- Describe your experience. Did you find it beneficial? Difficult? Why or why not? Would you recommend this to others? Why or why not?
I enjoyed this loving-kindness exercise. I love love and always say that I am a love cheerleader. I started this exercise with thoughts of my dad, knowing how he prays for us and gives to my sisters and me anything he can so openly and supportively. I always pray that I can be that giving and open throughout my life. I know that for this he expects so little in return and I know that is what being a parent is and it is because of him that I understand that. I have always been and extremely giving person and it is because I learned that lesson from my father. After that I began to focus on myself and allowing that love to radiate through me, so much so I felt quite overwhelmed with love and support. It was beautiful. As I begin to take that same love and support and send it to those I feel that need it, I realize that I have some many people whom I would like to help that it became really easy to imagine where to send the love in my heart to. The challenge with this exercise was taking into my heart the hurt of my loved ones and sending it back out as love. Though I believe in this practice, when it was instructed I felt the flow shift when I was asked to do it. I didn’t know if my heart could handle the challenges with some of my family members and the pain and suffering of so many women and children in the world. I just took a really deep breath and continued to send this loving support out into the world. I will continue to the loving-kindness exercise for the rest of the week and see what happens. I would recommend this exercise to others especially those around me who get stuck in their “why do bad things always happen to me” cycle of thinking.
- What is the concept of "mental workout"? What does the research indicate are the proven benefits of a mental workout? How can you implement mental workouts to foster your psychological health?
The concept of the mental workout is described by Dacher in two phases: one is the loving-kindness exercise and the second is the subtle mind exercises. He instructs us to work with the loving-kindness exercises in order to get beyond our self-centered thinking and elevate our psychospiritual self. He discusses how loving-kindness attracts loving-kindness, which I think is what everyone really wants to have in their lives. He then talks about how we can focus next on the subtle mind, which reminds me of a quote I see all the time when I read Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. It states, “Yogah-cittavrtti-nirodhah” which means, “Yoga is the cessation of the mind’s fluctuations.” The goal is to eliminate the busyness of the mind and attachment to all of the consistent flow of thoughts, feelings and images to allow us to find a deeper level of consciousness.
Research shows that the mental Olympians who have mastered these techniques have a higher level of gamma wave activity in the brain. It also shows a mental fortitude that is not subject to mind fluctuations or mental distress and the expansions of health and healing capabilities.
I think the best way to implement these mental workouts is to practice first the loving-kindness exercises then once that becomes easier move towards working on the subtle mind activities. My goal is to try to practice these exercises in the morning and evening. Since I am a high-energy person, I know that doing them after some physical exercises in the evening will work best for me.