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QUIETING THE MIND

Problem Solving and the “Aha Moment”
Most of the time our brain chugs along trying to make sense of our world through our thoughts and feelings, but we occasionally have a flash of insight or a novel idea that is crystal clear, an “aha moment.”  For some people on a string of poor decision making and behavior, it may be the moment of the “wake-up call” that starts the process of change.

In the March/April 2015 Psychology Today magazine, Bruce Grierson writes that it is a myth that it takes a large event, such as a near-death experience, to dramatically change one’s life after a “wake-up call” or “aha moment.”  A researcher named William Miller interviewed 35 people who made sudden changes in their lives and wrote results in his book called Quantum Change.  Many of the people that he interviewed reported doing very mundane things in the moments before their moment of clarity and that the “aha message” seemed to come from an external source rather than being generated from their own minds.

Research shows that our idle brain is more active than a brain engaged in conscious engagement.  When we are resting and not actively trying to solve a problem or “create,” our brains are more likely to produce.  As I have written in other articles on Mindfulness, many large companies have hired meditation trainers to work with their employees with the idea that the investment in training them to have “quiet minds” pays off with more creativity and productivity, as employees using the methods then approach their work with clarity and less clutter.

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