3 Keys to Build Happy and Sustainable Relationships

Relationships either build or break people’s lives. It is important to note that life without our family, friends and surroundings can be incomplete. How to relate to people and surroundings in a way that makes us happy and keep the world a better place? Here are 3 keys on improving relationships around us.

1. Giving attracts receiving

Sustainable relationships are rooted more on giving than receiving. In a world that has become so fast and competitive, relationships with family, friends and spouse have often crumbled during their infancy. Also, our relationships with the environment can often be aggressive doing harm to the nature, animals and man-made infrastructure. This is a cause of everyone looking for something to gain from the next person or the environment, thereby hurting others in the process. To live happily, we must consider that giving attracts receiving. If we invest in giving, we can motivate others to give back and thereby develop a cycle of reciprocity resulting in sustainable relationships.

2. Take time to listen

Sustainable relationships are further realized through good listening skills. Hence, communication is one of the vanguards. Mindful people take time to listen to others before they judge, respond, or act upon those around them. This means that for one to sustain a relationship, they should be patient enough to give the opportunity to others to express themselves, to listen not to respond but understand other’s position, idea or a way of thinking. Communication thus is one of the vital cogs in keeping relationships going and building trust with our family, friends, workmates and all those whom we relate with in our personal and social life.

3. Approach differences without destroying similarities

Relationships are either broken or sustained by the way we handle conflicts. One sad reality is that conflict is inevitable but what is important is how we react and approach differences in a manner that does not destroy the similarities or things that bind people together. Conflict is one of the common features in human life, and at one point, the absence of peace is bound to visit everyone of us.

There can be conflicts in one’s thoughts, conflicts between two or more people, and a conflict between us and the environment. The key here is to first accept that conflict is inevitable. When one has accepted that conflict exists, he or she will be prudent to first relax, clear our mind and then self-reflect. Hereby, one’s ability to create a relationship with themselves is the first step towards solving any conflict and sustaining relationships with others and the environment.

In the end

Let’s consider to those whom we relate with. After all, it is thanks to them that our life is often made beautiful and memorable as we share experiences together. Want to know more about improving relationships with all? Or how to start meaningful relationships with yourself first? Check out our free 42 days self-development program!

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How Does Priority Setting Help The Mind?

Success is something we all are moving to. We all want to get to our project destination; a successful end of what we do. Regardless the size of what we manage, our daily happenings and responsibilities, we set goals to attain a successful completion of our project. In this process, priority setting cuts across all domains of life and once practised, it increases concentration and focus, the mind gets less stressed as we know what we are up to and what we expect to reach.

Many of us have more than one activity to carry out each day, some may have different deadlines to meet on daily basis. Multitasking which in most cases comes with some sort of stress can still be managed, and we can still find balance if we learn to set priorities in what we do. In these few lines, we explore how priority setting in our tasks aids our mind to feel relaxed and still while dealing with many issues at the same time.

Urgent vs important

Before we start the journey, we must know where the road leads to. We need to have our destination in mind. Next, we need to know what means we can use to get there faster and easier. Some of our tasks are urgent, some are important. The dilemma comes when balancing the value, trying to know which one will have more value if done first. Among the two equally important ones, getting to know which is complex and engaging matters. Hence, establishing a roadmap or drafting a framework of schedules are the first steps towards setting priorities. Of course, being clear on our goals helps so that we can swallow what we can chew.

Knowing what is urgent and what is important is the starting point. First, we may need to clear the one which is urgent and needs immediate attention as the rest of our activities may depend on whether that is done or not. Knowing the very important, important and non-important tasks enables us to know where to put the line and deal only with important ones. The non-important  tasks can easily be postponed and rescheduled to later times as their non-completion may not affect our project much.

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Priority among other priorities

I recently got to know that self-discipline plays a role here. When we are that person who set the goals, classify our priorities, set all kinds of execution plans, and we are that person who can’t say NO to him or herself, our set priorities may change because we need to be strict on ourselves and deny to ourselves anything that can alter our plans. However, flexibility may help only when it comes to setting priority among other priorities. In that case, one can be adaptable and flexible to choose either of them, provided they all will be done. This reduces stress because we get to know what we are doing, we become aware of the resources on our disposal to accomplish it and we are sure it will be done. No panic, no sweating under high performing air-condition, we gain control over our tasks. Our mind becomes calm, hence we can concentrate and focus much better.

