A lot has been written about the concept of the mind and developing mental strength for greater success. We all know a lot of the literature with regard to the law of attraction, mastering the mind, and developing good habits to last a lifetime. Yet really developing these practices consistently over time is quite difficult. It is especially difficult when faced with modern-day challenges that seem to be designed to drain away our energy. Such drains can include social media, WiFi, bills, and expenses, broken relationships, environmental toxins, smartphones, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and the list goes on.
Developing a strong mindset entails consistent practice over prolonged periods of time. It requires a sense of practicality and discipline that is all too often forgotten. It would be a mistake to think that the law of attraction is easy or that meditation will immediately alleviate depression. But if you seriously commit to developing your mindset so that you can focus on what you want over the long term, then the results will be life-changing. To do so, you will need to learn to rely on yourself. As per Indian philosopher Krishnamurti
“A theory based on another man’s experience in matters of the psyche or of an inward life has no meaning at all…. We have to let it go completely because we have to stand alone.”
Understanding the Mind
The first step in understanding the mind is to realize that your thoughts are what determine your everyday experiences. This is the basic premise of all spiritual texts and esoteric schools of thought. It is also reflected in many scientific spheres such as quantum mechanics.
People have certain thought patterns that they picked up from the wider society, from their parents, from groups and organizations, etc. They then project these thought patterns onto their surroundings. And they then mistakenly believe that their own projections and interpretations are the ‘truth’. But the truth is different for everybody, depending on their particular thoughts. This is why there is so much diversity in the world today.
Thoughts Become Things
A core component of spiritual growth lies in removing all of the thought patterns that we picked up when we were young. These were just programmed into us. When we learn to remove and reinstall different thoughts and beliefs is when we start to come into our true autonomy as masters over our minds.
And this is partially why meditation is recommended across times and cultures. We are able to calmly observe our own thoughts patterns without reaction or involvement. This is one of the only ways that we can see things objectively. Otherwise, we tend to identify with our gender, political ideologies, nationality, or class. And we naturally see this as ‘correct’ due to our limited life experience.
People who do not understand the power of their own minds are largely lost as they cannot identify as conscious creators of their own reality. They will consistently find fault with the world and ask why it is so difficult to contend with. Understanding the power of thoughts is the first step to personal mastery.
The Insanity of the Mind
From the perspective of spiritual systems, the mind is irrational, illogical, and insane. We are required to observe the mind and detach from it in order to see its dysfunction. But we can also observe this dysfunction on a grander scale with the wars, hate, environmental destruction, racism, sexism, homophobia, political attacks, broken relationships, government spying programs, smartphone addictions, health problems, and more. Something is a little dysfunctional with the human populace, and this is a result of millions of minds that are not in the right place.
Social media and centralized media also serve to program these minds into a state of disempowerment and fear. And advertising also has quite a destructive effort as it encourages people to smoke cigarettes, drinks alcohol, and consume sugar and caffeine. An important point to remember is that you are not immune to advertising even if you think you are. When you perceive something it leaves a mental impression in your subconscious. So unless you switch off your tv and avoid going into a shop, you are a victim of advertising.
Scientific Discoveries & Psychological Observations
There are some scientific discoveries and psychological observations that might be of interest in understanding how the mind works. These include:
1. The mind cannot distinguish between real and imaginary.
2. 95% of your activity is subconscious (try being consciously aware of every key you type on your computer. Your progress will be vastly reduced.)
3. Your subconscious has stored everything that has ever happened to you, much like a gigantic computer.
4. We are bombarded with 2 million bits of data every second. It is the job of the subconscious to filter through all of this.
5. The conscious mind remembers between 5-9 pieces of information. This information is passed to the subconscious for processing to free up conscious space.
6. Most of our energy expenditure goes towards the brain.
These discoveries have important implications. If the majority of our lives are fulfilled by the subconscious, it follows that we should try to manipulate our subconscious mind as opposed to our conscious abilities. According to Carl Jung – “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate”. Programming of the subconscious for conscious growth is the basis of affirmations and self-hypnosis for empowerment. But along with these strategies, there are other things to consider in order to create a positive mindset for growth and fulfillment.
