Thursday, 21 April 2016

Why I don't make fun of people praying

I shall start this post by putting forth that I don't subscribe to any organised religion. I consider myself an atheist but I enjoy reading into specific religions and taking from them what I consider useful or beneficial. That said, I do think they can do harm when people swallow wholesale the doctrine of one case or the other but i'm not here to argue the case for or against religion as a whole, not today anyway.

With regards to Christianity, I used to think that prayer was a totally futile endeavour. I didn't believe in god so I didn't see why people would get any benefit from conversing with him. Then I discovered meditation. I practice meditation pretty much daily and for me it has a hugely positive effect. I don't think this has anything to do with spirituality or mysticism, for me its purely scientific. Focusing your mind creates neural pathways for concentration. The more you meditate, the more you strengthen these pathways. For me its purely a chemical process. I also believe focusing on breathing helps regulate it and breathing through the nose instead of the mouth has proven medical advantages as the air is basically filtered through the nasal passageways. So anyway, how does this relate to prayer. Well consider what prayer is. The subject sits, tries to block out all other thoughts and repeats a saying or phrase. Whether they believe that anyone is listening is not the point. Many feel that their life improves afterwards and attribute this to god listening. I attribute it to the fact that they are implementing a daily, strictly adhered to, mindfulness practice in their life. They are, for all intents and purposes, meditating.

As a final note, I genuinely believe that most religion stems from a common point. As such the idea that meditation crops up in the Christian faith, albeit through a subtle means, is not surprising to me.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

The psychology of asking the right question

The human brain is a really weird, dysfunctional, thing. Often we know the answers to questions but we can't pull them out of our brain for love nor money. The key, sometimes, is actually asking a different question.

When i'm working on a track i'll sometimes find it difficult to know what the track needs. I can listen to it and not really understand where to go when I ask "What is the track needing?". Instead what I now try to do is instead ask "Is the track actually done?". If the answer is no then I start finding it easier to point out what makes the track not yet done. Its a shift from thinking about what my next step is to thinking back from my end-point and looking at what the scope of the gap is. For me it works and I can answer the second question much easier than the first. As an aside I also find that thinking in this way actually allows me to work for longer periods of time on a track without getting distracted. This simple loop of assessing whether the track is done often sparks my desire to immediately do the action I come up with there and then, making the move towards the finished track.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Learning when to speak up

I have a bit of a problem in social situations. Basically, I can't hold my tongue. An idea comes into my head or a thought and i'm generally inclined to just throw it out there without really thinking. As such I often end up having that feeling afterwards of "why didn't I just keep my mouth shut". I think there is a skill to knowing when to speak and when not to and its a seriously difficult thing to master. I don't really have the trick to it or even a method for determining it but it does seem like something I should make an effort to work on. As such I will be trying to engage a 2 second rule.

Generally speaking there isn't much that's so important that you can't wait 2 seconds to say it. Particularly to people you don't know that well. It should hopefully negate some of that initial "Oh god, why didn't I stop and think before I spoke" based on the premiss that I generally have that feeling pretty quickly after I say something dumb or inappropriate.