Your Two Minds

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Close your eyes. Wait, don’t close them yet. Finish reading this paragraph, then close them. OK, close your eyes and try to think about nothing for 30 seconds.

Ready? Go.

(Waiting…)

Wasn’t easy was it? Chances are various thoughts and images kept popping into your head.

Now, I want you to try the same exercise again, except this time I want you to pay attention to which specific thoughts and images pop up. Try to keep track of them. Notice them, note what they are, and then let them go. See if you can do that for a minute.

Ready? Go.

(Waiting…)

What were they? Maybe that fight you had with your brother the other day. Or the assignment that’s due tomorrow but you’re reading this instead. Or maybe a movie you saw recently, or some sort of fantasy.

Chances are you were able to notice them for a little while but then you quickly find yourself getting sucked into thinking about them involuntarily.

If you’ve ever meditated, even a little bit, you’re familiar with the experience you just had.

You closed your eyes and tried to shut your mind up, even if for 30 seconds, and despite your best efforts the spigot of thought vomit just kept pouring out.

If you’ve ever attended meditation retreats or been involved in some movement such as Zen like I was for a while, they talk a lot about this “mind chatter” that you suffered through.

And the thing is, that “mind chatter” never stops. It’s always going on in your daily life.

A lot of these eastern philosophies aim to “quiet” that chatterbox of a mind that we have, and I suppose it’s useful to put a little damper on it.

But I’ve actually found practicing these sorts of techniques have another benefit, a benefit psychologists are just catching on to and starting to write about here in the West.

That benefit is what I call the “Two Minds.”

When you close your eyes and try to eliminate any thoughts (and fail miserably like the rest of us), obviously your mind is thinking.

But if your mind is thinking, then who is observing the mind thinking?

Whoa…

When you did the exercise and your mind kept wandering back to what you had to do at work tomorrow, who was it that was watching your mind worry about work tomorrow?

It was your mind watching your mind.

In Zen they refer to this as the “Thinking Mind” and the “Observing Mind.” The two minds.

It’s been a common concept in Buddhism for centuries, and new western therapies such as Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT) are catching on to how useful it is and how it can solve a LOT of our every day emotional problems.

I’ll break down the Two Minds further and then show how they can be applied to solving many of the emotional problems we deal with in our every day lives.

The problem with the Thinking Mind is that we don’t completely control it.

Don’t believe me? I’ll prove it.

Whatever you do, do NOT think about a pink elephant. Don’t think about a pink elephant holding a blue umbrella with his trunk. Don’t think about a pink elephant once over the next two paragraphs.

OK, not only did you picture a big pink elephant with a blue umbrella, but you were watching yourself think about a pink elephant while you were reading the past two paragraphs.

Your Observing Mind was watching your Thinking Mind indulge in pink elephants repeatedly, despite the fact that it was telling your Thinking Mind NOT to indulge in said elephants.

The Thinking Mind is always chattering away, while you’re waiting in line, while you’re in bed trying to sleep, when you “tune out” of conversations with people, or when your mind wanders while reading (which I’m sure will happen at least once with me… asshole).

Our Thinking Mind is like a horny dog on a leash that keeps running after things and if we aren’t used to using our Observing Mind, then our Thinking Mind drags us along with it.

If our Thinking Mind starts obsessing about reaching level 30 in Diablo or the last episode of Mad Men, our Observing Mind is helpless to reign it in.

The same goes for emotions. And that’s actually where most of our suffering comes from – not from the negative emotions themselves, but from the fact that we’re helpless from getting sucked into the negative emotions.

Most of our psychological and emotional stress happens because our Thinking Mind and Observing Mind are “fused” and we don’t recognize the difference.

People ask me all the time, “How do I stop feeling so jealous?” or “How do I stop feeling so angry?” or “How do I not get nervous in this situation anymore?”

The answer is you don’t. You can’t control your Thinking Mind. Those emotions pop up and will continue to pop up.