How to Develop Mental Strength
Understanding that your thoughts determine your environment and that you can command your thoughts is the first step. But committing to a daily routine of developing mental and emotional strength is something else entirely. It takes discipline, character, and patience. The idea that we can just manifest what we want is a little misguided. The fact is that you may have spent the last 30 or 40 years anti-manifesting.
Focusing on worry and stress, eating the wrong foods, in toxic relationships, with limiting beliefs that have been with you since childhood. These are not removed overnight. It can take years to rid yourself of certain thoughts and ideas, and you have to be constantly vigilant about what you are thinking and what you are consuming.
Experiment with Exercise
Thankfully, there are many ways to increase your mental and emotional power. And it has never been easier to embark on a campaign of self-development than it is today with all of the resources at your disposal, especially with the internet and instant communications. We have all of the tools. We just need some willpower and determination.
One basic way to build mental strength is with an exercise routine. Write out your goals and objectives and see if you can stick with them. This might seem like very basic and fundamental advice. But both diet and exercise provide valuable insights into our behavior and they are the two foundational modalities that mental strength can be built upon. If you do not keep track of the fundamentals you will run into difficulties later on. Trying to become a master of the mind while staring at a TV all day and eating ice cream is just not realistic. Diet and exercise can be used to build a strong character and a healthy body and mind.
Experiment with Diet
Diet is another place to start developing mental strength. I think we all understand that we will function better without caffeine, sugar, ice-cream, and other processed products. Yet many people cannot go a single week without those items which clearly disturb mental wellbeing. Try and see if you can go on a certain diet for a week. And when you don’t stick to it, try and examine why this is the case. You will begin to realize how affected you are by the environment, how just being in a shop or entering a restaurant caused you to act instinctively and buy an item that you knew was unhealthy. In other words, your environment determined your behavior.
The Importance of the Surrounding Environment
For mental strength, try to manipulate the environment first. In this way, you will be taking away the opportunity to fail. Manipulating the environment for mental strength will mean that you make use of the concept of minimalism as much as possible. The less information and distractions you have in general, the clearer the mind will be. So clean your room and your office, even the files on your pc.
This will have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing. People who tend to hoard items find fresh mental energy when they let go of their many possessions and send them to the trash heap. Limit the time you spend on television and switch off your phone at night. Eliminating cable is also a good idea.
Even things like making your bed in the morning and spending some time out in nature can really help to get the mind in order. Another way of describing the concept of the universe is a product of the mind is that ‘the outer reflects the inner. We can easily tell the personality of an individual by the state of his or her bedroomز
It can be obsessively neat and tidy or it can be much like a dump. Ideally, it could be neat and orderly with a few items thrown around here and there. Understanding the importance of the environment is an important discovery. It means that we can change external objects and situations that will positively reflect on our internal state, and vice versa.
Advertising and Media – The Negative Mental Devices
The destructive nature of advertising and the media becomes more important when people start to look inside and understand the power of their own thoughts. If the majority of our actions are subconscious and advertising and media are specifically aimed at manipulating our environment, then they have a large say in how we behave. Scientific data has shown that people are victims of advertising even when they view themselves as impervious.
When we see something, our conscious minds might not take it in. But our subconscious most certainly does.
So almost by default, we are all victims of the surrounding environment which is aimed at subverting our actions. And it does an excellent job, given that consumerism is running rampant and people are now paying nearly $1,000 for phones alone while morals and ethics fall by the wayside.
If you are serious about developing your mind, then it needs to be as clear as possible. Reduce your exposure to advertising and media where appropriate. The media is largely negative. And your subconscious mind is simply going to ingest negative material which will be reflected in your conscious daily activities. It is never a good idea to actively seek out this negative information.
Most people fool themselves into believing that they need to “keep in touch with reality”, which is hilarious to people who actually understand how reality operates. Don’t let pointless information from advertising, the media, or other people take up valuable cognitive space by default. To limit this exposure, you need to get a little organized and create an empowering environment that is conducive to clear thinking.
Best Practices for Serious Mental Development
Once you have a good environment with a reasonable diet and regular exercise, you can investigate practices that are more directly orientated towards mental development. Remember that everything that you do is stretching the mind to some degree or another, whether it is diet, exercise, writing, or walking. But we need to use the most direct methods, and we also want to avoid patterns that do not expand the mind. The following are the best practices for you to really master your own personal psychology. If you want to proceed rapidly, then undertake one or a number of these models. How often and at what intensity you want to do these practices is up to you.
