‘Minding the Mind’ by Dr. Mehret

Issues of the mind are issues for us all.

Issues of the mind are issues for us all. We all go about our days’ work, young or old, male or female; making decisions, interacting, acting and influencing others, assuming we are using our mind. But are we?

Dr Mehret Debebe, a Board Certified Consultant Psychiatrist and author of ‘yeteqolefebet qulf’ meaning ‘the locked in key’ joined a room full of professionals and eager listeners to awaken us to the one critical key resource that we have suppressed and locked in. Our mind remains neglected, poorly understood and ineffectively used argued Dr. Mehret.  ‘Minding the Mind’ depends on asking and answering critical questions to open our inner eyes.

Minding the mind is about preventing ourselves from abusing the mind, but rather to look within and explore and understand what the mind is really all about. The mind is more than just the brain; it’s the last frontier to be conquered. From the time we are born till our last breath on earth, we use our mind for all purposes explained Dr. Mehret.

The mind is our most valued asset, but we rarely recognize its worth. For instance, we have the Mind Vs Diamond Dilemma. Governments invest heavily in funding wars over diamonds instead of investing in the minds, in human capital.   Not only do we need to value our mind, but we need to market it, appreciate it and marvel with its worth, because ultimately our mind and our body is one. What affects the mind affects the body and vice versa.

‘Minding the Mind’ is about the understanding of our self, how we relate to one another, how we live in our environment and is lastly about being idea conscious. Dr. Mehret further explained that the mind has seven fundamental functions.

  1. Attitude: The mind has the function of determining our attitude, which is a tendency to respond positively or negatively towards a certain idea, object, person or action. Our attitude which is not inborn determines where we go and how people respond to us.
  2. 2. Motivation: Our mind has its own drive that makes us act, that motivates us. It is the reason underlying our behavior. Motivation elicits, controls, and sustains certain goals and activities.
  3. 3. Imagination: As youngsters we have wild imaginations, but we lose this key function as we grow older. Imagination is about getting an idea and turning it into a vivid image.
  4. 4. Creativity: Everything we need is in the environment. Creativity means pulling what is in the environment to produce what we have imagined. It is the critical process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile.
  5. 5. Reason: Many of the conflicts in our world today are not over resources, but rather over lack of reason. We are all created as reasonable, logical beings but somehow in the trajectory of our lives we lose reason; we lose our ability to self-consciously change beliefs, attitudes, traditions and institutions.
  6. 6. Language: Words we use to write is not just a means of expressions, it is a creative process. Every idea is encoded and held in words. It is through language and the use of words that minds communicate and cultures communicate. If language is limited, our mind is limited.
  7. 7. Knowledge/ Wisdom: knowledge is internalized information. It is not the book but what comes out of the book.

When we ask the key question-how? How can we change the four critical roles of the self, environment, relationship and ideas; we need to resort discipline. Through asking and listening, reading and writing, planning and implementing, praying and fasting, discussion and debating we can change and really understand our mind. How we mind our mind depends on how we practice discipline underscored Dr. Mehret. The chief discipline we need to parade however is ‘thought’.  The act of thinking has both process and product. In thinking there must be an idea and fruitful interaction.

The cusp of Dr. Mehrets’ session is the importance of ‘thinking’. It is not about thinking outside the box or inside the box, the highest form of thinking says Dr. Debebe is to think about the box and to think without the box. It is as this point that we understand our mind, we value our mind and see our mind changing.

Dr. Mehret wrapped up this delightful evening with a famous poem titled ‘Where the mind is without fear’ by Rabindranath Tagore.

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”

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