This summer is meaningful for me, for it gives me the free time to attempt an experiment that is as far as i’m aware, unattempted. It’s going to be an all-around transformation of my mind, in almost every capacity that i can think to further develop. I have known a few cases of people attempting one or two of these practices at once, but i’m hoping that this will be a case where all practices are mutually contributory to the goal of transforming my mind. This is obviously going to be statistically invalid to make any broad conclusions, but i’m hoping for it to provide the conceptual framework from which to go about expanding the study to more individuals who are willing to attempt it.
The actual study will be a systematic expansion/development of 9 general (and certainly interrelated) categories of aspects or capacities of the mind. Most of the results will be qualitative rather than quantitative, but i do intend to see if i can increase my IQ over the given period to have some quantitative measure of improvement (I’m starting this experiment with IQ scores from two seemingly accurate facebook applications — 138 and 148 — the second said to be more accurate for those with IQs over 110.).
First, what are the aspects of mind i intend to develop?
1.) Visuospatial abilities; capacity for visualization; visual memory and reasoning
2.) Regulation of emotions; (discursive) thought-suppression; concentration; absorption in single-pointedness of mind; mindfulness; clarity of mind
4.) Processing speed; ability to handle multiple things at once; problem-solving ability
5.) Speed and comprehension in reading
6.) Capacities for learning, acquiring new knowledge, grasping new concepts, and memorization
7.) Ethos; morality; compassion; loving-kindness
8.) Mind-Body connection
9.) Knowledge of/mastery over the mind in general
Now certainly interdependence of these aspects of mind is clear: Knowledge & mastery over the mind is related to visuospatial abilities, willpower, meditative abilities, ethics, and essentially everything on this list; reading speed and problem-solving speed seem to be related; and there are many others. But i find this somewhat arbitrary division of the qualities and functions of the mind to be helpful to me in categorizing practices to develop the mind as a whole, though some clarification on a few of these points might be helpful to you the reader. First, willpower is a topic i address in an earlier post of mine, where i explain it in a bit more depth: https://ignoranceandwisdom.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/strengthening-the-will/. Number 7 refers essentially to the nature of interacting with others in general. And number 8 refers to the mind’s ability to accurately interpret physical stimuli, and control the sensation and movement of the body.
So now for the practices and sub-experiments that i’ll be doing…
Tibetan Buddhist Practices:
– Mahamudra meditation (which i explain in my post: https://ignoranceandwisdom.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/the-mind-and-consciousness/) to develop mental aspects 2 and 9
-Diety Yoga visualization practice to develop 1 and 9
-Dream Yoga (maintaining awareness and mental control even when sleeping) to develop 1, 3, 8, and 9
-Meditations on compassion, loving-kindness, and each of the six perfections — generosity, ethics, patience, perseverance/diligence, meditative concentration, and wisdom awareness (realization and perception of the nature of reality) — to develop 2, 7, and 9
– Fasting to develop 3 and 9
– Learning speed reading to develop 3, 4, and primarily 5
– Playing the real-time strategy computer game Starcraft II to develop number 4
– Physical practices (such as yoga, tai chi, and 100,000 prostrations) to develop 2, 3, and especially 8
– Internal regulatory practices like pranayama, chi meditation, and body-scanning in conjunction with anatomical data to develop 2 and 8
– Learning endeavors to develop number 6
This last practice, which i call “learning endeavors,” is extremely important in and of itself. Perhaps as important as the rest of all the practices combined. This was my original intent for practice, but it seemed lacking in developing other aspects of mind, so i looked at other ways i could benefit my mind. This practice will entail the immersion in certain topics to attempt to master them in very short periods of time–testing the limits of mind perhaps more than anything else. For instance, i will attempt to master calculus in a very short period of time. More significantly though, will be my experiments in the acquisition of language. I will be attempting to finish mastering French, Spanish, and Arabic, but i will seek to become conversational in about 33 other languages, studying one language each day. This process of learning i will be recording step-by-step to keep people updated, and to give a solid picture of how one can go about learning new languages, or any subject in general.
What do I hope to get out of all this? Clearly this will be an absurd amount of work for me, so what is the point of doing it? First, i will learn a great deal, especially about myself; I will ultimately find myself ending up a better person than i am now as i’m beginning. But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, i hope to pave the way for new experiments like this which demonstrate the mind’s ability to grow substantially, enough that it can effectively transform itself. In essence, i’ll be seeking to add to the research supporting the thesis i pose in my essay on the psychology of the enlightened mind: https://ignoranceandwisdom.wordpress.com/2011/05/25/the-psychology-of-the-enlightened-mind/. Why do i care so much to push myself like this, to grow? Why do i care to do such demanding research? The answer is simply that it’s how i find meaning in my life (see: https://ignoranceandwisdom.wordpress.com/2011/05/23/seed-of-spiritual-revolution/). I sincerely hope that my endeavors prove fruitfully beneficial to you and all other sentient beings.