Start when you go to bed

We may not need to be managers of big offices, firms, enterprises, organizations to exercise setting priorities in our life. All starts in that very moment when we go to bed. As many people say, it is the starting time of a new day. Taking your pencil and jotting down few lines of planned activities of the next day in the order we want to accomplish them often prepares us to become managers of our own life. We get to know what does not need to come on the list and what must be done by all means. Then, during the day, thriving to do what we have planned will make our mind in control, and gradually as we keep doing that, it becomes a part of us. Once we are self-made managing directors, we can see how beneficial this can be to us and those around us.

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The Power of Giving

Giving can have different motives. People tend to give out of excess, what they feel useless, or when they want to create space for new things and clean up the mess. They may also give because they feel uncomfortable keeping something. In these situations, the recipient becomes a dumping site, and no feeling of affection or love for the other is in this act. Others spend to give: they sacrifice what they wish they could keep, but they choose to let go as they feel it is for a higher purpose for both the giver and the recipient. This becomes a charitable act when giving happens unconditionally with no expectations of a future gain or receiving back the same gifts or other favours.

Do I have enough to give?

While some people give out of love, others may think they need to acquire more to be able to give. The feeling that they do not have enough to give creates hindrance in the act of giving. The complex human nature will never allow them to share as one will never have all he or she needs. In fact, there is always what to give to others – kindness or cash, time or affectionate care – as what many may need could simply be a feeling of being loved and cared for, not necessarily material stuff. In fact, giving helps the mind and inner wellness for our own self-development.

How can giving change our life?
Donating one’s earned things is one of the most regarded act of charity as we donate what has a value. It becomes help given to others with an aim to make their life conditions better. This comes in the form of cash, material stuff such as clothing and other useful items that once received will make the person relieved. We can donate time as well, a less valued asset, which is really a good gift. We can also give something very cheap, like a smile, which can transform someone’s life. A shiny face, a greeting full of kindness and affection can relieve the mind and that is what millions on earth are lacking: kind words and gentle smiles from those whom they expect the least.

You may disagree with me, but try to give money or a gift to someone with a gloomy face and see the difference. That echoes the beautiful quote from Kahlil Gibran who said: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Joy of giving

In our earlier posts, we explored how donating can help one be free from an ego mind. Yes, getting used to giving can make one’s mind free because even in many scriptures from various religious believes there is this popular saying: “There is more joy in giving than in receiving”. Shannon Perry said: “It’s worth burning myself out like a match so long as others receive the light and warmth I dispatch.” He probably meant that “others are because I am”. This is why those always in predisposition of giving are called generous: not only does this earn them a repute, they become our role models as well.

What if it’s hard to give?

In case you find hard to give, there may be so many factors in your life that have led you to this. No art can be performed to change it when there is no practice. We may start with just a little and make it a constant act to be a part of us till we feel like it is a duty for us to give out: volunteering has been one easy way to start with; it is where we offer our skills and time with no monetary value awaited. The mind will feel happy when we have managed to let others feel good from what we share with them. Would you like to try it today? Go ahead!

Life is only as good as your mindset

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford

Is our mindset fixed?

Life is only as good as your mindset. The good news is that the mindset is not fixed. It can be changed and shaped so that it serves life and a higher purpose.

Through our beliefs and experience, we come to live according to some patterns. Every day we can program ourselves.

By understanding the program and the patterns of the mind, we see it is possible to achieve certain goals in life by changing one’s behaviour and mindset.

The mind is the meaning making machine

Some beliefs are mental habits based on irrational fears with no evidence to support them.

These patterns of thinking often turn into limiting beliefs. Beliefs that a person has, especially limiting ones, have an impact on the likelihood of success.

Every behaviour has value and serves the need of the rational mind to protect one from suffering.

