Your mind wanders about 50% of the time. Your emotions and thoughts are fleeting, at this time, maybe without recognizing, you let those thoughts and emotions define you. Now, your mind is still wandering but you are beginning to allow your emotions to control the way you think, thus believing that there is a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in that moment.
This is called “Emotion Mind.” It’s a very easy concept to grasp, when you feel an emotion, anger, depression, sad, happy, joyful, etc., you without recognition, let it control you. This emotion takes over your body mentally and physically. For example, you become angry, urges from this emotion begin to surface, you punch the wall, cry, and start getting more and more angry. You have lost control of your body, physically and mentally. Secondary emotions begin to rise, and in this moment “Anger” is in control of you. Although it may be an easy concept to understand, it is not an easy mindset to change.
I catch myself in Emotion Mind all the time. I’ll be laying in bed relaxing, my mind begins to wander, I let it and next thing I know I’m crying, don’t have a reason why, and I can’t stop. Within minutes my mind is in the state of “Emotion Mind” and it’s to late to stop it. This is just one mindset; there is a second one with the complete opposite affect.
Instead of letting these thoughts and emotions control you, you ignore them not allowing yourself to identify them. This means being “neutral” and being “standard.” This is called “Reasonable Mind.” You wake everyday, you follow a routine, you don’t allow change, and if an emotion tries to surface, you find an easy way to ignore it. When someone is in this state of mind, they are able to plan their behavior, focus on facts, common sense and problem solve without any emotional approach. The problem with “Reasonable Mind” is that you become so accustom to facts and logic, that you neutralize your feeling and thoughts, and eventually can’t identify them at all.
Once again, I have caught myself in this mindset and personally it is the one that scares me the most. To me, not feeling, means not being able to identify who I am in that moment. I have had days where I neutralize everything, because I know it will get me through the day faster. Although my most prominent mindset is Emotion Mind, I do struggle with Reasonable Mind.
I am not alone though. Everyone at some point in his or her lives has struggled with one or the other. And some are currently in one of these mindsets and have no idea. Before, I learned these two mindsets; I didn’t even pay attention to what my emotions could actually do and how they affected me emotionally, mentally and physically.
Once you become aware of what these emotions are, through practice you can begin to identify them and control them. This is called “Wise Mind.”
On a Venn diagram “Wise Mind” would be in the middle, it’s a mix of Emotion Mind and Reasonable Mind. Wise Mind is when you can allow your self to identify an emotion, feel it, accept it, and control it. The most important thing is to know that it is okay to feel these emotions whether it be, sadness, anger, love, etc. because when you allow yourself to accept and feel them, controlling them becomes much easier.
“To keep our body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
Mindfulness. This is what will bring you to Wise Mind. By definition mindfulness means, “maintaining a moment by moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. “ But it also means acceptance. Finding mindfulness is different for everyone, and some can focus on certain parts better than others, it all comes with practice but you must give yourself the chance to find what works best for YOU.
Some easy ways to practice mindfulness is to pay attention to your breathing especially when your emotions are high, try to really notice what you are feeling in a given moment, sounds, smells, and what you see, things you wouldn’t normally recognize, remind yourself that your thoughts and feelings are constantly going but they are not defining you and you can free them from negative patterns or find a way to focus on your body and become aware of your physical sensations.
For me, body awareness is very important. As a child I was diagnosed with S.I.D (sensory integration disorder), this means my brain had trouble processing the five senses, so I had a hard time feeling myself in space (body awareness) . As I got older, I began to become very aware of my body, mostly because of how active I was.
I began to become most aware of my body while I was at the gym. I learned that proprioception activities such as pushing and pulling were what helped activate this body awareness, which I lacked as a child. However, because I was becoming so aware of my surroundings all the time, I would have sensory overloads while in the gym, the noise of the plates dropping was too loud, I couldn’t focus, and I would actually have to step out and re-gather.
Recently mindfulness has helped me identify my surrounds when I get sensory over load. I learned that in the gym, when I begin to notice myself becoming too aware of myself. I lie down, I rest my palms up or on my stomach, I focus on my breath, and slowly I allow myself to feel each body part and where it is in space, what it is touching, how it feels, then I allow myself to listen to the noises around me, the music, people yelling, the plates dropping, I find peace in it, then I bring my attention back to my breath, and when it is at a calm and peaceful rate, I visualize what I must do before my next lift. Once I get up and allow myself to collect everything, I go into my next set, I feel how my feet dig into the mat, how my hands grip the bar, I choose and learn how to control my thoughts, my body in space and my attention.
This is mindfulness, and I learned how to bring myself into “wise mind,” just by breathing and allowing myself to feel while being in control.
Most importantly remember that Mindfulness is “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” -Buddha