The smallest and largest prison one can reside in is the prison of his/her own mind.
To some, this will be an entirely new concept. But to others, it is a well-acknowledged fact. We may feel that “prisoners” are only those who have had difficulty dealing with an emotional state and became victim to a mental disorder that consumed them. However, this is untrue. We are in fact, all prisoners of our own minds. Just as Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”
The depth of his words can be understood when we ponder over the ways we are conditioned to behave, taught to believe, trained to accept or reject, and live on our daily lives the way society “expects” us to. As humans with an innate survival instinct, we would search for solace and acceptance from our society (our environment) so that we are “fit to live on”. In reality, however, we are becoming more “socially aware” and less “self-aware”. How much of your time is consumed doing what you really want to do? Some of us are so detached from ourselves that we don’t even realize what it is we want to do.
The question remains: How do we free ourselves from the prison of our minds? Take a look through these four steps that may help you transcend from that state and enter into one of free will and self-awareness.
Learn to Question Everything: This is the single-most noteworthy trait of intellectual beings. Humans train their minds to question what they believe to be true. However, it isn’t restricted to beliefs only. We can also question what we feel and what we think and why we do so. Start out by questioning small things such as “Why do I do this work?” then move on to bigger questions such as “Why does the wind move in that direction during this season?” When you get into the habit of asking questions and seeking answers, it will open your mind to new thoughts, beliefs, possibilities, knowledge, and much more.
Practice Meditation: Mindful meditation is a powerful exercise that does wonders for your mind and the way you think. With deep meditative awareness, we understand that the world is a swirling mass of energy that can easily change state. Choose a silent and natural spot for your daily meditative practice. The silence should aid concentration and the natural sounds should aid nature’s awareness. Practice with consistency and patience. It may feel odd at first, but once you participate regularly, you can begin to realize the powerful effect it has on your mind and body.
Embrace Death: It’s funny how the people who have “embraced” or acknowledged death are the ones who are fully living life. This is potentially because they have stepped out of their “survival mode”. The survival instinct is what keeps us fearing death as if it is a monster taking away all our happiness and security. In reality, it is we who are in control of our happiness and security. Once we learn to detach ourselves from the unconscious fear of death, we train our minds to “live in the moment”. With the “live like there is no tomorrow” mindset we unleash our true potential and personality.
Set Altruistic Goals: Human beings can be selfish. Our survival instinct pushes us to step over others to “be the fittest of them all”. We want to protect our lives and our territories. This is a prisoner’s way of thinking. We need to learn the fact that, without generosity, the world will not function properly. When we start giving, we free our minds from the daily clutter of worries that cloud our minds and make us prisoner to it. It opens us up to higher purpose and meaning in life—one that is most certainly not
How might you be able to open your mind so that you can embrace all that you are? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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