Therefore, there is a positive intention motivating and justifying every behaviour.

Behaviours are good or bad when considered for their ability to achieve a certain result or purpose, to prevent putting oneself in a hurtful situation.

How do you know a belief is limiting? It causes you to be unable to do specific actions.

Some of the most common limiting beliefs are:

Fear of rejection, failing, not being good enough, abandonment, not being smart or beautiful, being a procrastinator, not having the skills.

Examples of thoughts that a person repeats in the mind and that lead to limiting beliefs: I am too old, I am too young, I don’t have the connections, I don’t have the support, I am not a leader, I don’t have the time, etc.

Steps to overcome limiting beliefs:

  • Gain awareness
  • Start defying limiting beliefs: identify and create experiences that prove them wrong
  • Invest in yourself
  • Heal the inner child
  • Trust your intuition
  • Find mentors
  • Dare to take risks
  • Celebrate success, no matter how big or small
  • Always use positive, encouraging inner talk

Photo credits: Irina Kostenich @unsplash.com

How to practice patience when facing negative emotions?

I like to define patience as peace + science, or in other words, the science of peace.

Patience is the ability to overcome challenges without reacting with anger. You can show patience with a good attitude in front of life difficulties. Being patient is also the comprehension of life facts without forcing anything or anyone, without getting attached to anything or anyone, without any effort.

If the patience is part of our natural state, why do we “lose” it?

Patience is lost as we allow what does not correspond to our real nature. The enemies of patience are negative emotions such as ANGER AND HATE, which bring suffering. These negative emotions are created in the mind because the mind is like a sponge; it absorbs both the positive and the negative, unfortunately, it is proven that the mind absorbs more quickly the negative than the positive.

In the world we live in, we receive daily hate messages such as wars, abandonment, and injustice. In social networks and television, they show us a reality full of falsehood and materialism called “mass consumption“. All of this is absorbed and accumulated by mind daily. It is as if the mind were a glass of water and each negative thought is a drop of ink that falls into the water and becomes cloudy and dark.

When we faced difficult situations, the mind is cloudy and dark and, instead of responding assertively, it reacts with anger and hatred.

If something happens that I do not want, I get angry …

When someone says or does something that I do not like, I get angry …

When situations do not go as I expected, I get angry …

If we analyze this pattern, there is always “something” or “someone” that “steals” our peace or patience. If we let everything that happens around affect us, we end up suffering. And this is because we are so dissatisfied with life that we always want something more and we do not even know what that something is.

As the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo says: “People find it difficult to be happy because they think happiness is to be happy with everyone and everything, be happy and nothing more, laugh at everything. But if we could realize that happiness is to be serene. And that serenity is obtained when one is on the path he chose. Not exactly because he does well, that would be very easy. But we expect so much from the happiness that we have made it impossible.”

In order to end the suffering caused by anger and hatred, we need to change our DESIRES. Desires are another cause of suffering, and uncontrollable desires can lead to death. People hurt themselves, self-flagellate, suffer from depression, anxiety and end up losing patience altogether.

We all face obstacles; if they have a solution, there is no reason to be angry, and if they do not have it, how does it benefit us to get angry?

But here is something important, NOT all suffering is bad, the small daily sufferings that affect us physically and emotionally, such as pain and illness, also prepare us to endure great adversities. If we become familiar with the challenges every day, we become stronger, and it becomes easier and easier to solve them.

How to cultivate patience?

One of the most effective ways to cultivate patience is to have TRUST, trusting that everything we need comes to us at the time and in the right way, without any effort. This we can call waiting, “wait patiently.” If we return to the example of the glass with water, if we let the ink settle in the bottom of the glass, we can see clearly and choose to respond assertively to the challenges, instead of getting angry.

Confidence allows us to understand that everything arrives at the perfect moment and time. For some strange reason, humans have developed the need to control everything, including others. This creates great disappointments of how life is according to what we expect from it. Through the practice of trust, we let everything flow without the need to control; flow with life is much more relaxed and effective than go against the flow!

