Mind Over Matter
Rob Fasman, M.A.
A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks he becomes.
Be master of mind rather than mastered by mind.
~ Zen proverb
There is no spoon.
~ The Matrix
It can be said that understanding the origins and workings of the mind has fascinated human beings about as much as the origins of the universe. The mind is involved in everything we do, and everything we don’t do. Not only are we constantly thinking; we also have the ability to realize that we are thinking, and to think about our thinking.
Sometimes (perhaps when things are going well) we may feel like we can accomplish anything we “put our minds to,” while other times (perhaps when things are not going so well) we may feel no control over our thinking and our mind may become our worst enemy.
Having a mind can feel like a blessing and a curse, so how do we make the most of the unique experience of having a human mind? Challenging and engaging our minds can be intellectually and personally rewarding, and can even help us learn things to make our lives and the lives of those around us better.
There are countless ways to challenge and engage the mind. One would be hard-pressed to think of an activity that does not stimulate the mind to some extent.
Some tips for making the most of your mind and improving your well-being:
- Try something new: take a class or attend a lecture just because it sounds interesting.
- Check out an art gallery or see a play.
- Strive for balance and slow down your mind once in a while: take breaks while studying.
- Our minds are designed to focus on survival (rather than on well-being), and are really good at dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. Work on being more “in the moment” by trying relaxation, meditation, or yoga, or by exercising and playing sports.
A university setting is a great atmosphere to challenge the mind through engaging experiences and discussions with others. If you put your mind to it, you may discover passions and develop habits that will enrich your life throughout your years.
- Counseling Center Skills Groups are a great way to understand your mind and manage your anxiety.
- Broaden your mind with a Lunch Series Lecture like those coordinate by the Women’s Studies Program.
- Attend a concert performance or play put on by UMaine students.