Monday, January 12, 2015

Train Your Mind

Jon Dunnemann

According to Sam Harris, author of the best-selling books Waking Up, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free Will, and Lying, "basic mindfulness can be practiced very early in life". Yesterday, a seven year old boy visited our Emergency Department where it seemed nearly impossible for him to sit still or stay put as per his grandmother's instructions. Something inside of me led me to intervene in that moment.

Upon pulling up a chair, I sat down directly in front of the little fella. I remained still, looking straight into his eyes, and without even the slightest plan of what to do next I joined him there. At first, he would not even look at me that is not until I decided to say "lets play a game". "I would like to see if you can do everything that I do." I folded my hands and placed them in my lap to which he deliberately followed suit. Then I inhaled, taking in a very deep breath, and followed up by exhaling my breath very slowly. 

This youngster, is now looking directly into my eyes as we both breathed in and breathed out in-sync for a few more times. Finally, I asked the boy, "how does that feel, pretty good right?" I told him that it is a great way to relax wherever you find yourself and it is also very helpful when you are finding it difficult to avoid unwanted distractions. Next, I shared with him that this is a first and very important step toward taking control of your body, mind, and spirit so that neither grandma or anyone else for that matter has to have power over your behavior. I went on to explain to this young boy that maintaining control over himself is his responsibility and that the sooner that he learns this very important fact, the sooner that he can take pride and pleasure in directing his life from the "railway" and along the personal track that will lead him to the fulfillment of his greatest dreams and aspirations. 

While sharing with him that it took me way to long to learn this very simple principle, I further explained to him that my hope for him would be that he might begin to learn and start practicing the concepts that I am describing to him right here, right now, in that he will more rapidly be on his way to becoming whatever he chooses to be much earlier in his life than I did. Then I kindly thanked him for listening to me, and I of course thanked his grandmother for the tremendous honor and privilege of allowing me to speak to and share both my thoughts and personal experience with her wonderful grandson.

Upon returning back to my post, I observed that the little boy never once left his seat again, that is until he was specifically directed to do so by his grandmother. 

As Sam Harris also points out In Waking Up, "Your mind is the basis of everything you experience and of every contribution you make to the lives of others. Given this fact, it makes sense to train it." He goes on to later indicate the following:
In my view, the realistic goal to be attained through spiritual practice is not some permanent state of enlightenment that admits of no further efforts but a capacity to be free in this moment, in the midst of whatever is happening. If you can do that, you have already solved most of the problems you will encounter in life.

Many blessings to all and have an awesome day!