Scientific Research & Self-Development Activism
My previous three SDA Vlogs talked about some techniques and key psychological and neurological understandings that can help you to take control over your own thoughts and emotions. Last vlog I got a TON of questions about meditation and routines since i mentioned I have sort of a morning ritual.
Since you guys are so interested in that, I'm gonna get more in-depth about this because my morning routine is the most important part of my day and for me personally it's the most life-changing self-development practice that I can think of. It's ridiculously simple but insanely powerful, it's also my own personal routine so change it to whatever you think works best for you:
In the morning, I go over a list of four basic thoughts:
- Mindless entertainment and unhealthy (especially sugary) foods are rarely functional, avoid them.
Reminding myself of this keeps me from getting distracted by PC or iPhone games, which can happen pretty easily when I'm not careful. The reason why I make a point about food and put emphasis on sugary foods is because bad eating habits will mess up your biology to a point where it really narrows down your working memory further and inevitably makes you more impulsive.
- Realize that my life is fleeting.
Insanely powerful. I went into this in my previous vlog, check it out if you haven't yet!
- Live with a gun to the head.
What?! Ok this one sounds weird I admit but it's actually incredibly cool and I learned this one from Chiren. The idea is this: right now, somewhere in the world, someone has a gun to his head and is about to get killed. There is no reason why this is not you. It's chance. It's luck. It's randomness. In a sense, you really are that person. You're about to die right now. If you really absorb this idea and put some energy into projecting into that, you are are suddenly able to find all the courage and motivation in the world to do the right things and to be constructive and inspiring to the people around you. Dean has a really cool recent vlog related to this, check it out.
- Care with a level of confidence that inspires.
This is the last point on my list and it's sort of an advanced one. I think it's really important that we all wake up and give a shit, that we start to care about what's going on in the world and care about other people to the extent that we are willing to understand others even if they have completely different beliefs from ours, even if their beliefs seem totally wrong and evil. The reasons for this are explained in SDA Vlog #1. But there's a flipside to this. If you find certain practices, ideas and beliefs that really make a positive difference, it's important to be open-minded but also confident about them if you wanna inspire people in that direction. The best motivational speakers tend to be inspirational because of their confidence. Just keep in mind to balance this confidence with caring and open-mindedness.
Now, after I go over these points, I tend to be in a pretty sharp state, very aware of my intentions and my priorities. What I do next is meditate for 15 minutes. This can be very simple. I have experimented with meditation ever since I was 13 and there's all sorts of different techniques, it's very interesting but all I really do nowadays is just sit, close my eyes and be 'still' with my mind for 15 minutes. Just calmy silence your thinking. If this is hard, try focusing on your breathing, it tends to help to achieve that 'stillness'.
I know a song by a band called 'Om' that's called 'Meditation is The Practice of Death'. And, especially after around 10 minutes, that's what it can really feel like. You reach a level of detachment where you feel so comfortable, so at peace with your still meditative state, that it's almost like you don't really exist any more. You could be dead and you wouldn't care. Coming out of your meditation, having that level of detachment and then giving your list of thoughts one more glance puts your focus on the important things and clears away all nonsensical distractions or disturbances.
This routine is the most powerful brain re-wiring thing I do nowadays, it's incredible how it affects my state of mind and how it sharpens my drive and focus. Let me know what you guys think, would love to hear about the variations you guys come up with!