5 Steps to Train Your Brain

5 Steps to Train Your Brain

Last update: 26 February, 2016

Lately I stopped to think about how I could improve my intellectual abilities, looking to be much more flexible and faster when it comes to reasoning. Sometimes I ask myself the big question Am I using my brain properly? Or could it be true that I’m slow when it comes to reasoning?

After much investigation and research I realized that even the most developed geniuses sometimes are in the same situation. Today I would like to bring you the example of Steve Jobs, the creative genius who also felt the need to further exercise and operate his brain.

In one of his interviews, Jobs recounted the effects of meditation to his biographer Walter Isaacson as follows:

“If you sit down and you just watch yourself you will see how restless your mind is. When you try to calm it, the situation will only get worse. If after a while you can do it, other finer things will open up to you. Your intuition will become sharper, your vision will be clearer and you will be aware of yourself in time, at that particular moment, here and now. Your thoughts will become slower, your consciousness will expand and you will see much more than what you saw before. “

Of all the types of meditation we can use, mindfulness meditation was the one chosen and used by Jobs. In one of his last interviews, Jobs shared with Isaacson that for several years he practiced this meditation with the following 5 steps:

Step 1: Find your posture

Positioning yourself in the lotus position in your preferred location, relaxed, comfortable and in silence. To prevent back problems by stress, you can sit on a pillow. And it starts by breathing deeply…

lotus position

Step 2: Observe the mind

Keep your eyes closed and listen to the thoughts that come to your mind. These are part of what we call “monkey mind”. Don’t worry because these do not allow you to fully concentrate. Focus for now only on observing how your mind goes from one thought to another and repeat this exercise five minutes a day for a week.

“Some are willing to anything but live here and now.”

-John Lennon-

Step 3: Concentrate

Concentrate on what they call “ox mind,” the part of your mind that thinks calmly and slowly, by focusing on the world around it. It only aims to observe, listen and feel, without judging or understanding the meaning. Ox mind allows you to be quiet, patient and thorough at work.

Step 4: Visualize

Beginning to be aware of your “ox mind” will allow you to ask yourself to go past the “monkey mind” state. As an example, we can look at Jeffrey James, who used the following technique which helped him with this exercise: he imagined an ox calmly going one way while the monkey fell asleep.

Don’t worry if the monkey occasionally begins to “act up.” It is a normal part of the process and will gradually disappear, allowing you to focus more on in the state of the “ox mind.


Step 5: Focus on the breath

As you start calming your monkey mind, focus on your ox mind by helping to steer your breath to go more slowly. Your senses will be sharpened and you will connect with your environment and feelings more. If you open your eyes you will notice that the world around you seems different and possibly strange to you. You’re beginning to live in the “here and now” in a form that is true with your essence.

Developing a meditation practice takes time. But stick with it and you will gradually increase your sense of wellbeing and will begin to not even notice the time going by as you meditate. And remember, mindfulness meditation allows you to:

  • Ease stress. It will allow you to not perceive great difficulties as major concerns.
  • It helps you overcome and avoid insomnia.
  • You will be able to think and reflect more clearly and appreciate what is happening in your life more.

“The past has fled, what you hope for is absent, but the present is yours.”

-Arab proverb-

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.