Matters of the Mind
A wise man once said - control your mind or else your mind will control you. A pseudo-intellectual might go till the end to defend the belief that in order to understand a human brain it is very necessary to read the age-old scriptures that have spoken about them.
However, a more logical one will accept the fact that in today’s fast-paced life, time rests in the hands of either a retired person who has earned enough to survive the rest of the years or a complete ascetic.
So, does that mean a normal human being, reeling under the daily grindings of life, does not get a chance to read about how to improve understanding of the brain? Definitely not. Ravi Singh’s book titled ‘Mind The Final Frontier’ talks about the ancient questions of what is ‘mind’, ‘self’ and ‘consciousness’.
One might argue that he has used far too fewer pages to describe such abstract concepts and thus reach the conclusion that he has not done justice to the topic. However, what Singh has done is a simplification for readers who have not more time than a bureaucrat.
Ravi Singh, an engineer turned consultant turned civil servant, presently an IRS officer, has divided the book into three parts. The first part forms a framework of the mind based on a few assumptions. In the second part, Singh delves into a speculative realm to answer questions related to nature of reality, God, love, etc.
The third part is the most interesting part. Here he comes out of the speculative realm and talks of life through a more practical lens. He discusses common problems like relationship and job satisfaction.
The book talks of serious questions about life but Singh’s way of tackling them and catering to the same in a simpler form for his readers shows how extensive his study and understanding has been.
The flow of the book also throws a fact in front of a reader, i.e. Singh has already done the extensive homework for his readers and thus can easily amalgamate scriptures and serve up just the common factors from them.
Claiming to have read about Hinduism, Buddhism and the like, Singh talks of all religions to have the same goal but carefully plants a relatively new form of attaining ‘self’.
Information Processing Approach (IPA), a process that he uses to answer difficult questions, is relatively easier to grasp. Here, Singh says that there are processors inside our brain. Some are high-level ones which are new while the low-level ones are the old ones.
While the low-level processors are the ones born out of experiences mainly derived from our ancestors, the relatively newer processors are the ones borne out of our experiences. Based on the output results of these processors, Singh discusses how our mind reacts to situations and why.
Taking it a step further, he also says how to control the way our mind functions.
Mainly through daily meditation practices and simple breathing exercises, Singh teaches his readers how to come out of anger, fear and anxiety.
It is interesting how the third part of the book talks about a person’s common problems and even more intriguing is to read how we can control or regulate the happenings around us. Singh says that while we always blame external forces of affecting our lives, the entire thing is internal, more so inside the brain of which we are the masters.
It is an enlightening book with supportive illustrations and graphs by Singh to explain or support his claims. The book, however, comes as a dampener for ones who are thirsty for more but is a good read for those who are short of time and would look for easy solutions.
However, it falls little short of becoming a marvel as a little more concentration on the editing part would have made it just perfect.
But overall, the book takes its readers through a momentous journey of self-discovery leaving an unclogged craving for more and more as the readers seek to delve deep within and introspect.
Ravi Singh has a keen interest in philosophy. He has worked as a consultant with EY and KPMG bfore joining the civil services. A sports enthusiast, Singh also practices the Japanese martial art, Aikido.