One of the best ways to cultivate that natural state of patience is by means of meditation. Meditation is an exercise for the mind, which is, as I mentioned earlier, the source of negative emotions and uncontrollable desires. Meditation allows us to:

-Learn how to deal with our thoughts and emotions

-Connect with our natural state of inner peace

-Clean the impurities of the mind

-Control the desires

-Accept the nature of the world that is UNCONTROLLABLE

3 affirmations to cultivate patience

After recognizing the origin of the loss of patience and understanding that we can control our desires to stop suffering, we can pause and transform our life experience into a conscious experience of peace and serenity. Positive affirmations are the opposite of the negative thought patterns that we normally use and are the starting point for personal development.

For this reason, I want to share the following affirmations to cultivate patience in all areas of life:

  • Practice acceptance

Today I accept the people, situations, and circumstances as they occur. I know that this moment is as it should be because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not fight against the whole universe by fighting against this moment. I accept things as they are and not as I want them to be.

  • Take responsibility

Today I take responsibility for my situation and for all the events that I see as challenges. I avoid blaming others or myself. I recognize that every challenge is a disguised opportunity, which allows me to take this moment and transform it for my growth and expansion.

  • Remain defenseless

Today, I renounce my point of view, and I have no need to persuade others to accept my opinions. I remain open to all points of view and I am not rigidly attached to any of them. I choose to be kind before being right.

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How is an Ego mind a handicap to self-development?

The inner self is part of what we really are, and ego comes in when we fail to see ourselves as whole, fulfilled entity with no separateness. Our cultures, our upbringing, our inherent problems in life make us realize that we do not possess that wholeness, and we tend to maximize the urge to own, control and keep to ourselves what we think is lacking in us. Ego has been equated to selfishness and unwillingness to live a communal life style.

We are because others are

We all have this tendency to give priority to what is ours, who we are and what we own. Many times as humans, we have that inner consciousness of self that we want to protect, portray, impose or demonstrate. This inclination to separate oneself from the other part of the universe may at times be so strong that what comes first is always his/hers. This is normal and everyone has that aspect of life but it may be seen as harmful to self and others when it exceeds normal limit whereby we lose the awareness of the idea that we are because others are. This sentiment referred as ego is when we put in our mind that we are clipped and stuck in a cage that does not even exist.

Again, it is that state of mind that puts a line between self and others, mine and others. This sense of self which is natural and common in everyone of us, can be healthy and at times unhealthy, and hence a handicap to relating well with others.

False self does not lead to progress

Nothing is so bad than to have an ego mind, because as many say, we are born with an infant’s egocentric predisposition to experience the world completely in relation to our personal needs and desires. It becomes an issue when the ego in us grows to limit possibility to open up and share our life experiences with others. Brahmanada, an Indian poet suggested that, to be freed from an ego mind, one must be detached from petty desires, to become free from the bondage of ego, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to serve selflessly, and to act without attachment to the fruits of our actions.

Everyone wants life to be better and change, we work to transform our lives and we approach others to learn from them and on daily basis we are thriving to maximize what can increase our joy and happiness even if at times we have to sacrifice our happiness to gain more. An ego mind will remain stuck and will fight any change as coming out from the comfort zone remains quite impossible. They fight any process of transformation and prefer to remain in a false self where all is centered on and around them. Letting go to embrace new realities becomes hard and hence, progress remains impossible or difficult.

How can one fight against an ego mind?  

After having known how ego mind can create harm not only to oneself but also others, we may need to thrive to get out of this. As with ego, we are obstinate about what we know and we hold on that knowledge as the truth. Hence, there is a need to learn to quiet the mind, be still of heart, and focus our attention inwards opening ourselves to this new experience of greater awareness. In the silence of deep introspection, when the mind becomes quiet, it is possible to enter a point of deep awareness and consciousness. Meditation that helped many will be the real tool, an easy means to heal our ego mind.

