Saturday, April 03, 2004

Matter over Mind

Matter over Mind

I've been trying to do some spring cleaning at home. Years of being away has turned my house into a bit of a warehouse and dumping ground for odds and ends that I had collected elsewhere. We tend to develop a certain sentimental attachment to the things we possess. Even when they are broken, we are reluctant to throw them away. But there comes a point when we have no choice but to discard them for they clutter up our living space. Once they are gotten rid of, we feel free of an encumbrance. We even feel rejuvenated.

Our external living environment reflects the inner state of our mind. The way we arrange our things in our workspace is unique to every individual; every bedroom reflects the peculiarities of its occupant. By our thoughts and actions, we consciously and unconsciously rearrange the material world to reflect the mental world inside.

This relationship between our mind and our surrounding actually gives us a powerful tool that can be used to change our mental state: If we could change our environment, then we could also change our train of thoughts and our outlook on life. Perhaps that's the psychological basis for Feng Shui.

It is difficult for us to change our thinking because we are creatures of instinct and habit. We fall back into the same pattern of thoughts again and again, and often self-defeating ones. Using the mind to change the mind is like trying to catch the reflection of a mirror using a mirror--you get an infinity of mirrors. To overcome that, we can try using deliberate physical action to change our state of mind.

I've mentioned in a previous posting that action is but the gross level of thinking--thinking and doing are but different ends of the same spectrum. Every action can be traced back to a single thought. If that is so, we can also reverse the process, by using action to induce a thought.

By rearranging our furnitures, immediately our minds are jolted from our familiar patterns of thoughts. By deliberately saying out loud what we want to achieve through verbal affirmations, we force these positive thoughts into our mind. By cleaning up our room, we get a sense of renewal and upliftment. If you like writing, then you can learn to "write" thoughts into your mind.

We often struggle in vain to change our lives because our minds simply do not possess the willpower to change. Changing the physical world can often be easier than changing the mental world for there are things that we can do mechanically without thinking. Sometimes it helps to use Matter to conquer Mind.

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