#1 – Meditation
Meditation should come as no surprise to anyone as the best kind of practice for mental development. It involves sitting quietly (ideally in a lotus position) and observing the movements of the mind.
After a period of time, the mind starts to quieten down and become less frantic. You will become less reactive to outside events and be able to monitor and control your thoughts more efficiently.
The two most popular kinds of meditation are Vipassana and Transcendental Meditation. Both of these have an extensive body of scientific literature pertaining to their benefits. There is no excuse for not instigating a regular meditation routine. It is verified by science, practiced by many high-level individuals, and has historic roots in spiritual systems.
Twice a day for 20 minutes is the recommended timeframe for optimal results, morning and evening. You can also consider an intense course for a week to really get started.
#2 – Yoga
Yoga is a practice of body movements involving breath, concentration, balance, flexibility, and physical strength. When the movements are executed in a certain fashion the practitioner comes into a flow state and can complete the whole hour-long routine effortlessly. The coordination of concentration, breathing, and physical exertion are perfect for subduing the mind. It is not possible to exercise the routine while the mind is active, as it gets in the way. Yoga is best completed when it becomes a regular habit that does not require conscious thought.
#3 – Fasting
Though this might be described as an extreme method, fasting is one of the best ways to master your mind. Food is more important to a human being than anything else. Giving up food for a significant period of time can have many benefits and takes incredible willpower. Additionally, fasting is the only thing that has been proven to increase longevity in rats and humans perform best when they are a little hungry. There are many different kinds of fast, such as a water fast, a dry fast, a juice fast, etc. Consider a 3-day juice fast once a month for an emotional and mental detox.
#4 – Mindfulness
Mindfulness takes many forms and there is a wide variety of mindfulness practices. It really involves being aware at regular intervals throughout the day. Mindfulness can be combined with meditation for maximum results. In meditation, we are deeply “non-focused” for 20 minutes or so twice a day. With mindfulness, we are simply more aware of things at periods throughout our working day. For example, we might leave our desks every 40 minutes and just be mindful of our breathing for a single minute to detach us from our tasks. Mindfulness is often linked with the breath, as this is a quick route to the present moment.
#5 – Concentration
There are many other techniques to increase concentration. You could focus on a candle flame for five minutes a day. You can also focus on the top of your nose or your breath. Most spiritual practitioners recommend no longer than 10 minutes of intense concentration on anything. Coincidentally, ten minutes is the maximum amount of time that a human being can intensely focus on anything, according to scientific research. There are a wide variety of concentration techniques that you can make use of.
#6 – Any Practice with Passion or Intensity
If you can find something that you are really passionate about then you can continue to focus on this with single-minded intensity. This can include painting, singing, dancing, martial arts, creating a business, or anything that you really give 100% of your mental attention towards. This is because you won’t have the time to energize negative thoughts or emotions as all of your resources are aimed towards one particular activity.
This is one of the most effective ways to control the mind and remove destructive tendencies. But unless you are really passionate about something, it can be difficult to develop the concentration and willpower to see it through. This is why most people give up on their resolutions after the initial phase.
There are some strategies you can use if you really want to gain control over the mind. They are designed so that you will make breakthroughs that will stand for you over the long-term. Consider an 11-day silent retreat in a serene location, out in nature. During this silent retreat, you will meditate twice a day, complete a yoga routine, and stick to a vegan diet without alcohol, sugar, or processed foods. You should also be completely removed from technology during this time.
You will benefit such a regime immensely for a number of reasons. You can observe the contrast from the silent retreat and the insanity and noise of the everyday environment. You can also observe the contrast when you reintroduce certain foods back into your diet. You should aim for some kind of seclusive practice to reconnect every 3 months or so. It will help you to understand that the normal work environment is psychotic and there you can achieve a peaceful state of being without a frantic mind generating fear and anxiety all the time.
The Subconscious Mind and Self-Programming Strategies
A good metaphor is that the human mind is like a computer program. It takes input from a variety of sources and generates output. But we are not really aware of all that we are taking in subconsciously. Most of our activity is actually governed by the subconscious as opposed to the conscious mind. According to Earl Nightingale – “Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality”
The Subconscious Mind
Our subconscious rules our behavior. This is a scientific fact as well as a phenomenon documented by psychologists Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. It has also been mentioned in ancient texts such as the Vedas and by spiritual scholars throughout the ages. We need to create strategies to reprogram our subconscious in ways that are more beneficial to our wellbeing.
