Mind Over Matter: Start Changing Your
sound so preposterous to you?
you ever seen images of the loincloth-clad Buddhist monks which hold up
in some wintry mountain fastness, somehow unaffected by the cold as
snow piles up around them? Have you ever wondered how they do it?
Do you live in a reality where the control of your own mind is beyond
you, and your thoughts run wild?
If so, you probably think having much control of your reality is out of
you think this is the case, you're right, of course, but by getting a
firm hold of the mind, you can can make yourself a new reality.
spent much of my life severely overweight. I suffered from
debilitating headaches and periodic back pain, and I was long
convinced that my physical problems would hound me for the rest of my
life. Other children tormented me over my weight, and I was
I ate the same foods as my older brother, who
remained trim while I packed on weight. This above all else convinced
me that I was just genetically cursed, and that my lifestyle choices
wouldn't make any difference.
No one taught me a worthwhile
way to remember facts and master academic topics when I was young,
which meant I was labeled as learning disabled in school, despite
So in my mind, not only was I physically ugly,
but I was mentally useless as well.
By junior high school I
was was severely depressed, and I dreaded almost every day. I
gradually started to suffer from digestive complaints, which turned
out to be Colitis years down the road.
I remember sitting on
my bed at home while I was in junior high, trying to imagine a future
for myself. My thoughts had become so grim that I literally could not
even hope for anything moderately good. I was convinced that no one
would ever love me, and my life would forever be tinted with the dark
cloud that filled my mind.
I tried telling my mom a few times, but
what could they she say? She told me to buck up and pull myself
together. After all, I was living in a comfortable, middle class
family in the freest nation on earth. I could do whatever I pleased
with myself, and accomplish whatever I set my mind on.
all this possibility was invisible to me. I couldn't look beyond my
own miserable body and see the grand horizon.
Tables Have Turned
sometimes look back at the mentality I had in high school and can't
manage to associate with it. My mind has changed so dramatically that
my youth is almost alien to me. Most of the memories remain, but they
just seem like fragmented blurbs of someone else's
life, and the
beliefs I held seem like the bizarre tenants of a strange religion.
weigh a trim 165 pounds, 55 pounds lighter than my high
of 220 pounds at age 17. I'm extremely athletic, and a nice 15-mile
run sounds like fun to me.
Had 17-year-old Andrew been presented with
the idea of running such a distance, he would have gone pale with
My colitis symptoms are long gone, along with those
and headaches, which once ruled my existence.
In college I
studied English, and I generally scored highest, or at least at the
top of the class, in my courses.
I even learned that my great
weaknesses, math and science, could not deter me from reaching my
goals if I brought the full weight of my mind against them.
decided to take a math-heavy astronomy lab course in my senior year
in college. By that time I was so on top of my mind that I was able
to almost ace the class, finishing just a fraction of a point behind
the leader of the class, who was a math major. More than a quarter of
the class flunked, and I knew that I would have been in that group
had I not learned about mind over matter
Over Matter: Put Your Resources To Work
physical reality can change without your involvement, which can
temporarily make you happier if the change is good, but another dip
in circumstances will send you cascading down into the doldrums
again. That is, of course, if you haven't learned a bit about mind over
matter over matter.
Your mind is not some static beast, as good as
it ever will be and largely outside of your control, as many think of
it. It's actually nimble, and very responsive to how you use it.
Scientists long believed by early adulthood the had brain
solidified, and little plasticity could be expected afterwards.
Within the last decade, however, researchers have had the technology
to begin mapping how the brain changes to adapt to the demands we
make on it, and the results are astounding.
If the human brain were so
simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we
As Sharon Begley
outlines in her excellent book, Train
Brain, we now know what we persistently
think and meditate about has the power to radically alter our brains.
The brain of a master pianist is radically different than
that of a musical beginner. Someone who loses their vision really
does have their other senses rewired and improved.
who register as the happiest on earth are Buddhist monks, who have in
some cases spent decades meditating on love and compassion. When
hooked up to scanners and asked to be happy, their
brains explode with color, while meditative beginners in the control
group can hardly muster any change at all.
question that how you use your brain can have a dramatic effect on
Matter: Hitching A Ride Out
Of the Dark
was able to escape my misery because I stumbled on a path in darkness,
and just started trudging down it. In a sense, I'm still on that path.
started with just
a glimmer that I didn't even imagine to be of importance. I became
fascinated with Ninjitsu,
and began taking classes in my junior year
of high school. I read everything I could about the art, and practiced
at home even on days off from classes.
overweight body was inept at the precise movements necessary, but the subtleness
of the fighting style, and its seeming disregard for the
demands of physics, absolutely fascinated me. I concentrated on it to
such a degree that, for the first time in years, I lost a bit of
myself in the joy of a pursuit.
introduced me to
Yoga as a warm up technique capable of increasing my flexibility, and
before long I'd added that onto my after school routine. Soon I'd
picked up Light
Yoga, which was far too advanced for me, but which gave me
something new to work toward.
After a few months of this, I
was dressing one morning when I noticed my pants were sagging around
my waist. I grabbed a belt and shrugged it off, but the notion that,
for the first time in my life I had was managing to positively affect
my physical self, despite what I believed to be genetic fate, did not
So my horizons moved back a bit. I began reading
up on diet, and soon found the work of a number of vegan doctors.
First I made small dietary changes. I cut way back on deserts and
processed snacks and started drinking water instead of milk, which
was long a three-times-a-day staple of my diet.
As soon as I had done
so it was as if a flood gate had opened. Water
weight my body was storing to deal with the toxins I was taking
in was no longer needed, and my weight dropped dramatically.
was astounded, and so was everyone else. I was beginning to see that I
was not the powerless,
worthless individual I imaged myself to be. I began to see that mind
over matter might be real, and it was empowering. I hadn't come full
circle, but I had turned a corner.
Matter: Get Started
want happiness, a
better body, more friends, or just about anything else, what you
believe and what you think about offers amazing possibilities for
improving your situation.
Mind over matter is not a coherent
single technique, but an overall ideology made up dozens of possible
strategies for bettering the state of your mind.
Some people will groan at the thought of
meditation, and they need not be constrained by this, though meditation
is probably one of the most powerful means of mental change.
the attached articles I hope to outline some of the techniques I've
used to bring myself from the depths of depression to a happy
existence full of possibilities.
By working with your mind and cultivating inspiration ans success, you
can drastically improve your situation.