Many people go through life believing they are free thinkers. Freethinkers are in fact very rare. You would be lucky to meet just one in your lifetime. When you can finally see how we are all programmed to recognize life in similar ways, it might initially appear as if true free thinking is an impossible goal. Let’s end that myth here now. Free thought is the most natural way of being, and you can achieve it and realize the freedom you only imagined possible. Making it real only takes the right understanding of how, and a bit of disciplined commitment to achieve. It is not uncommon that people might run from it when it’s near.
Aaravindha Himadra, an established author and spiritual guide, offers this easy primer on how to foster your own independence and free thinking. Your life on the overall will benefit greatly from these simple lessons. Use them to find yourself among the sea of expectations, indoctrinations, and stereotypes placed on you by family, friends, society, politics, and religion.
Imagine a world where you could truly think for yourself. Imagine a lifestyle where your creativity and right to live on your own terms was no longer limited by others expectations, even your own expectations. Imagine a life where you no longer searched for approval through your conformity to other’s standards. Imagine the freedom where you no longer have to ask your neighbors, peers, or politicians what to think or believe.
Know Your Brain
Your psyche is not your brain. Your psyche is the operating system that designs, alters and conforms to your brain-hardware. Your brain has numerous specific functions, all of which serve a humming neural net that acts as the patterned information base that your psyche relies on to live your life. You were born with one hundred billion neurons in your brain. Those neurons started out as your unspoiled canvas, waiting for you to paint your learned or discovered ideas about life on. By the time you become an adult, your neural net will have shrunk to only forty billion neurons that will have been honed into becoming the bearers of your life tendencies. These tendencies strengthen over time to develop as the hidden source of your personality and character traits. In effect, they are your learned reactions to life, your adopted positions, and the mental cloud in which you store your likes and dislikes, that acts as the driving force for nearly everything you do and think about.
Find a Guide and Teacher
Deprogramming your brain, and learning to feel for what ultimately matters to you can be a daunting task. Many years of programming piled on top of your authentic feelings. You can begin this journey on your own, but having some wise guidance can make that process much easier. A spiritual teacher is ideally someone who has faced this issue and won. But be careful when choosing your guide. The wrong guides can use that self-discovery process to conform you to their own unresolved programming.
Learn to Meditate
Nothing tunes you into your real program-free self better than meditation. But here too, you’ll need to find the right kind of meditation. Choose one that lets you transcend through your barrage of neural programs to feel your inner presence purely. Transcendental breath awareness, mantra, or mindfulness meditations can be an excellent start. Inner visualization exercises are not that good. It might help you establish new commitments or viewpoints, but it’s still just another form of indoctrination. Freedom emerges through an innocent and authentic beingness, rooted in a natural and unbound awareness while being fully in the presence of life.
Awaken Your Neural Freedom Net
Below are a few exercises listed to help prepare your awareness of change. Doing these daily will enliven the process of real mental change and growth in your otherwise fixed neural pathways.
- In the morning, when waking up from sleep, stay put with your eyes closed until you feel you’ve fully committed to be impeccably mindful of your surrounding sensual stimuli.
- Put on a different style of clothing with colors you usually wouldn’t wear. If you dress up, try dressing down.
- Try making or eating your breakfast differently, also with your non-dominant hand. This can start a new cross-talk process in your brain that can start the formation of new neural pathways.
- On your way to work, break out of your routine and take another road or path. Stop somewhere else for your coffee.
- Learn to type with all your fingers. Learn to play a musical instrument. Try learning to juggle, or learn to dance in a new style with different music than you used to.
- Talk to people you would normally avoid. Make a new friend. Do something that allows you to take a little more risk. Plan a trip to someplace you’ve never imagined going. Try a new sport.
- Try to break free from the zombification of cellphone interactions when you are alone or with others. Instead, take a walk, read something, go out for a movie, or just do the sound action of starting a real conversation.
- Let go of your addiction to mainstream culture. Instead, try studying something meaningful or spiritually significant, that helps you tune into your unique self.
- Every day or two, break away from your normal activities to either play with an animal or with children for an hour or more, on their level.
- Start a personal discovery journal or book, or write a small book of poems and share it with friends.
Aaravindha Himadra presents these thoughts in the hopes that they will encourage people to think for themselves and to put their spiritual lives first. Take the time and care to understand yourself, and life will surely reveal its sincerest beauty.