If you have been following the meditation trend or have a strong meditation practice, I didn’t share anything in my previous post that you don’t already know. In this post, I hope I can offer you some information that might be useful.

Part of my experimentation with different meditation practices led me down a path of discovery to understand the long-term benefits of meditation on the brain. I’ve always been obsessed with how the mind works and ways I could elevate my thinking.

Shortly after I returned from my 6 month trip around the world & mini-silent meditation retreat, I was invited to go on another meditation retreat hosted by a former monk & currently a Hindu priest, Dandapani Vedic Odyssey. D and I were introduced by a mutual friend whom I adore (thanks Robert Marchetti!). D is one of those guys who is relatable, down to earth, humble, funny and simply brilliant!

Dandapani’s approach to meditation was unique. He eases you into meditation by explaining his philosophy of having a meeting with your energy and meditating with a purpose. Very practical. His teachings start with learning how to concentrate, assuming you already understand how your mind works. Before you can meditate you must learn how to concentrate. What really struck me was the simplicity of this idea and how we, the human race, desperately need to learn how to concentrate.

Were you taught how to concentrate in school? Were you taught how to think? Were you taught how to use your mind so that it serves you?

I could easily go off on a tangent about how messed up our education system is or the state of our sick-care, oops—health care system is. But I won’t. I am CONCENTRATING on the topic at hand.

Let’s recap:

1. Understand the mind
2. Learn how to concentrate
3. Meditate

This wasn’t a normal retreat. I quickly realized this retreat was about developing life skills. My roommate commented at the end of Day 1 she felt she could leave that day completely satisfied with the return on her investment. We had 10 more days to go. Day 1 was THAT good.

How can you meditate without understanding how the mind works?

That was D’s question to the group.

His point was simple. Your mind is the most powerful machine in the world. It is unique to you. But there’s no manual for the mind. You must understand how the mind works, learn how to control and direct it. Before we learn how to concentrate, we need to learn about the mind. These are the fundamentals you must master before you get to meditate.

The mind is broken up into 3 areas: conscious, subconscious and superconscious.

Conscious is every day thinking or instinctive, the subconscious is intellectual and the superconscious is intuitive. The superconscious is where we want to operate from, it’s your intuition. The moment you are thinking of someone and they call you. The gut feeling that never steers you wrong, but when you don’t listen to it or you try to rationalize (subconscious) and act logically because you can’t figure out how to “sell” what your intuition is telling you, “just because” doesn’t always fly in business or in life. When you go against your gut and the stakes are high there’s a moment when you realize you made the wrong, albeit logical, choice as you see the outcome play out. The sinking feeling in your stomach confirms you should have followed that little voice. That’s the superconscious.

I won’t do these teachings justice in one post. People dedicate their lives to studying these concepts for our benefit. Dandapani is one of those people.

Now that you have a general understanding of the mind you’ll become aware of your thinking and what area of the mind you are operating from. The benefits I’ve experienced from these teachings are impossible to quantify. I’ve always been very intuitive, so much so my friends joke that I’m part witch.

The link between the mind and meditation is simple.

Cultivate an optimal environment for your mind to thrive. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. You can actually forget about everything you just read and start a meditation practice right this second. Don’t be surprised when you start thinking differently or you can’t quite explain why you made a certain decision. Start with 3-5 minutes. Build from there.

Simply put, meditation is high octane fuel for your mind so you can direct it at will. Your very own superpower.