Our subconscious minds have picked up various tendencies from birth that are still with us today. We are also under attack (literally) with advertising that bombards our senses nearly 24/7. This includes online, where we are spending most of our lives, as well as in the physical environment, where we see billboards and items for sale in shops. We need to be very careful about what we ingest mentally, physically, and emotionally. One of the best ways to reprogram our subconscious is by using affirmations.
Affirmations are an effective tool to program ourselves for personal and business success. Remember when affirming to use the present tense. “I am talented” or “I am rich” is better than “I will be talented” or “I am going to be rich”. Another point to keep in mind is that affirmations work best when the mind is in a receptive state. So affirmations should really be used first thing in the morning or late at night. Another time to repeat your affirmations is during meditation when they can really sink in without resistance.
Affirmations work but they have to be repeated over and over to really so our subconscious can really get the message loud and clear. For maximum results, they need to be stated (internally or out loud) during meditation or in the waking or nighttime hours. It should also be borne in mind that some people have incredibly deep convictions with regard to love, money, or sexuality. At a fundamental level, an individual might not believe that they are unworthy of love or affection. In such instances, affirmations may not work and diet, self-examination, yoga, and meditation might all be needed to really shake up the person’s mindset into a positive state.
There have been cases where therapists hypnotized patients into a positive belief (with their consent). After a while, the underlying negative belief reemerged. This suggests that the belief is either well-rooted or that it comes from somewhere deeper than the subconscious mind. Either way, combine affirmations with meditation for best results, as they do work to a large degree. If you can make your affirmations into a poem that rhymes then your subconscious will repeat it consistently, much like how a song gets stuck in your head. This is the best procedure you can do if you have identified a limiting belief and want to get rid of it. Where possible, try to feel the affirmation as a positive emotion. This will supercharge it with energy and help it to manifest.
You might want to take an online test to see where you have limiting beliefs. They may be around self-love, relationships, money, abundance, or happiness. In this instance, you can try to create several affirmations using different terms and tenses to navigate around this sticky belief more rapidly. For example:
● “I am rich”
● “I have always been rich”
● “Riches are waiting for me”
● “I love being so financially abundant”
● “People see me as very affluent”
● “I have so many sources of income”
● “I always have enough money”
● “Money is a mental abstraction and I can just think more of it”
● “Because money is so common it is easy to collect some”
● “I love thinking about and making money”
● “Money was always easy for me to attract”
● “Poverty and abundance are just states of mind”
With affirmations, it is better in general to use the present tense and to avoid negating statements such as “I am not in poverty”. Just like the brain cannot distinguish between real and imaginary, it also does not understand negation. All it hears is “poverty”.
Self Programming Strategies
There are other strategies you can use to program your mind. Remember that the time you are just waking and the time that you are settling down to sleep are the best times for self-programming. Meditation is another key time.
But you still need to utilize the rest of the day as much as possible to put yourself into a positive state of mind. If you have a desk job, then you are stuck on a computer for 8 hours a day. You might as well make the most of it. Listen to classical music for a couple of hours a day. Binaural beats and theta brainwave entrainment tracks are available on Youtube and on other sites.
Alternatively, record yourself saying empowering affirmations and listen to it for an hour. Subconsciously, the statements “I am rich”, “I am attractive”, “I am intelligent” are going to sink in and start to manifest in your everyday life.
You could also consider lucid dreaming or seeing a therapist as a means of accessing the subconscious. There are a large number of self-programming strategies available. Just pick one or two and stick with them for a consistent length of time.
Remember, self-programming consists of two parts. The first is what you program yourself with. The second is what you are able to block out. You might be telling yourself how attractive you are, but other people and the world might like to tell you otherwise. Create a clean work and personal environment and get rid of people who drain your energy. Also, limit time spent on social media and time spent exposed to advertisements of all kinds.
Law of Attraction v Shadow Work
There are two major streams of thought within the psychology and spiritual sectors. People who follow the law of attraction believe that what you think gathers momentum over time and attracts more positive thoughts. If we can tune our vibration towards things that make us happy, then this momentum will increase and being happy will become easier and easier.
