Mind Is Always Slower Than Nature

Posted by Nipun Mehta on Jul 16, 2009
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Neil has been one of the most wonderful assets to the CharityFocus team, in recent years. An avid meditator, a sports fan, deep thinker, Neil continues to dazzle us with his fresh insights and committed work ethic. If you judged him by his academic background (undergrad from UC Berkeley, doing his PhD at Stanford), you may not figure that he's hoping to grow up to be a farmer. :) And, in fact, he's currently in India trying trying to build technology to support farmers.

This morning, I stumbled into Neil's blog, and read this great "thought from meditation":

The mind is slower than nature. It always plays catch-up. We use our mind to observe, analyze, understand the world around us. The way we do this is to use our reasoning abilities, which is essentially a pattern-matching exercise. Knowledge is the recognition of patterns in the world. At the same time the world is zooming by. As I type this sentence there are a billion chemical reactions going on in my body.

The mind can never keep up. Worse still, when we convince ourselves that we can understand nature, we end up going against the grain, stopping to figure this or rationalize that. We stumble and struggle trying to keep up. You miss the whole flow of life in an attempt to capture it.

I think a less stressful way is to try and tap into the flow of nature, which really means letting go of the pursuit of patterns. This is what you practice when you meditate. If you can master this, then you are riding the waves of life on a surfboard, instead of floating to shore in fits and starts.

Posted by Nipun Mehta | | permalink

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Comments (3)

  • Birju wrote ...

    i am inspired :)

  • Richard wrote ...

    Important observation. Might suggest however, for consideration, whether the mind equals our thinking. Seems to me our "thinking" function is the slow part. Maybe mind is a much larger phenomenon. If the thinking function doesn't interfere, it seems to me something instantly recognizes patterns, for instance. Doesn't have to slow down "to think" about them. I'm sure there is a lot more to be said about this question, but completely agree with the basic idea here. Thanks,Neil.


  • surfer wrote ...

    Well, letting go is a good recipe for being stress free. Somehow i have a problem with this way of modern thinking though.

    How do people operate businesses, learn new skills, create efficiencies in existing business practices if not by thinking , consciously (using brain) recognizing patterns and then using them ? Of course it will cause stress, but then when you let go after being stressful, you become stressfree. Its all a part of rythm of nature.

    I think we should learn to let go , go with the flow as well as learn to use out cognitive abilities. not either or.