Have you ever reflected on the power of your mind? Can you appreciate the fact that every problem you face is defined in your mind? And the same goes for every solution you employ?
The limits of our effectiveness to solve our problems are set by the limits of our mind. Our mind is the most powerful and universal of tools which we have at our disposal. It is a tool given to us by God so that we may serve him in this life.
If we treat our mind with respect, honor and train it – keep it sharp – it will be like a sharp axe, ready to be used to split wood when we need to. If, on the other hand, we disrespect our mind, ignore its training and fill it with garbage, we can rest assured that our axe’s blade will be dull.
Splitting wood will be excrutiating.
This article will elaborate on the nature of the mind as a tool. It will convince you to take the power of your mind seriously and to treat it well so that it may serve you well during your lifetime.
A healthy and well-oiled mind is always with you. It can serve you no matter where you are or what your resources are. It is your second best investment, after investing yourself in God through Jesus Christ.
Our Mind Defines Our World
God is the singular consciousness which animates and observes the universe. God is the singular source of all creation. Yet, if everything comes from God, how is it that we perceive separateness? How is it that we perceive trees and rivers and birds along with all the other wonders of the world?
The answer is the mind. The mind is like a prism. When we shine pure white light through a prism what comes out are the component colors of the light; the reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos and violets of the rainbow. Even though the colors appear to be separate they are, in fact, one.
Our mind judges, categorizes and records. It puts everything into boxes. This is essential to our survival. Fragmenting the singularity of the universe is what allows us to live out our humanly lives as we seek to do good and reject evil.
And what is the pure white light which shines through our minds?
In the book of John 1:1-5 it is written:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Hum, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
Imagine your mind as the prism which separates the light of God into its components. What would happen to the emergent light if the prism is cloudy? Or cracked? Or unfocused?
If we are to serve God well we must keep our prisms clean, pure and focused on things which are praiseworthy.
The Bible Is An Instruction Manual
The Bible is utterly relevant to us today and cutting-edge in its description of the state of humanity. It is an instruction manual, written by God, through human beings, thousands of years ago, so that we may know Him.
The Bible reveals the mind of God, to those who are humble enough to accept it. Have you ever wondered why, even after a couple of thousands of years since its origin, the Bible remains the most printed book ever?
Could it be because it actually delivers on its promise? To allow a lowly human being who reads it looking for divine instruction to receive it?
There is no more tried and tested repository of wisdom than the Bible. The Bible is peerless. It nourishes, it is safety, it will guide you true where others will mislead you. I know this because I have been misled and have paid the price for it. Learn from my mistakes. Take some time to read the Bible and you will see.
God Is The Source Of Consciousness – Consciousness Is The Source Of Everything
Well, if you don’t believe the Bible, then maybe science can give you a little nudge. Did you know that modern science doesn’t have a clue on how the brain generates consciousness? Despite a couple of hundred years of prodding and probing the gelatinous mass between our ears, modern science has not been able to come up with a model on how consciousness, our awareness of being alive, originates in the brain.
Could it be that maybe, just maybe, it’s because the brain doesn’t produce consciousness? What if it’s actually the other way around? What if consciousness creates the brain? Could consciousness have generated the brain so that it could express itself through it?
That’s just what UC Davis neuroscientist Donald Hoffman is seeking to prove through the “Theory of Conscious Agents” which posits that reality is a network of interactive conscious agents. Hoffman’s theory is mathematically founded and allows for the existence of an “infinite mind” upon which all of our minds are dependent.
An infinite mind sounds a lot like God to me.
Science is now turning its lens on to the big questions: who are we, where did we come from and where are we going? The Bible addressed these questions long ago, it answered with Truth. But it seems human beings are obsessed with finding the next best thing.
But here’s the thing about the Truth – it’s constant and unchanging. Science is going to confirm the Truth in the Bible. God is real; He created this party and He watches over all of us. The Bible also says God loves us so much he sent his only son to us to die for our sins so that we could be redeemed.
Now back to the mind.
What Happens When Our Mind Is Dull
The mind is a tool we received from God. He gave it to us so that we could serve Him. When we honor the mind and we use it to serve God we are rewarded.
But if we mistreat the mind, dishonor it and use it to go against God we shouldn’t be surprised when we have a hard time while we’re alive.
