The 3 Aspects of Self-Improvement: On The Mind   1 comment

The 3 Aspects of Self-Improvement: On the Mind discuss in more detail the goals you could have with regards to the Mind. This is a continuation of the Self-Improvement Series, in this part I will be talking about the mind. I will be discussing in more detail the How’s and Why’s one should improve the Mind. Elsewhere I have written concerning the Mind that,

“The second level is the mind, and as such when I say the mind I mean the maintenance and improvement of the mind, this means everything from, teaching yourself new things, the assortment of games that test the mind in its ability to recall, to the improvement and maintenance of things learned in the past, and finally the learning of critical thinking and logic. During this time, things like reading, writing, and other forms of creative self-expression ought to be applied to showcase (more for yourself, then to others) what you have learned, in order to compare yourself to moments in your past when you did not know. “

Whereas those with a more extroverted psyche, will probably have a more easy in the realm of bodily Self-improvement, those who possess a more introverted psyche, will probably have a more easier in the realm mental Self-improvement. However, this should not serve as justification to neglect either of these aspects, true discipline and true learning both, will have you know your weaknesses and develop them into a better whole.

– GOALS –

As with the Bodily aspect of Self-improvement, I want to now address the Top 3 Goals of Improvement of the Mental Aspect, the following goals ought to be done like the Body on a stable basis:

The First Goal Is To Either Continue or Begin Life-Long Learning. This can be done following through with the following 3 suggestions. The first is what I call, “Reading and Writing” on New Material, when I wrote this I wrote this out of what I intend to do in order to learn, however I find “Reading and Writing” to also be a larger metaphor for this goal. Reading is a metaphor for, the medium by which you would acquire knowledge, whereas Writing is a metaphor for, how you would express what you have learned. In my case, I am a Bibliophile [lover of books] and take great joy in Reading as my way of acquiring knowledge, and if it is not apparent by now, I take great joy in Writing as my way of expressing not only what I have learned solely from what I have read but from various other mediums by which one can learn. The second suggestion is what I call Creating a Social Support Group, one ought to seek out friends who would value intelligence and the acquisition of knowledge. In my search for knowledge, I know that my psyche and morale has been given a boost exactly because I was aware and interacting with people who valued the same things I valued, I did not feel alone, and when one does not feel alone, one is more likely to continue doing what they are doing. The third and final suggestion is, to address the areas of one’s intelligence that they maybe lacking in also. Contrary to popular belief, there is thought to be more then one kind of intelligence, because of that it opens the doors for different aspects of improvement and experiences one could have. It is good to celebrate where ones strengths and gifts are but one should not have to necessarily neglect where one is lacking and has deficiencies, we ought to strive toward an inward intelligent balance.

Note on The Social Support Group: It would be an interesting social project, to create a circle of friends and acquaintances for each aspect of development and then once that circle has matured and developed, allow the three groups to interact with one another, possibly creating a super-group. I would speculate that either: (1) The Different Groups will uplift one another where they maybe lacking, (2) The Different Groups in coming together [assuming they can stay together] may average out each others focal points, or (3) Something else I am not seeing, some unknown variable will influence the outcome in an entirely different direction.

The Second Goal is To Maintain an Elastic Mind. This can be done following through with the following 3 suggestions. The first is intertwined to the Bodily Aspect of Self-improvement which is Nutrition, one ought to create a diet that addresses ones psychological, cognitive and physiological health. How can you learn if your body [muscles and neurons] are exhausted and malnourished? The second suggestion, is to maintain a Cognitive Open-endedness or Open-mindfulness, it has been said that there is Blessings for those Poor in Spirit, this means that they are not full of themselves and sure of themselves about everything, well one thing that allows for this non-emptiness to occur is knowledge, therefore we must admit paradoxically enough that in order to learn and in order to know, we need to hold onto our current understandings firmly but not tightly, lest we begin not to act in light of reality. Therefore, the third and final suggestion compliments the second, and that is to recover and maintain a Child-like Mentality towards learning, what is this Child-like mentality that I speak of? Curiosity and Creativity, not to the point that we hurt ourselves or become delusional, but to the degree that if we learn something new, we do not feel like as if the “order of concepts” we have setup in our mind are going to mean the end of our world: That everything was done in Vain, etc.

The Third Goal and Final Goal is To Reconcile Soul-Spirit, or Reason with Faith/Intuition. Why is this important? Because, this is – I Believe to be – a Christian program for Self-improvement and therefore, the Spirit ought to be reconciled with the Rational Soul in man. This can be done following through with the following 3 suggestions as well. The first is to continue ones investigation that will allow blending between Theology and Science, by this I do not mean, creating a Scientific Theology, like some Melting Pot, but find the parts that allow for complimenting to occur, like a Salad Bowl if you will. For those who feel like as if the two are irreconcilable they are the ones I am speaking about who have failed in the Second Goal of Mental Improvement: The Maintenance of an Elastic Mind. The second suggestion would be, to allow one self to experience and record those moments in ones life where one can witness reconciliation in ones life, the purpose is two-fold: (1) To Remember that it is possible and (2) To allow for a further unfolding of these realizations by study and contemplation on the content and context of these experiences. The third and final point is somewhat obvious but fulfills all other parts, and that is to invite oneself into dialog, discussion and debate regarding what you have come to understand with others in order to refine and explain better what you have come to learn.

