We exist on seven levels. These are the Body, Breath, Mind, Memory, Intellect, Ego and Self. We usually club the mind, memory and intellect into one unit and call it the ‘mind’. For many people, ‘studying’ seems to be a function of just this ‘mind’ (the mind-memory-intellect combo). They are quite wrong. Effective studying happens only when all seven levels of our existence are being nourished properly. Just as a good building is not simply the roof, floors and walls – but is a fantastic combination of those and many other elements such as the slope of the land, the climate, and the materials being used – truly effective studying happens only when all seven levels are taken care of. Join the treasure hunt and find a suprise at the end of it.
The body is the gross aspect of a living being. If you don’t have a body, chances are you will not need textbooks or any other tip or tool described how to study. The body needs to be well taken care of. Proper exercise, yoga and a good diet will contribute big time towards great grades. An unhealthy body can greatly hamper your ability to study and perform well. We all breathe. The breath is the only physiological function of the body over which we have some level of control. We can breathe faster or slower. We can hold the breath for a bit. Every emotion that we experience triggers a breathing pattern and conversely, a particular breathing pattern will usually trigger an emotion. Positive emotions are typically associated with long deep breaths and negative emotions trigger short, shallow, sharp breaths. Some sort of control over the breathing helps maintain a sense of calmness in adverse situations, allowing us to take good decisions. This is the essence of the science of Pranayama.
The mind is what we use to experience the universe around us, through the five senses. At any moment, there is a tremendous amount of stimulus being received by our senses. If we were aware of every last bit of it – if everything around us could impact us – then we would go crazy in a few seconds. The mind filters out stuff that is irrelevant and extraneous, making us experience only the things that are important. Have you ever worn a watch after a long time of not wearing anything on your wrist? Did you notice how when you first wore it, you kept feeling it there, but in a few days you barely notice it? That’s the mind kicking in. To begin with it feels like the watch is alien and something new, so it gives you the experience of wearing it. Later, once it has ‘accepted’ the watch as something that is constantly there, it makes you become almost unaware of it.
The mind is incredibly powerful at manifesting things you want. But it is also very innocent and cannot differentiate between a desire and a fear or an aversion. Have you noticed how when you don’t like someone and you don’t want to see them, they keep ‘coincidentally’ meeting you or getting in touch with you? This is your mind at work.
Making an intention clear is a delicate art. For example, instead of saying ‘I shouldn’t fail’, you should say ‘I should get great grades!’ The mind will latch on to the most powerful words – ‘fail’ or ‘great’ in this instance – and manifest that for you. It will actually create situations around you that will make this happen. For the same reason, you should not have many intentions at the same time. This confuses the mind and nothing or very little happens. When you can get the mind to work for you, you become almost unstoppable. The intellect is your decision-making faculty. The intellect judges and discriminates. The memory stores past experiences. The intellect looks into the memory and then judges whether a particular thing should or shouldn’t be done.