The trick is to not fuse with those emotions when they arise.

In Zen, they advise that instead of saying, “I am angry,” to say, “I feel anger.” Instead of saying, “I am nervous,” say, “I feel nervousness.” Instead of saying, “I am jealous,” you say, “I feel jealousy.”

It may seem like a subtle difference, but try it. Think of a time recently when you felt a negative emotion, a lot of anger or nervousness or insecurity.

Now, instead of thinking, “I was angry at my brother,” think instead, “I felt anger towards my brother.” You HAD anger, but you weren’t controlled by the anger.

Emotions are not a choice. Behavior is.

People ask me all the time, “How do you deal with being afraid of failure?” or “How do you not worry about being rejected?”

I deal with fear and worry by dealing with fear and worry.

(I know, that’s a really annoying answer.)

I feel the same fear and worry anyone else does; I just don’t identify with it. I accept it and move on despite it.

I don’t let my Thinking Mind control me. I defuse from my emotions. When I feel fear, I consciously choose to act despite it. When I feel worry, I consciously choose to act despite it.

For instance, when I have to sit down and write a lot (like writing this PDF), I often get nervous. I want to write something really great because I know thousands of people are going to read it.

One result of this nervousness is procrastination.

When I was younger and I was in situations where I got nervous and procrastinated (i.e., a big term paper in school), I would decide, “I can’t do it because I’m too tired,” or “I can’t focus like other people, I must have ADD or something.”

This was me being fused with my Thinking Mind. There was no separation between my emotions and my identity.

I felt nervous and had a thought of “I can’t do it for X, Y or Z reason,” and I accepted it at face value. I was a slave to my Thinking Mind, tugged by its leash.

These days I’m often able to sit down and write 5,000 words or more in a single day. I still feel the same anxiety. I still hear the same thoughts (“I need to eat first,” “I should take a nap,” “I’m not in a writing mood right now.”)

But now instead of identifying with these thoughts, I acknowledge them:

“I feel nervousness about writing today.”
“I have the thought that I need to eat first.”
“I have the thought that I need to take a nap first.”

And then I turn to my Thinking Mind and promptly tell him that it’s full of shit and that I don’t need a damn thing except to sit my ass down and start writing.

We all produce excuses and negative emotions involuntarily. Guess what? That’s NEVER going to change.

I don’t care how many positive thoughts you conjure, what kind of therapies you do, or what kind of New Agey spiritual crap you come up with – negative thoughts and emotions are natural processes of the human brain.

You can’t get away from them. None of us can.

What you CAN do is accept them. Defuse from them. And then act despite them.

When people come to me ask how to “Stop feeling angry,” or “Stop getting nervous,” this is their problem. As soon as you try to eliminate a thought or emotion, you make it stronger.

As the Buddhist saying goes: “What you resist will persist.”

Or as Tony Robbins says: “You feel what you focus.” The more you focus on an emotion, the more powerful it becomes. Thus, negative emotions are like quicksand, the more you struggle to get out of them, the further into them you sink.

The trick is to accept them and then let go. This is a skill and it is a process, but it cannot be practiced until you recognize that there are two minds and you only control one of them.

Here are some exercises you can do that will help you separate your two minds and therefore take more control of your behaviors despite your thoughts and emotions.

  1. Whenever you feel a strong emotion or thought, disidentify with it and then take possession of it.

    “My boss is not an idiot. But I am having the thought that my boss is an idiot.”
    “I don’t hate my ex-girlfriend. I am feeling hatred toward my ex-girlfriend.”
    “I am not lonely and depressed. I am feeling loneliness and depression.”

    Language is very powerful. Notice when you disidentify from these emotions and thoughts in this way it: 1) implies that they’re temporary states, and not permanent conditions and 2) forces you to take responsibility for them. They’re nobody’s fault, they just are.