This third and final point, in the third and final goal, as I said allows for the goals to be fulfilled. An effective debater or speaker will never hold to tightly to his premises [the Second Goal], if his desire is to learn and understand rather then to win, and that is what the Christian in this program of Self-improvement will seek, not to “win” but to receive wisdom and understanding in his pursuit for God. Also, dialog, discussion, and debate are a means to acquiring knowledge/understanding and expressing what you have learned [the First Goal]. I have another video again from Father Barron on St. Thomas Aquinas when he was commenting on the ultimate compatibility with Faith/Intuition and Reason, contrary to Popular belief:

– REASONS –

Like the Bodily Work of Self-improvement, it will be good if you’ll create Good Reasons to continue this work especially when you are feeling down and discouraged, these reasons you set for yourself must be designed to save you from falling into despair and giving up on the whole thing. I want to share with you now, some reasons that I could think of that have an important Psycho-Spiritual side to them that may allow you to endure rather then fail.

The First Reason, is a practical one, people who are knowledgeable are overall better people then those who aren’t knowledgeable, by advancing ones own intelligence in life one has more possibilities open to them as well. The Second Reason, is more philosophical, one ought to seek to understand for its own sake, I often say that knowledge is one thing but understanding is another, by this I mean that, one can be taught in school how to do math and one can Know that 2 + 2 = 4, but unless one has those Aha! Moments of Insight and Wisdom, then knowledge really does not plant itself very deep and can be lost. The way of attaining the Aha! Moment of Insight and Wisdom is by internalizing the need to understand, to make it an essential part of your being, that nearly every action you do right now must be for greater understanding and insight, most of all Wisdom that allows for Humility to occur. The Third and Final Reason, is more existential, spiritual even, it is an understanding that Life-Long Learning is just that, “Life-Long,” this is not something you do just to advance and then once you advance you put it down, no rather, its something a part of you and in time you will see the seed of your initial seeking multiply into a tree bearing many fruits over the course of time.

I can personally testify to this fact, my initial seeking was done out of fear of inferiority, but as I continued in my search, my desire to seek for Wisdom, Insight, and Understanding took a life of its own and was done for its own sake, initially I did not know where I was going I only attempted to be faithful to this search, but after about 5 years of mental improvement and seeking I am at a point where I am left with an intuitive awareness that this search is culminating into something, what exactly it is I can only grasp fleetingly but I know there is something there.

– DISCLAIMER –

Finally like the body, I feel like as if it is important to offer a few disclaimers about improvement of the mind:

(1) The First is, like the Body, I am not merely my Mind. Whereas a person who focuses solely on there body is a Hedonist, the person who focuses solely on the Mind is a Platonist, I am a Christian and as a Christian, I believe that a person is a whole integrated being of both Body-Mind/Soul-Soul/Spirit. Therefore, it like the body shall not come first in overall improvement and like the body it may at times shift in its priority stance between 2nd and 3rd Places.

(2) The Second Disclaimer is, somewhat similar to my view on the Body as well, whereas improvement of the Body for solely aesthetic purposes is frowned upon, improvement of the Mind for solely worldly advancement ought to be frowned upon as well. Not merely because, the world is temporal but because if you are only going to use this as a means to an end of some worldly goal, once that goal is realized the motivation to improve the mind will cease as well. Therefore, to improve the mind for a purpose that transcends the world will allow for true advancement.

(3) The Third Disclaimer is, similar to the Third Bodily Improvement Disclaimer, that my Mind is NOT my God. It shall not be worshiped, glorified nor obsessed over. Its very real and practical applications are a gift and should be used to glorify the gift-giver, i.e. God Himself. I can speak to this disclaimer very succinctly, during the initial desire to learn and understand it was done as I have said under the fear of inferiority, both inferiority in mind and body, focusing at this moment over the inferiority of my body, I allowed myself to also (for a time) obsess over solely mental improvement so that way I would not have to be reminded of the failures of my body, it should come as no surprise anyway that my worldview at that time was a lot more Platonic then it is today, which it still is pretty platonic just not in the realm of Gnostic/Neo-Platonic thought. In being in a more hyper-platonic state however, I realized how I had neglected my body and even felt like I hated it, this was unhealthy however, and some of my own personal suffering can be traced to this personal history as well. Therefore, take this warning seriously, but do not be fearful either in improving your mind.

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One response to “The 3 Aspects of Self-Improvement: On The Mind

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  1. Pingback: Happy New Year Continued: A Word on New Year Resolutions « Reality and Illusions

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