Exercising the mind, learning to think

Exercising the Mind, Learning to Think ― Important As Exercising the Body

“The mind needs exercise as much as the body.” — John Morgan

We know that exercising the body is good for our overall health and wellness.  But, we forget that the mind needs its own type of exercise in order to be healthy.  If we learn to exercise the mind, then we can increase our cognitive abilities.  We need these skills more than ever in our modern world.

Exercising the Mind

Exercising the body can make you physically fit. And, physical exercise benefit the physical health of the mind. Exercising the body helps to keep the brain healthy.  But it does not enhance our critical thinking skills.  Nor does not teach us “how to think logically.”  And, exercising the body does not fully prepare us to learn. In short, physical exercise does not increase the mind’s cognitive abilities.

On the other hand, the proper exercise of the mind’s analytical abilities helps to prepare us to use advanced mental activities.  The domain of spirituality requires sharp analytical and critical thinking skills.  You’ll need them to avoid the con-artists selling various religions and counterfeit spiritual information.  And be able to discern fact from fiction.

Learning to Think

Learning how to think requires more than the memorization of information.  Memorization is really the basis for most of our educational system. No doubt memorization is an important skill set unto itself.

There are techniques for memorization that can help to retain data.  These involve a combination of tactics which involve imagination and storytelling.  Storytelling is a fabulous way to remember.  These tactics don’t necessarily improve analytical abilities but they do augment learning.  So, we want to distinguish between the elements of memorization and thinking.

However, learning to think is more important than increasing the capacity to memorize data. Learning how to think is the ability to obtain, assess and formulate data in such a way that one can develop conclusions in a cogent and insightful manner.  This is much different from simply memorizing data.  It’s mental a skill set for expanding our awareness.  When our analytical abilities and intuitive awareness are health, we can function at our highest potential. Learning to think is exercising the mind.

For example, mathematics is a discipline that can help build logical thinking. However, mathematics isn’t particularly helpful in the realm of spiritual matters. You can be highly adept with higher forms of mathematics and still be deceived to buy something by the arguments of a good salesman.  In contrast, the study of logical reasoning has the benefit of building the mind and it is also directly applicable to the realm of spirituality where the argument is the main selling tool.  Being able to discern fact from fiction and an illogical argument is very important in our modern culture.  We are constantly bombarded with advertising and other propaganda attempting to sell us things and ideologies.

The mind is a delicate instrument of consciousness.  We are all susceptible to the manipulation of social and cultural programming. The study of critical thinking skills strengthens the mind against such tactics.  So, learning to think is also the antidote to propaganda.  Whether you are involved in spiritual exploration or not, we all need to guard ourselves against the ploys of the cultural narrative and those trying to persuade us with misinformation. Llearning how to think more clearly is essential to maintaining our health and wellness.

The Study of Logic

As stated above the study of logic is one of the best ways to protect and enhance our thinking ability and basic awareness.  The study of logic is one way of exercising the mind which gives us multiple benefits.  We recommend studying logic continually.  It as a part of maintaining your mind’s health and protecting you from adverse propaganda.

It is the core of learning to think.  At a minimum, one needs a working understanding of the tools for logical reasoning and argument.  Because if we learn to recognize an improper argument this will help us discern facts from fiction.  Complementary tools to logical reasoning include the toolbox for spotting logical fallacy and the logical axioms.  Studying and using these tools on a daily is essential in our world today.

Learning and working with these tools takes a little time and some mental effort.  But, it’s well worth it.  Learning how to think logically and with common sense is one of the skill sets that is blatantly missing from the education system in the West.

Learning in our modern culture has been reduced to the memorization of information.  For that reason, there is a great number of people who although intelligent are reduced to followers being led by a misinformed cultural narrative.  Brainwashing through propaganda which is passed off as news or religion are rampant obstacles.  By in large people are not Freethinkers. Sadly the saturation of cultural programming has made many people followers.

Spiritual Exploration

The study of logic isn’t a type of meditation.  However, it’s a benefit to the process because it helps you follow processes and troubleshoot your thinking. It makes employing any type of seated or moving meditation easier.  The discipline of logic expands the mind’s capabilities and awareness. These are essential to spiritual exploration.  So, bottom line, exercising the mind is just as important as exercising the body for our overall health and wellness.  Above all, it’s an essential tool in spiritual exploration.  In fact, it is indispensable in the arena of spirituality.

Spiritual Technologies

Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness.  They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine.  So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.

You can list these tools in several ways. Some fall into more than one group.   We like this simple method.

Intuition

Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning. One derives information without understanding how the knowledge was acquired. Different writers give the word “intuition” a great variety of different meanings, ranging from mystical insight to unconscious pattern-recognition.  This would seem to be at odds with logic.  However, rather than at odds, it’s actually complimentary.

Albert Einstein talked about his own process he coined “intuitive thought.” While at a Physics conference in Kyoto in 1922 explained how he used images and music to solve problems. Einstein’s insightful leap forward in physics did not come from analytical reasoning or mathematics alone.  These tools became the medium for the communication of these concepts.  Einstein goes on to say, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge.”

The art is then being able to work with the analytical mind in an intuitive way and resolve the differences so that the answers can be understood. The only way to do this is by trial and error. Those eureka moments come when we are in the sweet-spot between intuition and logic.  Understanding your own personality is essential to this process.

The Enneagram Personality Profile

The Enneagram Personality Profile is a powerful tool for inner work. It’s a part of the basic tools of our blended learning process.  This tool can help you identify the mechanisms of personality and instinct.   The Enneagram Personality Profile uses a questionnaire to identify your default personality profile and your instinctual stack.  Answering a simple questionnaire opens up a wealth of information about how your personality and instinct settings generate automatic thought and emotional responses.  Inner work is a way of exercising the mind.  It’s using the mind to understand itself.

As such, The Enneagram is a tool that expands our intellectual awareness.  It provides us with insight into our automatic thought processes.  And, it helps us distinguish between the machinery of the mind and the real us, the Observer.

In Conclusion

In fact, most of the techniques for expanding awareness and investigating higher states require the ability to follow processes.  It requires one to be able to think logically.  Learning to think is a lifelong endevour.  Learning should be fun.  Logical reasoning is a basic skill set that can enhance all areas of your cognitive abilities.  Logical reasoning helps us to troubleshoot issues and find solutions.

At the same time, one needs to learn to trust their intuition.  Spend time in meditation and contemplation.  The experienced seeker understands there’s a connection between a healthy body and mind.  And, that logic and intuition are necessary for maintaining a healthy balance.

If this article resonates, there are more on our blog. To find out more about our organization, see our page FAQ.

Interested in spiritual exploration?  Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey.  Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions.  Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.

References

Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia

 

 

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