  2. Thank your Thinking Mind for negative thoughts and emotions. This is a technique from ACT and it is effective. It may sound absolutely nuts, but it’s effective because it FORCES you to accept your negative emotions instead of fight them.

    “Thank you Thinking Mind for feeling nervous before my date tonight. It will keep me on my toes!”

    “Thank you Thinking Mind for being angry at my boss. I really appreciate how much you care.”

    This is going to feel really bizarre – expressing gratitude towards negative emotions. But I think you’ll find that it diminishes the power of the thoughts and emotions over time and actually impels you to take action despite them.

  3. Finally, if you find yourself in the heat of the moment, or if there’s something that’s really nagging at you, try this out.

    Take something that’s bothered you recently and hold it in your mind. Maybe it’s your girlfriend nagging you. Maybe it’s being terrified of talking to that cute girl in class next to you. Maybe it’s quitting your job.

    Distill it into a single sentence, such as, “I feel afraid of quitting my job.” Or “I feel irritated with my girlfriend.”

    Now close your eyes and imagine Bugs Bunny saying it, while chewing a carrot. Then Mickey Mouse saying it, while dancing and doing cartwheels. Pretend the Chipmunks are singing it to you in the form of a Christmas carol.

    Now, turn it into an image, maybe your angry girlfriend, or your broke ass sitting on the curb. Put that image on a television screen. Make the colors funny, give yourself a polka dotted suit. Make your girlfriend’s hair into a bunch of candy canes.

    Make the thought look and sound absolutely ridiculous in your mind. Take your time and play with it. Try to make yourself laugh.

    After you’ve done this for a minute or two, stop. How do you feel?

    Chances are you feel much better about it and the negative emotion isn’t nearly as potent as it was before.

Separating your Observing Mind from your Thinking Mind is a habit that takes practice. But once you begin to do it, you’ll feel yourself becoming less and less of a slave to your thoughts and your emotions. You’ll take more control of your internal daily life and feel better about it.

In my opinion, this is the single most important step to developing self-discipline and acting despite whatever neuroses or mental hang ups you may suffer from.

Once you’ve differentiated your two minds, you can begin to evaluate your thoughts and feelings from on objective place and decide which ones are helpful and which ones are hurtful.

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27 Comments

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  • Reply

    geofflosophy

    3 months ago

    Hey Mark,
    Great post. Your discussion of how to accept and let go of negative emotions reminds me a lot of something that Tim Ferriss talked about in a video that he calls “Negative Visualization.” I have found this tactic to be particularly useful for dealing with jealousy in past relationships. By focusing on the jealousy emotion and letting it grow temporarily, I found that its power diminished relatively quickly, whereas when I was trying to resist and block the emotion out, it would continue to fester and distract.
    Geoff

  • Reply

    GuessHandsOn

    3 months ago

    Very insightful Mark. 
     
    I would like to know about the relationship between the two minds.
     
    (Are there really two minds? Or is it just a useful fiction to talk as if there really are two minds – the way we talk about fictional characters, as in “Sherlock Holmes is my favorite fictional character.” Some people claim that math is also a ‘useful fiction’ and numbers don’t really exist either.)
     
    Also, granted that two minds exist, you can ask some funny questions, too. Who really are you? Are you your Thinking Mind or are you your Observer Mind? Can there be a mind/intelligence/consciousness without this duality?
     
    I’ll give your suggestions a try. For instance, I’m not hungry – I feel hunger. :)

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      3 months ago

      @GuessHandsOn Well, Freud said there was a superego and an ego. The ego was one’s sense of self, one’s thoughts and identity, and the superego was the ability to make judgments, even if it was about one’s own ego. So in a way, you could say the Observing Mind correlates to the super-ego and the Thinking Mind correlates to the Ego. 
       
      Neurologically, I have no idea. I wouldn’t be surprised. As you probably know, many people seem to have underdeveloped Observing Minds (or superegos).

