Monday, August 10, 2009

Facing Uncertainties (Part 3) - Understanding the Power of Your Mind

Whatever uncertain circumstance you may be facing (now or in the future), one of the most important lessons about yourself is the power of your mind. Having this understanding makes a huge difference in the outcome of your difficult situation. This is especially true for health, or physical, conditions.

Our minds are much more powerful than most of us realize. This can be demonstrated by a concept frequently taught in undergraduate psychology courses where a picture of an iceberg is shown. The tip of the iceberg (or 10% of the iceberg) is seen above the water level. However, most people don't see 90% of the iceberg under water. Just like the iceberg, only a small portion of the mind's capabilities are seen or known to man. As much as I am amazingly discovering more of the mind's capability throughout the years, that unseen 90% of the capabilities of the mind is likely to be way beyond what I know.

In addition to this iceberg analogy, let me provide you with a real life demonstration of the amazing (but little-known) power of the mind. For a long time prior to the 1980's, a number of travelers reported that they witnessed a group of Tibetan monks in a remote part of the world in the Himalayas and how these monks were able to use their minds to achieve feats with their bodies that we would think impossible. They were reported to have the ability to significantly raise their body temperature, so much that they can dry ice-cold wet towels on their bare backs. In addition, they were able to survive subzero temperature up in the mountains wearing barely anything.

For many in the West who've heard about these monks, they skeptically concluded that it's not possible. However, teams of scientists, medical professors, and documentary film crews traveled there in the 80’s to see if the monks can really do what witnesses had reported and if true, to document what they find. Here's what they observed, documented, and verified with scientific instrumentation.

One of the common practices of these monks (as documented by the teams of scientific researchers and film crews) is the practice of soaking towels in buckets of ice-cold water and placing them on their bare backs. With the ice-cold towels on their skin, they would sit quietly and use their minds to raise their body temperature. Within approximately 20 minutes, the wet towels on their backs started steaming. In a little over an hour, the sheets became completely dry.

In some of the coldest nights of the year, the monks have a frequent practice that would kill most of us. As witnessed and documented by the researchers, these monks went up to a high point of the Himalayas not wearing much. Again, they would use their minds to raise their body temperature and stay there overnight in sub-zero temperature. They did not even quiver while the team of researchers and film crew were all bundled up with layers of coats and blankets trying to survive the freezing temperature and prevent frost-bite. In the morning, the monks nonchalantly stood up and walked back down the mountain (while the struggling team of Westerners were finally relieved.)

To ascertain that the monks temperature raising abilities are real, the scientists connected measuring equipment, for gauging body temperature, to the monks while the monks performed their mental practices. Sure enough, the equipment showed significant increase in body temperature.

The monks’ remarkable abilities to raise their body temperature seem impossible because it is against common “logic” or against anything we previously knew in the natural world. What these monks can do with their minds is part of the 90% of the unknown part of the iceberg (from my previous analogy.) I emphasize the words “small part” of the iceberg, because we and our minds probably have many many more untapped capabilities (in addition to the temperature raising abilities demonstrated by the monks.)

The first step in harnessing this potential power of you mind is KNOWING how powerful it is, and knowing that it’s more powerful than you previously imagined. I brought up the example of the Tibetan monks to demonstrate the point that we must be open to know that our minds can go beyond the limits that we previously knew.

In part 4 of this series, I will teach you a simple practice, SpirFit walking, to harness more of the power of your mind.  To find part 4, go to:

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Shu Chan 陳樹中


  1. Perception is reality. That's one of my favorite quotes. Of course, figuring out how to harness our mind is the hardest part.

  2. Yes, and perception can influence reality. Harnessing the power of the mind may not be as hard as we think. It requires patience and diligence.

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