But there are others who make an equally effective argument. Every person has a shadow side that is repressed by modern society, if this shadow side is not scrutinized and allowed to express itself, then it will continue to lurk in our subconscious, sabotaging our happiness. Whatever is within us needs to be processed and expressed in some way. It is a commonly accepted scientific principle that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but it can be transmuted.
A Deeper Look Into the Shadow
Shadow psychology was first popularized by the imminent professor Carl Jung. The shadow is the unconscious aspect of ourselves that we cannot consciously identify with. There are actually positive aspects of the shadow side.
“People Pleasers” need to start identifying with their anger and start telling people to get lost, in no uncertain terms. But because they were brought up in such a way as to respect others and be “good”, they find it difficult to consciously understand that saying no to people can be immensely organic, satisfying, and natural. Instead, they take on more work than they should and end up stressed, believing that sabotaging their mental and emotional wellbeing is somehow a ‘positive’ thing.
Generally, however, the shadow exhibits negative tendencies. It contains deep fears and insecurities. It then projects these fears and securities onto other people. Often, people will project their own negative tendencies onto others to deal with their own pain. It is the next best thing to being able to confront it within themselves, which is far more difficult. For Jung, the best way to explore the Shadow side was through dreamwork and symbolic analysis. The Shadow was referred to as the “Unconscious” in the works of both Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche. The concept of Shadow Self has become much more popular in recent times due to the prior dominance of the law of attraction. More people than ever are involved in dreamwork and self-assessment questionnaires to dissolve shadow tendencies and bring the shadow self to the forefront of the conscious mind.
The Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction was first popularized by Jerry and Esther Hicks in the 2006 movie “The Secret”. They stated to be channeling a non-physical entity known as Abraham. Jerry Hicks passed away from cancer in 2011, leading many to question the authenticity of the movement.
Yet Esther Hicks is still very much active and has a massive following. Additionally, the Law of Attraction is demonstrated or alluded to in many historical societies and spiritual texts. It is not the sole domain of the Hicks, though they are the ones who have brought it to the public awareness in a 21st-century context.
The Law of Attraction makes perfect sense and does more to explain why some people are successful and others are not more than anything else. But the complete set of teachings add so much more and delve into complex situations that extend far beyond focusing on positive thoughts.
Additionally, it places a new emphasis on desires and emotions. These were viewed as ‘dirty’ from an Eastern spiritual perspective, where we gain much of our esoteric information from. Such distortions have convinced people that desires and emotions are somehow evil, though nothing could be further from the truth. Moreover, too much emphasis has been placed on mental thoughts, when it is the emotional vibrations that are what gives the strength to the manifestation. The law of attraction is based on feelings as opposed to thoughts, which is a completely new paradigm.
Which One Should I Do?
The good news is that there is no need for discrimination. Shadow work and a positive mindset can both easily be applied together. There is no need to side with one group ‘against’ the other. This is both pointless and counterproductive. Instead, embrace the best of both worlds. You might find that doing positivity work brings up hidden shadows and that focusing on understanding the Shadow works to increase your levels of positivity.
A good compromise could be to do both shadow work and keep positive psychology but try to focus more on positive psychology. It also helps to notice that there is a difference between ignoring something and focusing on the positive side of things. So meet your difficulties head-on and face them upfront. At the same time, try to look to the future and be optimistic about what it has in store for you. Don’t avoid the past and your inner demons, as this has been identified as the number one impediment to future growth and development. Emotional avoidance is also the leading cause of unhappiness according to some experts in the field of psychology. It can be a tough line to balance between the two. But to develop a really healthy mindset, you have to focus on both.
Creativity and Imagination as Tools for Development
The sheer power of imagination has not been given its due in either religion, science, or spirituality. All of these seek to give the student a system of the mode of operation with regard to how to live and behave. But creativity and imagination are in a league of their own and are uniquely individual practices. There is no system or structure to imagination or creative work.
How Does Imagination Work?
It can be a little difficult to describe exactly what imagination is and how it works. But it bears resemblance to meditation in terms of dissolving issues and finding solutions. Because when using the imagination, the individual is in an altered state of consciousness. There is no way to compose wonderful poetry or a breathtaking painting when the logical side of the brain is activated.
