Taming The 5 Senses: How Meditation Increases Focus & Memory
In an ever-growing world of Facebook/Twitter updates, shiny new blog posts, up to the minute breaking news, and other “click-me-now” mediums competing for our monetized minds — it is no surprise that our ability to focus and concentrate has taken a dive.
In just over a decade (2000 to 2013), researchers have measured a whopping 33% downgrade in our average attention span, from 12 seconds to 8 seconds, one second shorter than that of a goldfish (9 seconds). By making it this far in the article, you can pat yourself on the back, as 17% of website page views last 4 seconds or less.
It’s quite normal nowadays to have 20 open browser tabs while only reading 10% of the page content — the endless rabbit hole of distraction made available to us by the internet is part of its’ lure and essence. The problem is when we apply this same principle in other areas of our life. Focusing on everything effectively leads to focusing on nothing, leaving you a master of nothing — accomplishing zero in the end.
“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” — Alexander Graham Bell
Meditation Tames Your “Wild Horse” Senses
Why are we so “not-in-control” of our thought focus?
It has been said that our senses are like five wild horses pulling a carriage, with the mind serving as the rein-holding driver. If you cannot learn to effectively harness the speed and direction of your senses, they can and will run wild on you, galloping randomly anywhere at anytime, dragging you against your will, kicking and screaming — to places you don’t wanna go.
Your ability to focus and concentrate comes down to how successful you are at taming, controlling, and eventually fully harnessing the incessant push and pull of your so called “wild horse” senses.
Our ability to cultivate meaningful relationships, problem solve effectively, reach personal goals, achieve any kind of success, and innovate for a better tomorrow are all directly linked with our ability to focus our attention.
Thankfully, there is an ever-green, time-tested, bulletproof way to re-train and re-focus the mind that works for everybody. It’s called meditation.
Meditation Doubles The Salary Of Your Brain’s Gatekeeper
In much the same way that a river dam ensures the perfect amount of water is always available to downstream households, agriculture, and industry — meditation optimizes the flow of sensory information (remember the 5 wild horse senses?) that can reach your gatekeeping/ bottlenecking thalamus.
In turn, without the distraction of having to micromanage the trivial day to day tasks of its’ components, meditation allows your higher function “CEO” cortex to think more deeply, clearly, while problem solving more effectively.
With less stimuli and minimized arousal, meditation makes your brain much more efficient, armed with only the highest and best available information, while ignoring the information responsible for lapses in attention and other undesirable disorders like anxiety, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Meditation Spring Loads Your Brain
Meditation also healthfully grows and thickens your brain’s hippocampus/ frontal gray matter, while increasing its’ ultra-important “crinkles” and “folds” (gyrification), effectively strengthening the “spring-load” of your cerebral cortex.
All of this extra coil catapults you to a world of amazing benefits: more positive and stable emotions, diminished age-related brain wear and tear, better information processing, more clear/accurate long & short term memory formation, better decision making, all while magnifying your focus & attention.
In time, meditation strengthens your ability to confidently tackle any challenge with surgical precision, illuminated by clear, sure-footed steps showing you how to get there. You will have the laser-like mind focus to immerse yourself in whatever you are doing, pouring your all into the task at hand.
Luckily, no matter the height/ steepness of the mountain in your path, meditation will give you the unwavering, ultra-determined focus to reach the summit.
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