Do we treat our minds with the same level of care that we do our bodies? There is no shortage of classes offered to help improve our physical selves. There is no shortage of diet plans and strategies to help improve our physical selves. Yoga classes aim to improve physical well-being by focusing on how to master our breathing to increase relaxation and flexibility. Meditation is about clearing the mind and removing the racing obstacles that hinder clarity. But what about how we think? Where are the classes offered to help improve how we think? College philosophy classes may teach us about how other people have thought, and test us on how well we can remember how the great thinkers thought, and perhaps even task us with assignments to pose arguments using specific perspectives.
So what then after academia? After a time when learning is really intended to help us understand that the most important thing we really need to know is being aware of all that we don’t know. A point we typically tend to miss in our twenties in favor of mistakenly believing we already know it all! Perhaps in college, thinking about how we think wasn’t even a priority. Perhaps thinking about thinking is part of our evolution after academia?
Meditation is great for providing clarity via removing the noise so we can focus deeply on thoughtfully thinking about something. It’s difficult to track progress in this area. There is no scale to hop on, pose that we can either hold or not hold, weight can either lift or not lift, mountain we can either climb or not climb, marathon we can either finish or not finish. In all those examples, improvements can be easily tracked. Times can be noted, journals can be kept, even our clothes and mirrors will provide evidence of progress. But how do we know if we are significantly improving our minds? What is the problem to solve when there is no problem to solve? Learning isn’t a problem, but learning how to think better poses a problem.