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Do Other People’s Opinions Bother You?

Do Other People’s Opinions Bother You?

Human life is like a pendulum. It is dangling and oscillating between positive and negative, good and bad, right and wrong, the true and the false, highs and lows, thick and thin, and a whole heap of other dualities. All that is subjective, however. It cannot affect you unless you let it. Let me narrate a little story to you:

There was a monk once. For years he practiced meditation, contemplation and forbearance, yet he could not gain enlightenment. He still felt troubled by the world around him, especially when people failed to see his saintliness or disagreed with him what he thought was the truth. He still felt bad when people mistreated him, and, good, when he was treated well. He wanted to rise above, remain indifferent to such worldly offerings but he could not.

One day he approached his guru and confessed his inner turmoil and restlessness. His master listened patiently and gave him a key and directions to a certain room.

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“Go and meditate there for three days unmoving. Leave the door open and maintain silence. The truth will dawn on you,” the master instructed.

He obeyed his guru and went to the place to meditate. Much to his dismay, it was in a market, next to a busy hallway, in the center of a crowded city. He was skeptical about meditating in a noisy place for inner quietude. Nevertheless, he proceeded. As soon as he unlocked the door, a nauseating stench greeted him. He soon realized that there was a toilet just above the room. For a moment he felt crossed with his guru. Then again, the guru must have a reason he thought.

The room was unclean, without any windows, and looked like an abandoned shop. There was seepage on the walls and the ground was somewhat wet. The waste pipe above was leaking. He assumed lotus position and sat down to meditate. Every so often, he could hear the sound of flushing toilet. He understood that he was meditating directly below a public toilet. His restlessness only built up more.

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A million worries engulfed him. He was concerned what if the pipe above him burst, what all people, who were passing by, talked about him, how would he know that seventy-two hours had passed, what if he fainted from the stench, what if he someone came and interrupted his meditation mid-way and so on.

On the third day, while he was engrossed in such thoughts, the plumbing above him burst and fecal matter fell on his head. Before he could determine his next step, two men walked by.

“Who is this man?” one asked in disgust seeing the monk smeared in excreta.

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“God knows! Some claim he is a holy man while many say he is full of crap.”

The monk was enlightened as soon as he heard that. He understood that the whole world can only have one of the two opinions about him and everyone is bound to have some opinion. In essence, none of the opinions actually matter unless you let them. They cannot affect you or bother you, unless you accept them. They cannot multiply unless you respond to them. Such opinions are not eternal unless you react towards them. They hold no intrinsic meaning unless you contemplate on them. They cannot change you unless you cultivate them.

Everyone who knows you is going to have an opinion about you. Many who have no clue about you are likely to have an even stronger opinion about you. Those who meet you form what they feel based on their experience. And many who have never met you, form theirs based on others’. Such is the nature of this material world. The biggest democracies, religions, sects, cults run on this principle. Every one has the right to have an opinion. And you have the right to accept, reject, or ignore it. It is your choice that affects your state of happiness.

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If you start listening to yourself, when your inner voice finds an audience in you, the outer ones matter less and less. When, how you are seen by others stops bothering you, a blanket of peace drapes, almost shields, you. And the one who is peaceful is happy indeed. Happiness is the outcome of your actions, physical or mental.

When others try to unload their negativity and opinions onto you, at that moment, you have a choice, an option to reject, to discard, to let go. If you can let go, you will remain peaceful; your state of bliss will remain unaltered. Know when, what, and where to keep versus let go. Such knowledge comes with practice, with awareness. It is about attitude and outlook.

Go on! be yourself, don’t let circumstances or people dictate the way you are supposed to feel about yourself.

(Photo credit: A Guy in a Suit via Shutterstock)

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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