There are many different theories about how the mind works. The motivation behind human behavior is best explained by Maslow's hierarchy which is based on needs. It says that in order to achieve happiness which comes from self-actualization our basic and essential needs must be met.
Psychology experts says that thoughts, feelings and behavior are a mind-body continuum that arise within us and constantly affect each other. Due to unknowns and lack of acceptance of our realities we fall into beliefs and develop cognitive biases because of which our world view becomes distorted.
Distorted world views manifest as mental afflictions keeping our mind away from the present, in a constant flux for cravings or aversions- we are mostly either ruminating about the past or craving for the future thus feeding the negative cycles again and keeping us blind from our present realities.
There are many types of erroneous thinking patterns that emerge if we let cognitive bias feed our minds- Catastrophic thinking, All or None thinking, Overgeneralization, Personalization, Judgmental thinking, labelling, emotional reasoning, discounting positives and jumping to conclusions. Thinking with such mindsets without any objective observation give rise to disease and disorders.
Most of us are not aware that physical wellness impacts mental wellness significantly. It is true that mind affects the body and body affects the mind. A feeling of pain in the body for example affects our moods easily. Long term pain or neglected physical unwellness can actually contribute to conditions like fibromyalgia or mental illnesses like depression or stress disorders. We should not discount physical discomfort and consider it as separate from mind.
Compassion plays an important role in recovery from mental illness. In fact we should seek help from our near and dear ones as early as possible if we are feeling low or dejected. Feelings of warmth and support impact emotional wellbeing significantly and also strengthen self-esteem. Just like food, clothing and shelter, love and belonging are very strong needs that need to be addressed.
We all need to be ourselves, wholly with our thoughts and feelings- despite how miserable we might be, unconditionally and compassionately accepting our being and witnessing the realities within us.
Truth is the core value of all human existence. Without truth our mind remains clouded with beliefs that are impossible to escape from. Only awareness- the knowledge of truth in the moment has the capacity to liberate us. As we practice truthful observation from moment to moment we get rid of our biases, become self-aware and let the happiness within us arise. However, remaining committed to the task of seeking truth or happiness needs a companion. Exploring truth when things around us are so blurred, digging inside our deeply rooted beliefs and emotions- that can't be easy. How can we practice such determination? Where do we build the courage to do it?
We need things that sustains us from time to time- joy in things and the support of loved ones. We may find it in material things or spiritual things- sometimes just good food and togetherness does it, sometimes it's gardening or art, sometimes it's simply concentration, and sometimes it is counting all the good things we have received in this life so far and feeling grateful. The secret is that we have to keep at it- generating what some call 'flow'.
Interested in doing an exercise on values? Here is a practice form-
Whatever our thoughts and emotions in the moment and whatever 'I' they define of us, we have to accept them sooner or later. The farther we are from our realities, the more pain we are carrying within us knowingly or unknowingly.
Three aspects of truth or reality are wholeness, correctness and timelessness. Ancient wisdom says witnessing this with a clearly observing mind- right view- liberates us from suffering. We are always observing, interpreting or predicting something using the tool of our mind. How well we see depends upon how sharp the tool is. For the right observer, he or she would see all the co-existing realities as a whole and ignore the importance of giving any valuation to them.
Practices like mindfulness, observation of breath and Insight meditation teach us concentration and how to be sharply observant of present realities without reacting. More on these in the "Mind and Body" section.
Stay tuned to "Pahoti Wellness".
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