Compare the mind to an axe. If you keep your axe sharp, store it in a safe place, away from harmful elements, you will be able to use it to cut down a tree when you need to. The better you treat your axe, the more effective it will be at splitting wood. Combine a well-kept axe with proper training on how to use it safely and effectively and you’ll be stacking firewood up in no time.
But, if you allow your axe to dull or leave it exposed to the heat, cold and rain, you can be certain that you will have to work harder for longer to split less firewood. If, on top of this, you don’t know how to use your axe, you could even end up hurting yourself.
So treat your axe well. Care for it and clean it. Learn how to use it. As you do these things your axe will get sharp and stay sharp – it will serve you faithfully whenever you need it to.
Symptoms Of Having A Dull Mind
Do you know people who are currently struggling with splitting wood? Let me rephrase the question. Do you know who are currently struggling with challenges? Be they financial, scholastic, medical or otherwise?
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know people who are struggling with all sorts of challenges. Some struggle more than others, but everyone has challenges.
The more dull someone’s mind is the more they will have to struggle to come up with solutions to their challenges. Sharpen the mind, keep it pure, focused on praiseworthy things and watch how it comes up with effective and God-approved solutions.
As someone who has lived with a dull mind in the past, I am well-aware of the symptoms which come with it. They are:
- Difficulty focusing on challenging tasks
- Slow thinking
- Feeling powerless in the face of circumstances; feeling like there are no other options but the ones you currently see
- Coming up with “solutions” that address one problem but create two more
- Feeling uncreative or scarce in ideas
Have you experienced any of these symptoms? Are you currently experiencing any of them, in any area of your life?
Then you have a dull mind. But don’t fret, there is hope. Just as we can allow the mind to become dulled through habit, we can sharpen it back, and even make it sharper than it ever was before, also through habit.
What problem are you wrangling with now? A sharp mind will empower you to come up with an effective and elegant solution to your problem. Whether it be a way to make money or healing a physical ailment, a sharp mind combined with God’s guidance will allow you to solve the issue much more effectively than relying on a dull mind and your own limited intelligence.
How To Sharpen The Mind
Simply put, live how God wants you to live. God designed our bodies and minds to be challenged. Too much comfort, be it physical or mental, will dull both your body and your mind. Using discomfort to keep your body and mind sharp will keep you effective at coming up with solutions to your challenges. You’ll feel safer, more confident in your future and more powerful.
So many people have become convinced that comfort is what makes a good life. That’s dangerous nonsense. The more rooted you are in comfort, the less of your potential you manage to express. When you express less of your potential you are actually stealing from God. God made us to grow, so that we may better serve to enact His will on this Earth.
That’s why people who pursue too much comfort end up stagnating.
The Job Is A Great Source Of Comfort To Many
The most pernicious form of comfort that I’ve encountered is the job. Once a man gets a job that gives him enough money to be comfortable he decides somewhere in the back of his mind that he’s done expanding. That’s it. Everything is taken care of. He can grow within the confines of his job and be set for the rest of his life.
As someone who hasn’t had a stable job since 2017 I can attest to how uncomfortable it is not having one. Without a job you can’t stop learning, innovating and experimenting. If you do, you won’t have money to live on. You have to keep on your toes, open to new ideas, people and places. Not having a job keeps you hungry, it keeps you growing.
Please note, this doesn’t mean you should quit your job! I’m merely illustrating how comfort kills our growth. By identifying areas in your life where you’ve stagnated you can begin to make choices with put you outside of comfortable stagnation.
And by connecting with God you allow yourself to be directed by Him. That’s the first and most important step in sharpening your mind. Get right with God and He will make a way for you.
Connecting With God
God is real. God is also good, true and unchanging. Everything good comes from God. By connecting with God you open yourself to direction from the highest of the high. And thankfully, God left us with precise instructions on how we can connect with him and live according to his will.
It’s called the Bible, I invite you to read it.
I’m ignorant in many ways, but after multiple years of devouring books I can confidently say I have never come across a book like the Bible. It’s the most special of books. It contains Truth.
Read the Bible to begin to understand God as He wants to be understood. Once you begin to understand Him you will never stop developing that understanding. At the same time, you will begin to understand the Creator of the universe. You will begin to see the blueprints of what makes a good life and will be able to create one for yourself, with God’s direction. Humbly pray to God for guidance in the name of Jesus Christ and you receive it.
