Monday, November 5, 2012

A Still-Water Mind: Health Around the Corner?

A little frustrated energy shall make me write this with haste, but I think I may have come across a really big insight about myself that will not only cultivate good concentration, but also, so finally, give me a better path to achieving my ideal vision of myself.

If you've been following along, you'll know that as of recent I've been very big into developing concentration, as I've been surprised to discover how essential it really it to fundamental mental health. With success and lapses here and there I have found that I am generally right, but it remains a tricky practice. The big insight I've discovered is that writing is actually my primary mental health practice, that I need to place my routines in a specific order for them to be effective, and that I must do the writing in a special way in order for it to be its most potent.

It's rather big because originally I thought I just needed an array of techniques to keep me steady, without any of them being particularly more important than the other, that it was okay to do them in any order so long as I did them all, and that some rigid rules didn't hurt any particular practice, which turns out to be otherwise.

What I've discovered is that, given my intellectually driven nature, handwriting in a journal is the best way to cultivate good concentration and a good mood, because it allows me to reflect deeply on the particular ideas within me, and that the handwriting makes the process more intensive mentally. The secondary thing is that I must allow myself unrestrained time to engage in this practice, as taking my time to unleash everything is best, whether it be less than twenty minutes or nearly two hours. Previously I was only dedicating myself artificially to one page a day, which wasn't enough, especially when I did it sporadically. Thirdly, I've discovered that this practice is more important than the others because it gets "out" what's on my mind, and if I don't do that I'm cluttered with thoughts and noise in any other activity I try to do. Finally, this flows into the realization that I must do this practice first most because otherwise not getting things "out" will result in irresolvable distractions all elsewhere.

The other important practice, I think, is meditation, but I could live without it, maybe. Seeing what effect doing exhaustive writing has had on me makes me realize what's gone so wrong with meditation all these years. I've been trying to be consistent about it for a long time now, but failed hard because I couldn't understand why only a few sessions at first would cultivate the concentrative and soothing effects that I wanted, while I would struggle endlessly on thereafter. I think it's because I've failed to get all my thoughts out, as I've said, so meditation is too difficult, if not impossible, if I don't do a brain dump beforehand. Even if the purpose of the practice is to learn how to quiet the mind and focus on sensory experience I simply cannot do that unless I clear the thoughts by means of writing.

I was impressed when, one day before traveling to work, I had done a particularly lot of writing beforehand. That day I decided I was going to push every other task aside to work on the journal, and I wrote for a whole one to two hours, which practically left little time or anything else. My mind was amazingly calm, like still water, and I couldn't believe how clearly I could think, easily guide my thoughts, and how relaxed I was. When I meditated before my work shift the session went perfectly as it should, my laser-focusing on the practice as I never could before.

Thus, if I am to totally secure my mental health and totally eliminate the internal obstacles to my more ideal self, then I think I need to focus primarily on an introspective journal and meditation, with the tenets that I write as early as possible in the day with unrestrained time, multiple entries if need be, and then allow myself meditation chronologically afterwards, preferably before a shift, as the prior brain dump will then enable me to hone my concentration down to a precise measure.

It's big because perhaps this could be the final measure needed to finally get over all my past problems, at long last. Restricting myself to one page certainly leads to an insufficient release, and it's impossible to meditate with all the inward noise, so perhaps my discoveries will finally perfect the practices. I won't always need to write for hours on end; I've discovered that the more I tend to the practice regularly and exhaustively both increases my efficiency of writing and requires me to "need" to say less, satisfying me more quickly.

We'll see. My present goal is to write as early as possible in the day without time restraints, to meditate before a working shift (when I have a little time to start another entry, and it works best as mental prep), and to write a second entry during my break.