      • Reply

        FritzMustermanns

        3 months ago

        @postmasculine  @GuessHandsOn
         I dont think there is a neurological definition of “self” yet. There seems to be a self and its somehow created by the brain, thats what we know. It gets even more strange if you have abnormal situations like in schizophrenia. Patients sometimes seem to have problems identifying with the observing self. They will think that the observer is not them, therefore believing their thoughts or actions are controlled by foreign people for example. More interestingly, they will hear voices from people completely unknown to them commenting on their life (“As long as you call them that way after spending the past 20 years with them” a woman with schizophrenia once told me). Maybe there isnt only one or two selfs and the brain decides for us, which come to consciousness and are being felt as “ourselves”?  Nobody really knows and this is a great mystery.

        • Reply

          Meg1000

          3 months ago

          @FritzMustermanns  @postmasculine  @GuessHandsOn   I was in an abusive relationship where I experienced a clash of his perception versus my own in which case I was living in two different realities.  I started to lose my sense of self and other people started telling me who i was….very traumatizing.  A year later I can see it as both a good and bad experience.  This post definitely hit home for me.  I know if I took a lot of this in account I could have saved myself from being dragged in some bad emotional state and dealing with identity issues.

        • Reply

          FritzMustermanns

          3 months ago

          @Meg1000  @postmasculine  @GuessHandsOn
           Maybe (just theoretically, i dont know for real) that is the way our identity is chosen – by interaction with other people. Fragments of what other people tell us what we are remain in our subconscious memory and surface in sleep to be manifested in our personality or “self” in the daytime. In schizophrenia, these memories surface and do something they shouldnt normally do: they become persons again, not being recognized as memories – and they talk to you in your head. These voices often are generally morally judging and almost always negative, they never speak about themselves. I am sorry to hear that Meg. I am glad this can help you. I think its a good idea, I have internalized this way of thinking for quite a while now, too.

  • Reply

    Transitionalman

    3 months ago

    Very insightful. I really admire the way you do break it down for the average casual reader. I’ve read Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching and even despite it’s complexity, it’s underlying message is in correlation with this general idea. Word up Mark.

  • Reply

    Ananas Comosus

    3 months ago

    I’m going to go as far as to say this is your best article yet. I’ve been doing this off and on since around April, and only recently just got back into it. In my opinion, it is probably one of the most important skills one can learn (although some may learn to develop it naturally). I’d love to see more articles like this, and congrats again for writing this one.

  • Reply

    John Robertson

    3 months ago

    If you learn to dissociate well enough from negative emotions and thoughts, you’ll find it hard not to dissociate from positive emotions and thoughts. Unless you’re suffering, a life where you’re constantly observing yourself from a meta-consciousness just because you’re afraid of being dragged into a negative emotion isn’t an attractive one.  I completely agree that learning to affirm negative emotions is essential however. I’ve always found the more western idea of finding beauty in emotional suffering, learn to love strong emotions whether they be negative or positive, more empowering than Buddhist type aspirations to  mental nothingness which delivers a monochrome contentedness.
    I’m loving the site btw.

    • Reply

      someguy100001

      3 months ago

      @John Robertson Interested in seeing Mark’s reply to this.

    • Reply

      postmasculine

      3 months ago

      @John Robertson I actually agree with you that negative emotions can be appreciated and can be beautiful. I don’t buy the Buddhist idea of letting go of everything into nothingness. The thing is, you can’t interpret negative emotions in a beautiful or useful way until you’re able to recognize them and adapt to them, which is what this post focuses on. So I don’t see a contradiction here.