Because the logical side of the brain wants to understand why each piece is placed in a certain way and wants to work sequentially an ABC fashion. This is not how creativity works, which experiments and sees how things play out without paying attention to standard rationality.
It is the imagination, not logical processes, that is responsible for most human achievements. Steve Jobs used his imagination to create an entirely new product range that had never been seen before. Tesla is doing the same with his Space X and electric-car projects. These are completely new paradigms.
And consider that the best and most notable geniuses may not have even gone to school. According to Edward Bach after he finished his studies – “it will take me five years to forget all I have been taught”. Einstein has no faith in school and famously stated that “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you anywhere”.
Imagination is an amazingly powerful tool when you deploy it correctly and it can generate a large number of healing benefits. This is another argument for the Law of Attraction proponents. Logically, you might find that you have an unresolved issue that you need to troubleshoot. But if you are highly imaginative and channel this in the right direction towards a core passion, your issues will dissolve without further investigation.
Additionally, some creative proponents assert that the imagination is a way of bringing the subconscious to the conscious. In this way, you can paint a painting or symbol about an issue that you cannot consciously identify with. You might not understand why you feel good after doing a certain piece of creative work, but it could be because it touches on inner issues that cannot be consciously analyzed or discussed. The way that the subconscious communicates is in images and metaphors, not in logic or text. This is what children often do when they play and paint. Either way, extensive use of creativity and the imagination can do wonders for self-development and mental strength.
How Do I Use My Imagination?
It can be hard to create a system or structure with regard to the imagination because by its very nature it does not conform to structures or anything approaching rational principles. The best thing that you can do is to really commit yourself to a creative process and watch the magic unfold. One of the best strategies is to:
(a) Create 100 paintings in a month.
(b) Write 1000 creative words each day for a month.
(c) Try to visualize yourself in the desired setting at intensity for 10 minutes each day.
However, it is almost amazingly difficult to get people to do these simple tasks. This is because people always want to know “why” and reach a rational goal. But these processes will shake up your mind and open up your creative consciousness. You will gain insights from your paintings or writings along the way. In fact, you will get better results if you do not have a goal in mind with these writings/paintings/visualizations, such as a monetary reward. If you can do something like this the benefits will be huge. As an additional piece of advice, you don’t have to learn how to paint in any way or even how to write or visualize the ‘correct’ way. These are your creative works. Just do them and reap the benefits of your own imagination.
Creative Wealth Manifestation Tricks
There are some creative strategies that you can deploy in order to ‘trick’ your brain into an abundance mindset. In many ways, you can treat it like a game. The brain is used to generating worry and fear at all times in relation to money. You need to try and get around this ingrained tendency by pretending to be wealthy. The brain does not have the capacity to distinguish between real and imaginary phenomena, as demonstrated by recent scientific studies.
Consider what happens when you think about your favorite food – your body actually starts responding biologically. Your stomach will start to grumble and you might even start salivating, despite no physical food being present. The more you think about food, the ‘hungrier’ your body becomes. Likewise, the universe does not differentiate between real and imaginary, so you can use creative practices to trick yourself into thinking thoughts of wealth.
● Trick One – Carry cash at all times. Where possible, make sure that your wallet is full of cash. It is better to have it on you physically. In the same vein, remember to tip 20% at all times. Both of these techniques have two significant effects. The first is that you will get into the mindset of someone wealthy, as you will be used to constantly having enough cash and always tipping well. The second is that other people actually view you as wealthy and start manifesting for you. They are also used to seeing you having money and being rich and associate your persona with wealth.
● Trick Two – Hang out with the Rich. People who are rich (i.e an abundance mindset) are used to having wealth at all times. They don’t think about poverty or bills at all. If you can affiliate yourself with these people then their energy and beliefs will rub off on you. If you want to become the best lawyer in your area, then you need to network and associate yourself with these people. Not for the ‘knowledge’, but to try and emulate their mindset that attracts legal expertise.
● Trick Three – Be grateful. Gratitude is the holy grail of manifestation. It has an advantage over manifestation because it can make you happy, while manifestations tend to be short-lived. If you can master both manifestation and gratitude, then you are really a master. Because you will be manifesting what you want and already appreciative of what you have. Additionally, when you are grateful for what you have already manifested, the universe shows you more things to be grateful for and manifestation becomes easier.