A wise man told me, meditation is a space for inner knowing, and I think, the more the mind gets freed from unworthy worry, desires, fears of unknown danger, the wider the space that grows within us that can accommodate new knowledge dimension where the ‘Other’ finds a place and we end up cultivating love and compassion as we become aware of the world around us, the world we integrally take part in. Since breaking long-fed habits may take more efforts and time, some simple tools such as pausing altruistic acts like giving out stuff and donating items, offering our time and means to others gradually free us from our ego as we come to know that “I am because they are”.

 

The Art of Improvisation

Have you ever planned something so well only for the plan to be upset in the last minute as a result making you feel confused? Many of us would love things in life to always go as planned. We work so hard in calculating every step on the way with the hope that everything will go as perfectly as we wished it to be. Sadly, that’s not always the reality. Sometimes things go wrong but we still have to get the intended result. Hence, this becomes the million dollar question: how do you make it happen in the midst of a sudden change? This is where the art of improvisation sets in. In order to improvise and fix the situation, you need the following:

1. Keep your composure within
Sometimes when we talk about keeping composure, people think it means you should be slow when in reality you need to be fast in order to fix the situation. Keeping composure here means that your mind should not be in a haste or panic even if your body needs to move faster. Good athletes for instance run fast but their mind is still centered, and that is why they can resist for a longer time. Keeping calm within will give you the right wisdom you need at that point in time.

2. Use your intuition or discernment
Listening to yourself is one of the greatest skills you need in order to manage an unpredictable situation. Sometimes you can’t get the maths right by logical reasoning but that inner voice tells you, it is possible. The way to practice building your intuitive strength is to have a daily routine of reflection. It does not need to be long, 10-15 minutes is okay for a start.

3. Observe and Empathise
We are often in a haste to make decisions without observing what might be the current state of affairs. Situations are best judged by what is observed in the present moment and not much reliance on what seems similar to apply previous knowledge. When we observe keenly, we need to also empathise. It’s not always about doing what we want to do but also putting ourselves in the position of the other party to see if we would like what we intend to do.

4. Read, play and live!
It is often said the more you read, the more you know which is quite true. However, reading alone is not enough. It has to go with having a life of experiences. This may be travelling, playing games, hanging out with friends or volunteering at a community center. All these little but different experiences is what forms together the wisdom you need to improvise when the need arises. So, get out there and live your life!

5. Be flexible
A lot of people fail when their plans change because their mind is so limited to what they had previously conceived. Life is impermanent and so we have to be flexible at all times for the unforeseen. Do not be afraid to try something new. There’s nothing wrong in trying if the previous is already obsolete.

I’ve been travelling as a project manager for the last four years dealing with circumstances and people from different cultural backgrounds. This has taught me how to think out of the box as things do not always go as planned. However, improvisation does not only have to be in a negative situation. You could also improvise to take advantage of an opportunity that was not in your initial plan. I remember arriving at a conference last year in Pointe Noire, Congo without my bags and resource materials because the airline delayed them. Instead of panicking or cancelling my presentation, I chose to forget about my initial plan and spoke from my heart based on how I read the audience. They could feel my truth, and I could feel their concentration. Till today, this happens to be one of my most impactful events out of more than a hundred gatherings where I’ve been a speaker.

What is Your Motive for Giving?

I read somewhere that ‘it is easier for smaller communities to live in peace and harmony than bigger communities.’ I cannot attest to the truism of this, but I know from personal experience that the less we have, the happier we become. It is normal to find people in my community giving to the poor and the needy. But is the motive of giving important?

What’s bad in the motive?

Growing up I knew it was nice to offer clothes and other items that I didn’t like or use anymore to the needy. I used to give to free up the space, to get new or trending items and replace the ones I had given out. Well, you may say: but what’s bad in that? Nothing actually, except for the motive. Motives help us analyse and evaluate the reason behind everything we do, why we do the things we do, and how they shape our actions. It took me a desire for inner peace and happiness to finally understand through the practice of mindfulness and meditation that the motives behind giving or sharing anything with anyone is what counts more than the mere act of giving. All motives stem from the mind ― good or bad ― as a result of what we feed our minds with daily and often unconsciously given that our lives are likened to our minds and often a reflection of each other. If we have thoughts of peace, simplicity, prosperity, harmony and love, it will be reflected in our lives by inner peace, less attachments, happiness, ability to manage stress and unconditional love for all living beings.