Personally, Vipassana meditation allowed me to still my mind so I could begin listening to God. God is constantly speaking to us, but if we’re so distracted by the errant nonsense which saturates the world, it’s hard to hear Him.
Vipassana meditation allows you to train your mind, to get it to obey you, rather than the world. A trained mind is pliant, it goes where you want it to go and it stays as long as you want it to stay. Nothing can replace training the mind.
Connecting with God should be your priority in sharpening your mind. Here are 3 other activities which can compliment the sharpening
1) Having Discussions With People
There are three potential levels of conversation. Two or more people can talk about other people – that’s the lowest level of conversation. They can talk about things – that’s the middle level. Or they can talk about ideas, the highest level.
Talking about ideas is the highest level of conversation because ideas are only limited by our imagination. When two or more people get together and engage in a conversation centered on ideas they begin to stretch each others minds. As the mind stretches to accommodate new ideas it becomes more limber, agile and dynamic. It’s no surprise that people who regularly have discussions with others are less prone to develop Alzheimer’s in their later years.
God made us to be in fellowship with each other, not to be staring at a computer screen all day followed by a television screen all night. Be ready to pay the price for staring at screns too long. This article in Acta Paedriatica shows that babies who spend more time watching screens have more language delays than those who spend more time in face to face interaction. This is true even for “educational” videos. Nothing can replace face to face interaction.
You can be certain that if too much screen time hurts babies it does the same to adults. Sharpen your mind by conversing with people more!
2) Learning New Skills
Learning new skills stretches the body as well as the mind. Most of the neurons in our brain are located in the cerebellum, which is responsible for motor skills like balance, coordination and posture.
Daniel Wolpert, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, believes that the only reason we have brains is to move. It’s no coincidence that human beings have the highest ratio of brain size to body size simultaneously being the animal which can move in the most varied ways. Some animals are faster, stronger and more agile, but no other animal can move in as many different ways as a human being can. We can run, jump, swim, climb, dance ballet, shuffle cards, skate, paraglide, ski and jump on a pogo stick.
We are the Swiss army knife of movement.
Movement is nutrition. Learning to move our bodies in new ways nourishes the brain and mind.
For example, I recently accompanied a friend of mine on a hunting trip. He is an experienced hunter, while it was my first time ever. We traipsed around the Canadian outback for hours, searching for a whitetail deer. We failed and part of the reason was my lack of experience hunting.
As I gain more experience hunting my brain will change; it will fine-tune itself to increase my effectiveness as a hunter. It will do this on its own, as the brain is a miraculous entity designed by God to make us master problem-solvers. All I have to do is keep putting myself in the same uncomfortable situation (hunting) until my brain finds its groove and I succeed.
The more skills you develop, the better your mind becomes at learning new things and the more adaptable it becomes. The more adaptable the mind, the better solutions it can come up with.
3) Being In Nature
Dedicating time to be in nature connects us to God. Walk around an old growth forest or hike up a mountain and you will be filled with awe. Awe is the emotion we experience when we are in the presence of something that overwhelms us with its power.
When we experience awe we feel humble, our tiny humanity is put into perspective and we shrink our selves. It becomes easier to put our selfish tendencies aside and to open ourselves to the guiding hand of God.
Making time to be in nature is a powerful way to sharpen the mind. Some of the most creative people in our world dedicate time to being in nature. Even working a garden is enough for someone to appreciate the vast intelligence which organizes the universe. People who garden live longer and healthier lives.
Final Question: How Sharp Is Your Mind?
I hope this article put into perspective the importance of having a sharp mind. It really is your second best investment. Connecting with God is your best investment and a sure way to sharpen your mind. Having a relationship with the Creator is never-ending journey; it’s dynamic, it invites us to frequently take time to reconnect and ask for guidance.
It’s becoming clear that science is circling around God, we are at the beginning of a paradigm shift, wherein the existence of an intelligent universal observer becomes undeniably proven. To me it already has been.
The three activities listed to sharpen your mind all share one commonality. They require you to engage with creation. Leave your comfort zone and engage with people, places and activities. Do things that make you uncomfortable. For example, talk to a Christian; listen to what they have to say. That’s something that makes most people uncomfortable, including myself in the past. Have you ever listened to what a genuine Christian has to say about God?
It’s this: God loves you. Jesus loves you.
So how do you sharpen your mind these days? I love to read your comments!
To our wealth and success.