Eureka. That is the word, generations of humans have said throughout history upon witnessing a revelation. That is exactly what I said when I witnessed true concentration for the first time. Everyday I try to meditate for a very short period of time during the day. This helps me to control my mind to keep it focused. However, I used to find that many times it would be very difficult for me control and focus my mind specially if it is really distracted by something on my mind.
A few days ago, I was having a similar episode of a distracted uncontrollable mind which had been going on for a couple of days before that. On that day for some reason I decided to consciously keep my body perfectly still and that’s when eureka moment happened. As soon as I did that, suddenly my mind became super focused. Something that I had not experienced, perhaps ever. The feeling was somewhat akin to standing on stable ground compared to a rocking plank of floating wood. It was a degree of concentration so strong that the primary focus of the mind did not shift even when I tried to intentionally distract my mind by loosening the train of thought.
Perhaps this was what the wise men of history meant by meditation. The ability of the front of the mind to focus on the mundane task, in my case holding my body perfectly still and it frees up the rest of the mind to focus on a single task. What fascinates me is the ability to replicate this feeling at will. I close my eyes, hold my body still and there it is.
However the irony of the matter is that even though I can achieve this concentration at will I can only use it to focus my mind and perhaps relax it. I have yet to use it to be able to concentrate on the task I am doing because once I open my eyes, my mind returns to it’s normal state, just slightly rejuvenated. Perhaps, with time I will learn to use this ability to be able to focus my mind to the task at hand for an extended period of time even when my eyes are open. Until then, I guess I’ll just have to practice more…
“Death is very likely the single best invention of life.”
Mortality as a concept is both very easy and very difficult to grasp. Ubiquious yet unknown. It is a paradox. We know so much about it yet we know nothing. Man has tried to escape it since time began yet he understands the futility of it.
Is it life’s greatest flaw or it’s greatest invention? The answer to this question depends on the way you live your life. If you spend your time procrastinating then it’s a horrible flaw, because eventually you will run out of time without you not fulfilling your desires and aspiration. On the other hand if you grab your life with both hands and live every moment of it, it is the greatest invention, because realisation that the moment past will never return and knowing you lived that moment to it’s fullest, it leads to a sense of fulfilment that gives you inner peace and satisfaction. Something that every mortal being searches for in those countless different ways in which he decides to lead his life.
Imagine if you had all the time in the world to do everything you ever wanted. Would you do any of that? Of course not. That’s because There won’t be a source of motivation. A sense of urgency to have to achieve everything you wished for in a very small period before the sands of time completely slip out of your hands.
Mortality as a concept was so abstract to me unto a few years ago. But now as I look back at the last 25 years, I realise, my gosh how quickly have they gone. Did I live every moment to its fullest? Not every moment. Do I mourn the moments I didn’t live to full extent? Of course not. But at least I have an emotion attached to every moment that I have lived. They all mean something to me because of my human mortality. Emotion is the food for the brain. Emotion is what stimulates us. Emotion makes us achieve all the great things man has achieved. Emotion is what melts one’s heart into total surrender to one’s lover. It is the strength of emotion that has carried man to where he stands today.
This strength of emotion is a gift of mortality. It makes us realise the value of the time we have on this planet. It is the ultimate motivator for us to achieve our dreams. The realisation of mortality makes us free of the dogma that arises from other people’s thinking. Mortality is what gives meaning to our lives, for it is life’s greatest creation.
Learning is an activity which a civilised man indulges in till his last breath. Knowledge is limitless and books are their primary source as they have been for thousands of years. For one to even acquire the smallest portions of this knowledge one has to read. The faster one reads the more information he is able to acquire in the otherwise finite life of a human being. That is where speed reading comes in.
Speed reading in essence is the method of reading very fast while still maintaining the level of comprehension and retention when read at normal speeds. This is a method of reading developed by one Evelyn Wood in the 1950s. The principle of this lies in supression of subvocalisation as speed reading theory argues that one can only read as fast as he can vocalise those words; unless one’s reading is independant of vocalisation/subvocalisation i.e. ‘thinking aloud’. They say that with speed reading one can increase his speed to 400+ words per minute while not compromising information retention.
The above numbers are very important when one of the biggest problems I face is that there are so many subjects I want to read about that every gain I can made in the speed to acquire the information about the topic at hand is worth it. Plus if I can learn to speed read I can also read the various classic literary pieces which I have always wanted to read however cannot find to do so. It’s sort of trying to strike a balance between things I would like to read and the things I really want to read. Currently I am reading up on the topic and I kind of agree with some of the things I have read so far. Hopefully this will continue to be the case as I further read on the topic.
“And when Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer”
The journey or the goal? This is the question that has bothered the greatest minds throughout human history. The lust for the goal that drives us but it is the journey that we fall in love with. This paradox is at the very heart of human nature, inseprable, like the two sides of a coin. What makes this paradox difficult, is the inevitability of sadness. If one succeeds in achieving the goal one lusts for there is, like Alexander, the sadness of losing the path. If one fails, it is the sadness of failure.
Philosophers through the ages have likened sadness to a true lover, never leaving her lovers side. So if the sadness is inevitable, why is it we keep on setting out on our journey to meet our goals. Perhaps, the answer to this question is Life. The goal gives us the purpose and the purpose drives life. Purpose is the food of life. Even the most primitive of world’s creatures have a purpose, to survive.
Being evolved creatures, humans strive for a higher sense of purpose. For some it may be monetary, for some sexual, for others emotional and for a few, selfless. Whatever the goal, it is the journey we love. Goal is an illusion for they are endless. We achieve one and we set for the next; for we lust for the journey, the goal is just an excuse.