More space, easier to focus

Our ability to live happier lives doesn’t depend on how much we have or possess but on how well trained and cultured our minds are. You will agree that it is a way easier to manage a group of 10 people than a group of 100 people. Imagine then, if you are able to reduce all the thoughts in your mind and learn to focus on just one at a time, won’t that be awesome? That’s what I learned through the practice of mindfulness that changed my perspective about giving. My motive for giving had always been to create space to buy more but after training my mind to focus on one thought at a time I am now able to analyze my motives from different vantage points, clearly and more accurately. The more space we create in our lives and our thoughts, the easier it becomes to focus on the things that really matter to us with more clarity, focus and understanding.

Whoever wrote these words ‘it is easier for smaller communities to live in peace and harmony than bigger communities’ in my opinion translates to: it is easier to find focus, balance, harmony and peace by reducing the chaos in our minds and our lives.

You are just a click away from a life changing experience, learn more on how to simplify your life and find inner peace by visiting us  today.

Is Self-Blame Safe to our Mind?

Have you ever felt ashamed of something you’ve done to the point of blaming yourself and feeling so much guilt that you tend to hate yourself? Has it ever happened to you to feel so bad on your past events that you have done, which might have brought you pain or failure and caused harm to others? Haven’t you felt remorse for wrong things done to you or to others? All of this is normal, and everyone of us does mistakes. Read this to see how self-blame or a high sense of culpability mostly referred as guilt can affect our inner peace and overall well-being if we fail to forgive ourselves and let go what we cannot change.

Authors of undesired situations?

It happens that we find ourselves in undesired situations where we live moments of pains and wounds or failure. Our inability to connect the occurrence of these events as mere natural phenomenon where life is to be up and down brings us to find faults in our own lives and judge ourselves to be authors of these events. We tend to take our misfortune as our making, as our fault, and we tag ourselves as originators of the problem. In the course of this self-blaming, we carry this sort of culpability and refuse to forgive ourselves. The danger of this deadly feeling is that others may not know what is wrong with us but can be victims of our attitudes because in most cases, we embark on societal withdrawal and self-exclusion as we judge ourselves as unworthy persons.

Putting ourselves aside

As stated above, when we categorize ourselves and tag ourselves as originators of our misfortune, pain or suffering, there is a certain behaviour that we develop and that can affect our mind: societal exclusion where we withdraw from public and put ourselves aside. It is a failure to undertake another action as we see ourselves as non-capable or afraid to fall into similar situation.

Culpability and guilt may not be bad in themselves if we decide to accept the world as it is, carry on with life and transcend our past to do better. The danger is that we carry these sentiments over years, and we live in our own world outside of which, any other thing looks bad. We build a strong shell around us and isolate ourselves as we may feel like being the problem for ourselves and for others. In the following text, there are some questions to help understand more why we feel guilt and self-blame.

1. Why do we feel so much guilt and self-blame in some cases?

Because we take responsibility over things that are not ours. Because we fail to accept what we cannot change. Because we have developed a low self-esteem sentiment, and we fail to forgive to ourselves. Because we think our pain and failure are from our own making and we feel ashamed of that.

2. Why self-blame and culpability (too much guilt) is dangerous?

It is dangerous because one can decide to punish him or herself: when the feeling of shame is too high, when one blames himself or herself too much, there is a tendency to seek to punish ourselves. When it goes to the extreme, issues of suicide lingers in our mind as we tend to see our life worthless. Punishing ourselves may take many forms and according to literature reviewed, most of these are self-immolation, infringing pain on oneself, denying ourselves what we should have the right to have, taking drugs such as alcohol, smoking and finding refuge in short term stress relieving substances such as intoxicants. All these damage our mind and body.

3. How does self-blame affect our mind?

It is said that guilt is what we do, and shame – who we are. When we blame ourselves too much and when it becomes like a way of life, we put an end to creativity, to any action geared towards development, or any move that makes life progressing in a positive direction. Our mind will never be at peace, will hardly concentrate and focus because reminiscence of past events will prevent us to let go and carry on with life. Whatever keeps us back is not good for our mind that needs to surpass a past to live in the present.