      • Reply

        John Robertson

        3 months ago

        @postmasculine  I completely agree with you (that you need to be able to recognize negative emotions and adapt to them), but there’s something about  (certain) CBT and ACT type techniques that have never really sat well with me, they seem a bit too mechanical and ‘trick’-like. I can definitely see their value in breaking painful emotional patterns, but as something to integrate into your life in the long term, it just feels a bit off.  You’ve probably mentioned something on this topic elsewhere (i’m still yet to finish reading the site), but i find it regrettable that for men literature has lost it’s place as the thing to turn to for emotional development. I don’t mean to sound like some sort of culture vulture evangelist,  but it’s been author’s like Lawrence and Donne who have gave me the emotional vocabulary to engage with my emotions and affirm them, and in a far more enriching way than the ACT techniques i’ve tried in the past. I don’t know, i guess i just wanted to say cultivating a love for enriching books, and not just police thrillers and harry potter, has personally been incredibly important in shaping my emotional development, more so than mindfulness, ACT etc.  I also find it sad the image of literature as become so feminized and elitist that it’s never even considered as essential for the average man’s personal development.

        • Reply

          postmasculine

          3 months ago

          @John Robertson Well, you’ll get no argument from me there. But there are different contexts, right? One could have an overall general malaise to their life and then another could have debilitating panic attacks. Different tools work better for different situations, all are useful to know, and in my opinion, cultivating emotional awareness in general is never a bad thing, no matter how you go about it. 
           
          As for the “go your whole life doing this” thing, I don’t think you have to consciously do this forever. Once you build that awareness and some good mental habits, these things begin to ameliorate themselves over time.

      • Reply

        Middle Way

        3 months ago

        @postmasculine  @John Robertson 
         
        To chime in with a more Buddhistic* perspective:
         
        Consider the possibility that you are attached to your emotions in the same sense that most people are attached to their thoughts. And further that you are not your emotions, in the same way that you are not your thoughts.
         
        If one can achieve some degree of mindfulness during an emotional episode, one can see that emotions actually have a mental component .i.e. when there is anger, there will be angry thoughts and visualizations, as well as a bodily component i.e. bodily tension, adrenaline rush.
         
        With mindfulness it can be observed that mental visualization + mental verbal + bodily components of emotion, are aggregated together by the mind to form emotions. And there is a sort of a cathartic feedback loop.
         
        In my experience, greatly reducing all three components of emotions is possible. And highly desirable, if the goal is to live a life that minimizes suffering and maximizes the development of functional skills.
         
        The way to do it is not via two minds, but rather by breaking down the subject / object duality entirely. And the sort of mindfulness practice that one would undertake is different from the one described in the article
         
        A rough technique is presented here: http://lesswrong.com/lw/5jj/meditation_insight_and_rationality_part_2_of_3/
         
        Doing this successfully will reduce the mental component of emotions but keep the bodily responses intact. To reduce or modify the bodily responses is more advanced and harder to describe.
         
        (*This post just represents my personal experiences and shouldn’t be taken as something authoritative on the views of any particular group)

        • Reply

          postmasculine

          3 months ago

          @Middle Way  @John Robertson Yeah, you had me until here: 
           
          “In my experience, greatly reducing all three components of emotions is possible. And highly desirable, if the goal is to live a life that minimizes suffering and maximizes the development of functional skills.
           
          The way to do it is not via two minds, but rather by breaking down the subject / object duality entirely. And the sort of mindfulness practice that one would undertake is different from the one described in the article”
           
          I’m weary of practices that conflate the spiritual realizations (in this case, breaking the subject-object duality) with emotional health. I subscribe more to Wilber’s model that emotions are yet another manifestation that must be recognized and included as another valid form of existence, even if they’re unbeararably painful. 
           
          The goal is not to reduce emotions themselves (this just lobotomizes you), but to reduce the identification with them and, as John said, see them as their own perfect and true expressions.

        • Reply

          Middle Way

          3 months ago

          @postmasculine  @Middle Way  @John Robertson 
           
          Yep, I wrote that comment to say I disagree the idea that feeling ‘painful’ emotions is necessary (Any model that says fails to describe this aspect of reality, in my opinion) .
           
          I do agree that eliminating emotion is not the goal; being happier and living the life you want to live is. 
           