Immersion in Different Fields
Immersion is arguably one of the quickest and best ways to improve your mental and emotional conditioning. It is also one of the hardest. Imagine if you spent a year learning Mandarin Chinese while simultaneously learning C programming and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. It would be an immensely difficult year for you. It would also be one of the most rewarding if you were able to pull it off.
This is because each of these areas will teach your brain different things. When people learn things in a classroom learning it is usually the worst kind – rote learning by reading from a screen. This is just not a healthy way to learn things and is also very repetitive.
The way that people learn is every bit as important as the subject matter. So learning a language while talking to people is nothing like learning grammar from a book. And trying to create a new program in a software language is different from learning it in a classroom. Learning all three of these is just not realistic in the modern-day environment. But you could consider doing one of them, at least part-time. And there are also different forms of immersion.
We have already mentioned two of the best immersion strategies available. These are intensive painting and intensive writing. Both of these draw on your creative faculties so you can make them stronger. Creativity is an excellent tool that you can use in nearly any context. Once you open up your creativity just a little, you can build momentum and make innovation and imagination as core components of your existence. But it always takes commitment and willpower at the start to immerse yourself in the creative process. Consider that Mark Zuckerberg publicly posted how he was going to spend a year learning Mandarin Chinese. Intelligent people are constantly looking for ways to expand their mental capabilities.
Travel is one of the most common immersion strategies available. Learning how different people think and behave is excellent for contrast against your own personal values and beliefs. The starkest example of this is when people of the West go to places like India and Thailand in the East. While people in the West are goal orientated and live in the future, the people of the East tend to live in the moment more (this has its own set of drawbacks, as they generally don’t seem motivated enough in terms of self-development).
Many people spend at least a year of their lives traveling. However, they tend to go the wrong way about it. They often do it near the end of their lives and try to fit in as many places as possible like ticking boxes off a checklist. When traveling, it is best to spend longer time periods in a set location to really imbibe the culture.
You can immerse yourself in anything. Try to immerse yourself in minimalism for a month. No tv, smartphone, no unhealthy food, no social media, no computer, clean desk, a clean room, a small set of clothes, etc. Remember that 21 days is the time it takes to incorporate a habit. So if you manage to follow through with something for over 21 days, then you can carry this habit forward with far less effort than when you started out.
Painful Immersion Practice – The Best Kind
One of the most useful techniques that you can learn to develop a strong mental framework is to find what you hate and do it intensely or try to do the opposite of what you are typically used to doing. In the modern world, people are set on trying to be comfortable. The biggest fear of someone in the modern era is to lose their income so they could not afford cable television or a smartphone bill, both of which do not contribute any real value while eating precious cognitive space.
An old Stoic practice is to practice being as poor as possible for a set amount of time. This might sound strange. But there is actually nothing whatsoever to fear. It is modern-day comforts that are actually a cause of much distress, as well as the constant striving for more and more and more. When you confront your fears so directly they lose a lot of their energy. They are only so powerful when you don’t look at them. This could also be called a form of shadow work in the form of directly confronting fears.
You can easily discover your fears through some creative writing and asking yourself some questions. Or just write out a list of things that you would never consider doing and ask yourself why. If you hate public speaking, try doing it intensely for a month or so. As painful as it is, you would be making an immense progress.
Understand that immersion is not going to be a pleasant process, by and large. Though it will be very rewarding in the end. Can you remember how hard it was when you first had to learn the alphabet and string words together? This is what it feels like when you are learning something completely different. This is basically what immersion is. The more foreign the subject (such as Mandarin Chinese or martial art) the greater the benefits. It will stretch your mind in ways that it is not used to being stretched.
It is also worth considering that a vast amount of projects are abandoned early on. Most people finish their yearly resolutions two weeks into January. Before embarking on a project that could take you 3 months, be sure that you are prepared and that you are absolutely 100% certain that you want to do it.
Understanding Alternative Frameworks
One of the best ways to expand the mind is to read and research from a wide variety of different fields of study. In the West, we are certain that the scientific method is the best and the only one that works. But we cannot ignore the fact that our countries are sick, the planet polluted, and the people are largely addicted to technology. Suicide rates are sky high and people are coming down with different illnesses that were not there before.
