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Prune your thoughts and free your mind

By 01/01/2022June 7th, 20232,386 Comments
Prune your thoughts and free your mind
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The image of Mr. Miyagi meticulously pruning his bonsai trees perfectly encapsulates the essence of pruning — removing excess parts of a plant to aid its growth and enhance its aesthetic appeal. Recently, I purchased a rather neglected plant and spent days pruning it, not for horticultural reasons, but to simulate an idea for a company’s marketing strategy in London. However, as I delved deeper into the delicate art of pruning, I found myself engrossed in its metaphorical implications for understanding my thoughts and existence.

I started by pruning my mind. Our minds are noisy, often teeming with thoughts that, if left unchecked, clutter our mental space and impair our focus. Our mind, while an immensely powerful processor, can become a wild beast if not properly tamed.

Meditation is indeed an effective way to quieten the noise, but I pondered if there might be a way to not just reduce, but also maintain a reduced level of mental noise. Could we apply Mr. Miyagi’s method of pruning to our thoughts, removing the clutter to foster mental growth? Upon reflection, I decided to give it a try.

I employed the technique of cognitive defusion, a process that involves observing your thoughts instead of looking through them. This shift in perspective allows us to identify negative thoughts and disrupt cycles of harmful emotions. Like pruning a plant, we can selectively remove thoughts that do not benefit us or contribute to our mental wellbeing.

With our minds teeming with all kinds of thoughts, it is vital to intercept and discern which thoughts are worth our attention and which merely pollute our minds. We need to identify what we value and direct our thoughts accordingly, pruning away the rest, much like excess branches and leaves of an unkempt bonsai tree.

You could find yourself vexed by strangers’ opinions online, other drivers’ antics on the road, unpleasant remarks by others, or the inconvenience of waiting in a queue. However, most of these thoughts merely clutter your mind, impeding more important thoughts and values. It’s crucial to question if these issues genuinely matter and whether they are worth your emotional investment.

When faced with such situations, we usually react emotionally, without considering whether these issues deserve our time and effort. Instead of attempting to suppress these emotions, we can train our minds to react differently to them. This approach requires self-awareness of your values and the ability to intercept your thoughts in a timely manner.

Take, for example, a situation where you give way to another driver, but they fail to acknowledge your kind gesture. Does this call for a reaction? Must you express your indignation at their lack of appreciation? Did you yield to them expecting appreciation, or did you do so because it was the right thing to do?

Getting angry isn’t inherently wrong. Sometimes, anger is a necessary catalyst for action. However, it’s essential not to let it control your reactions. Your responses should be congruous with your feelings of anger, rational and proportional. While expressing your displeasure might seem appropriate, ask yourself, is it necessary?

Confronting and questioning your thoughts before making emotion-driven decisions can make a world of difference. It’s a challenging process, requiring time, patience, self-awareness, and self-control, but mastering it can revolutionize the way you react to situations without overthinking.

You can also apply the pruning method to increase efficiency in managing your tasks. We often amalgamate numerous small tasks into a daunting, insurmountable one, leading to stress and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. By pruning unnecessary and less important tasks, we can identify core tasks requiring immediate attention and manage them effectively.

By pruning your thoughts, much like pruning a plant, you can declutter your mind and enhance your mental wellbeing. The process may be intricate and time-consuming, but the outcome is certainly worth the effort.

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