4. Any suggestions to get out of this deadly feeling?

Introspection in one’s life to identify where lies the loopholes to amend it and correct what appears to be wrong is the act number one. Specific therapy should be applied to each life situations as causes of our issues are different but we have one common engine that determine our actions. That is the mind. If the mind is taken care of and made to be clean and pure, still and less clouded by the past events, pains we feel, wounds we carry within, feelings we don’t let go, bad attitudes we do not abandon, we may always have this problem. We are to train the mind not to bother about what we cannot change. I learned this when I started meditating some years back. This tool which brings about mind’s relaxation an concentration can make one’s life look more beautiful and fruitful, positive and progressive.

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Why Everyone Needs to Practice Meditation

Based on my own experience as a meditation trainer, people wonder a lot about when and why one needs to maintain meditation practice. Should that also be a misunderstanding of what meditation is all about? Possibly. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, meditation means, “engage in contemplation or reflection, or to plan or project in the mind”. But this is not what we are talking about. In fact, the real word which stands for meditation is actually called Samadhi, which means “standstill, peaceful and focused at one point. In this article, we are basing our argument on some facts about the function of our brain which is, in a way, conditioned by the state of our mind.

The three main parts of our brain

In her article “How meditation boosts creativity and innovation”[1], Bianca Rothschild (2014), explains the three main parts of the brain and their functions:

1) Neocortex: the newest part of the brain which is essentially concerned with what can be considered the important stuff: creative thinking, problem solving, visioning, hypothesising, strategizing.

2)The limbic system: located below the neocortex, and is simply said to be the area of processing our emotions,  motivations and memories. If we are feeling emotionally out of balance or distressed, this part of the brain gets activated, and our brain becomes ‘busy’ dealing with the stress and emotions at hand; it won’t allocate any resources to our creative thinking.

3) The reptilian brain: the oldest part of our brain, concerned with our survival and primarily activated by the adrenaline hormone; it is where our fight or flight responses originate. This is the laziest part of our brain; it only wants to process things which it deems critical to our survival.  The reptilian brain also includes sex impulses, and if the idea is ‘mate-able’, dangerous or threatening our survival in any way, it will get passed upwards, and hence has a hard time getting to the neocortex.

Enhanced creativity and emotional intelligence

Mindfulness meditation has been scientifically proved to be a great technique to improve creativity. “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.”[2].  Elsewhere, the study published in May 2016 in the medical journal PloS One[3]  showed that one session of relaxation­response practice was enough to enhance the expression of genes involved in energy metabolism and insulin secretion and reduce expression of genes linked to inflammatory response and stress. There was an effect even  among novices who had never practiced meditation before.

Certainly, meditation has positive side effects: it reduces the reactivity of the reptilian brain, increases resilience, stimulates the neocortex, as well as improves emotional intelligence[4]. All these factors assist in getting ideas flowing directly to our best creative thinking brain – the neocortex. According to the research conducted on American company’s employees regarding their ability of problem solving, the result shows that non-meditators had more cognitive rigidity than regular meditators; they also had tendency to apply difficult or outdated solutions to easy problems, based on their past experiences, which was not the case of regular meditators who are more creative.

Conclusion

Everyone deserves happiness and peace of mind on one side and creative thinking on the other side. Unfortunately, our everyday life has so many happenings which are often unpleasant and at the end deprive us from being joyful and creative as our brain becomes busy dealing with stress and emotions. The good news is that everyone has a solution in their hands, and it is meditation practice.  So, the choice is YOURS.

 

References

[1] Bianca Rothschild, How meditation boosts creativity and innovation, july 2014

[2] The Benson-Henry Institute for mind-body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital

[3] In http://www.bl oomber g.com/news/ar ti cl es/2013­ 11­ 22/har var d­ yoga­ sci enti sts­ fi nd­ pr oof­ of­ medi tation­ benefit

[4] Bianca Rothschild (2014)  in Op.cit