          Every aspect of reality is perfect and valid in its own way. But I think from a 1st person perspective there are some aspects are more desirable to experience than others.
           
          Stress / Suffering tend to be strongly undesirable. For eg. most people would choose 1 day of bliss followed by death, over 100 years of torment followed by death.
           
          Affective component of most emotions tends to have substantial amounts of  aversion to the present moment of reality (eg. fear, anger, boredom) or craving for more (eg. greed, lust, vanity).
           
          This aversion / craving is the problem, not so much the emotion itself. Accepting that there is aversion and craving in the manner described, does not solve the issue.
           
          Accepting that there is anger, as an example, is good. Because it avoids secondary negative feelings related of anger or repressive defense mechanisms that stunt personal growth. 
           
          But a deep acceptance of the situation. would mean that there is substantially reduced craving / aversion it, which in turn means that component of anger would be diminished as well. 
           
          As far as I know this sort of deep acceptance is not possible with the usual psychotheraputic mindfulness, but requires developing the mindfulness and concentration to a point where certain parts of our underlying cognitive model of reality can be seen through (there is usually more than one shift).
           
          Emotions continue at a some level, but the experience is quite different. Deep seated psychological patterns of behavior and speech continue unless an effort is made to change them, but are relatively easy to change if they are not identified with. 
           
          But it is possible to diminish the suffering to an extent where an average individual would choose 1 day of life with that state of mind, over 100 years of life with the normative state of mind.
           
          That said at some level the whole ‘meditation to reduce suffering’ thing is just a weird hobby, and I understand that it doesn’t appeal to the vast majority of people.
           
          Just in case a few that are interested here is a decent place to start…
          http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/home (no affiliation, except I  occasionally post on their forums)
           
          Hope this makes sense. Writing is not my forte. And this stuff isn’t easy to write about. Sorry for any confusion and all the best :)

  • Reply

    Max Nachamkin

    3 months ago

    Very thoughtful post (hah, get it?)
     
    I’ve been into meditation for a little while now, and I want to stress how important this is in managing your emotions. Even 5 minutes a day can help you control your behavior when these negative emotions arise.
     
    Christian Hudson states something that I’ve been learning to live by more and more each day. “A boy lets his emotions control his actions. A man lets his actions control his emotions.” 
     
    Think about that.
     
    Let your actions control your behavior, not the other way around. They’re just thoughts that you’re having — they don’t define you. No one knows about your thoughts, they only see your actions. But when you start thinking positively, your actions line up positively as well! So it’s important to control your emotions..but realizing what they are and then dismissing them is the first step.
     
    Well put, Mark.

  • Reply

    hobbes

    3 months ago

    Excellent.  I have been reading, studying, meditating for a few years now and it was only just recently that I was able to come to grips with these concepts.  This has been the most profound realization I have had in my life by a wide margin; that you are not your mind, but the one that observes it.  
     
    Through the constant practice of awareness and observing my mind as I go through the day I have found that I am getting to the point where nothing bothers me for more than a few seconds, and that happens only rarely.  I have been able to apply this to every conceivable component of my life, including events like the suicide of a loved one, etc.  What it allows me to do is “feel” whatever charge may exist about some part of my life, be with it, and then let it go.  This has been a game changer for me in ways that I cannot really describe; it is truly amazing what life can be like when you are not constantly being dragged down by your mental chatter.  I feel like I have a super power or something.
     
    The book that finally did it for me was the “Untethered Soul”, although now that the light has finally come on for me on this topic I see that it is talked about everywhere and all the time by many of the great philosophical and religious traditions.

  • Reply

    Meg1000

    3 months ago

    Cool post!  It has a weird similarity to my submission for the contest.

  • Reply

    dngoo

    3 months ago

    How did you come up with #3 — take nagging and convert it to something funny?  (testing on yourself, with friends, etc?)

