightest
Project Space: http://downtownproject.com/
Problem: We are not as innovative as some of the other countries.
- We don’t have a robust process for turning research into products.
- We cannot commercialize a significant proportion of the inventions or products we create.
- We also don’t have a robust process for marketing the products to various markets. Be it markets in the U.S or global markets. example
- A very nascent network for supporting entrepreneurship.
- Lack of venture capital. 400 Million by the Feds is a good start, but not nearly enough. And that’s just for the Tech sector? Correct?
- A culture that does not promote failure. And/or does not have the capacity to promote failure because of reasons x,y, z <insert reasons> Use Silicon Valley as an example of a system that promotes failure and does a pretty good job of turning ideas, people, processes, funding into successful products and economies of scale.
- <insert any study conducted that ties cultural values of a system to innovation> U.S? Switzerland? Scandinavian countries? What are they doing that is different and how can we learn from them?
- The various components within the ecosystem do not collaborate enough, among themselves . Meaning university backed research, academia, think tanks, government institutions e.t.c do not talk to each other for the sole intent of boosting innovation. Which should, by and large be driven by an aspiration for boosting economic gain. (incentive). But then, again the processes for NRC, IRAP and their rapport with the various universities is quite solidified. Red herring?
- Most companies are left to themselves, when it comes to finding the markets that they should pitch to. As opposed to existing streams and processes (on inter-governmental) level that these companies could tap into.
- Trouble sustaining multi-billion dollar companies. A huge issue IMHO. Nortel, BlackBerry in a precarious position.
- Nearly not enough focus on “disruptive innovation” for defensive and offensive economic strategies.
- “Disruption” “disruptive innovation” and what it means to “disrupt and protect your own revenue streams”. And how all of that is inter-woven with the basic tenets of innovation.
- Horizon: The enormous opportunities that “reverse innovation” provides. How can we leverage the innovation being conducted in the developing world and use it for our benefit.
- Expertise: Knowledge-intensive areas. Translating research into patents.
- Comparative investment in R&D as a proportion of their revenue by Canadian companies. What does this contribution produce in the end? Do we measure the output by revenue?
- In comparison to some of the other industries (say oil and gas), very few ventures in the non-traditional sectors are funded. For example bio-tech, clean-energy. Lack of funding compounds this problem and overall diversification takes a hit.
- Most problems can be traced back to lack of finance (funding)
- We try and do everything in Canada. Which drives up the cost. Could that be part of the problem? What about securing funding from another part of the world and using a methodology that ensures x percentage of the workforce will be retained in Canada. While working out some of the agreements (Further tax breaks, access to other research facilities e.t.c)
- <insert any other reasons>