According to Dr Joe Dispenza, we are a record of our past. Our past creates emotions, and it turns into a habit. Our mind is not able to distinguish between an actual event and thought. It biochemically reacts in the same way.
Mastering our mind is perhaps the most difficult of tasks. Our mind controls our body, else how could Wim Hof run naked on Mount Everest at -20 degrees, or be in ice water for 2 hours.
From what I have read (admittedly, not practiced extensively), the first step towards conquering the mind is awareness or alertness or consciousness. The moment our consciousness and thoughts create a gap, we become the director of our film called life. With awareness, we can alter life-changing habits, and form new neural connections. That’s what yogis do!
Constant awareness requires focus, and unmetered concentration. Of course, techniques like meditation and mindfulness help in strengthening awareness. Sometimes, having an expert teacher also helps us become more aware and focussed. Nowadays, of course, there are many apps such as Calm that help you concentrate and get out of a cluttered distracted mind.
Mostly, mind looks for short term gratification and ignores long term consequences. In short, we want instant fix of dopamine, which is a quick fix feel-good brain chemical. This can come from a fag of cigarette, alcohol, sex, that sugar-laden ice cream, video game, etc. Of course, dopamine releasing activities such as physical workout is not bad for us.
The way we have programmed ourselves is to be slaves of our chemical craving brain, the children of epicurean selves. Mind is a great slave to chemical fixes, and hard to capture. Constant awareness practice can help us go beyond these cravings.
In case you want to know more about mental awareness, leave a comment below and I will go into greater details.