  • Reply

    serbia

    3 months ago

    i never post on blogs, literally ever.
     
    just a couple of things, as the write mentions language very important.
     
    when observing the mind try using the phrasing of …. “thats just a thought of anger”, “thats just a feeling of irrational sadness”. Using the word just seems to help distance the thought/feeling. The skill is in determining what is a thought and what is a feeling, it probably doesn’t matter to much as you deal with them in the same way, but it gives a feeling of confidence over thinking mind to identify between the 2. Best rehearsed during meditation initially and with practice it improves.
     
    one other point, the idea of the rational mind telling the non rational mind that stream of thought is wrong or incorrect in some way often just leads to suppression. the thoughts will just come back possibly stronger. As author mentions you will never get rid of these thoughts, but meeting them with self compassion (not self acceptance) really removes the resistance and feeling of suppressing. e.g “thats just an irrational thought of anger, but i’ve been through so much recently it’s ok”
     
    all highly personal stuff but thats what works for me. once practicing self compassion in this way beautiful things can really start to happen

  • Reply

    Daniel Cuttridge

    3 months ago

    We’re not our thoughts, but our awareness of them. 
     
    Something I try to live by.

  • Reply

    MilanT

    3 months ago

    Thanks for this post. I tried the techniques described and its a great thing to beat procrastination.

  • Reply

    Dora

    2 months ago

    Your posting, “Your Two Minds – Postmasculine” was in fact worth
    writing a comment on! Just simply needed to mention
    you did a remarkable work. Thanks for your time ,Emmanuel

  • Reply

    FK

    2 months ago

    Very fascinating and a great refresher for me, I find I need to read something like this to remind me from time to time. Practicing the Two Minds is definitely a habit – and reading about its mechanisms helps me recommit to that habit when times are hard. Thanks, Mark.

    I especially love the part about language – what the above commenter said about literature being important to development could have a lot to do with acquiring that “second mind”, in reading texts where one character or narrator is observing another, and using the language that reflects that observation (the 3rd-person, indirect). Thanks.

  • Reply

    Jenn

    2 months ago

    People often ask me how I’ve been able to accomplish so much in my mere three decades of life. Granted, most people don’t want to hear my answer, but the select few that do listen get my blunt, soapbox answer: stop thinking about it and just get it done. I like how you wrote in greater detail about this idea…then again, it’s more challenging to master than said.

    Thanks for writing articles that are insightful and blunt that just tell things as it is – pretty awesome in my opinion. If only more people wrote this way…

  • Reply

    Shubham

    2 months ago

    Another great article Mark.
    I’ve read this and a couple of other articles I really appreciate your approach to life and honesty. Also, it doesn’t hurt when I am interested in a lot of same things as what you write about.

    I’ve done a little bit of digging on this dual aspect of the mind myself, as it seems to be one of the central themes in eastern contemplative traditions.
    From what I’ve come across so far, I’ll recommend reading two books:
    “You Are Not So Smart” by David McRaney (http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Not-So-Smart/dp/1592407366/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378568755&sr=1-1&keywords=you%27re+not+so+smart)
    and
    “Thinking, Fast and Slow” (http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/0374533555) by Daniel Kahneman
    as they will provide a deeper insight into this dual nature of our two Selves. One is the conscious mind and the other the adaptive unconscious. Freud’s ideas are a bit outdated in the light of more recent findings in psychology. They will really help you to ground your own subjective experience in objective research and psychology studies.

    Meditation and science complement each other greatly. I know that you are an experienced meditator, but if you ever want a practical and scientific approach to meditation and the whole enlightenment business, I’d also recommend
    Shinzen Young’s audiobook, “The Science of Enlightenment.” (http://www.amazon.com/Science-Enlightenment-Shinzen-Young/dp/1591792320/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378568806&sr=1-6)

    I hope this will help as much in the same way as your writings have helped me. I am definitely going to be sticking around here. Thanks for this.

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