Our way of thinking and understanding is limited not only to our geographical location but also to our time. If Western science was to mix with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda instead of dismissing these two systems, then more progress would be made. In any case, it can be helpful to see and understand different frameworks in order to strengthen our own minds. However, be wary of reading too much information and becoming no more than an abstract thinker without any real-world applications. As per Seneca the Stoic –
“Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.”
Try to get a hold of a small number of different philosophies and viewpoints in order to better understand how things work instead of blindly dismissing them out of the box. Here are some alternative frameworks or philosophies that you can adopt. Take them one at a time.
The primary type of astrology stems from Indian scriptures known as the Vedas. However, astrology has its roots in all ancient cultures such as the Native Americans and Shamanic cultures. Astrology is known as the noble science among spiritualists and the methodology is given great prominence, especially in India. Western and Vedic astrology are two separate fields that place emphasis on different planetary positions. The main purpose of astrology is that you can find your tendencies and understand your personality better for deeper introspection.
Ayurveda is the sister science of astrology and also originated in India. Ayurveda describes three kinds of energy – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Each person is one of 11 combinations of these elements and based on this combination recommendations are given with regard to exercise, diet, and meditation. Ayurveda is perfect for explaining the gaps in nutrition knowledge that Western science falls down on.
Hinduism is unique among the religions because it is not as organized or structured as opposed to its contemporaries. There are hundreds of Gods to be worshipped and Hindus get to select a God which confers particular benefits. In this way, Hinduism is actually more open and creative than traditional religions which tend to be a little dogmatic and impose a belief system on you as opposed to letting you choose.
Presentism is the idea that only the present exists and that the past and the future are illusory. This is because time is just an illusion. The opposite of presentism is known as eternalism, where all moments in time are equally real. Presentism has its roots in Buddhism, while modern scientific theory tends to support eternalism to an extent. It has recently been modernized with the book “The Power of Now” By Eckhart Tolle.
Stoicism is an impressive philosophy that is all about practicality, though it tends to denigrate emotions as pointless. It was founded in Athens and was practiced by Marcus Aurelius and Seneca. Other notable stoics include George Washington and Thomas Jefferson as well as Prussian King Frederick the Great.
Modern practitioners include Nassim Taleb and Tim Ferris. The idea behind stoicism is about conditioning and improvement. So if you suffered through a terrible experience it is simply fuel for further growth. Stoicism is concerned with action and has no time for endless debate, something which is needed in the modern era of information overload.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a Chinese study of health. The Chinese mindset is completely different from the East, and for this reason, it can be excellent for the mind (seeing things from an opposite point of view is good for mental expansion). This branch of medicine is based on the idea of Yin and Yang behind the foundational components of everything in the universe. A particular organ will have too much or not enough Yin or Yang energy, and treatments are provided to address these deficiencies. In TCM, energy lines are known as Nadis or Meridians interconnect all over the body. Additionally, each organ is correlated with a particular emotion, such as grief, joy, or happiness. The concepts of Nadis and Meridians are also present in Indian arts such as Ayurveda.
Taoism is another Chinese subject that is shrouded in mystery. It originated from a text called the Tao Te Ching, which was written by a character called Lao Tzu. It emphasizes something called “The Way” which has nothing to do with a rigid structure or discipline. There are no rules, just gentle prescriptions as to how to follow the rhythms of life. Confucianism is another popular Chinese philosophy, but it is more dogmatic and has many rules and guidelines for behavior.
Zen is about forgetting the self to a large degree. It is based on the practice of Zazen meditation and Zen is an offshoot of Mahayana Buddhism. Zen cannot really be described in words as it is claimed to be an experience as opposed to a concept. So after years of meditation, the practitioner becomes Zen. Without meditation, there is no way to achieve the state of Zen and it is a core and sole component of the practice.
There is a wide variety of ways to develop your mindset for greater success both personally and financially. A good place to get started would be diet, exercise, meditation, and affirmations. These are the most straightforward and effective to get the mind under control in a very tangible way.
Once you have a solid grasp on these, you can consider immersion techniques and creative processes to really expand your awareness. Remember that developing a mindset will become a life long but thoroughly enjoyable experience. You just need to troubleshoot negative beliefs and emotional issues for a while before you can really expand.