MindFitness© Training and The Process©
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Mindfitness?
- How does Neurofeedback (NFB) fit in?
- Does the Mindfitness concept have deeper implications?
- What is The Process Project?
- How did this way of learning develop?
- Can The MindFitness Training be adapted for different types of learners?
- Does IMF have a political view point?
- Why a not-for-profit foundation?
1. What is MindFitness®?
MindFitness is a term we coined and copyrighted in order to differentiate ourselves from many other often excellent programs which may or may not share our ways of working. MindFitness Training is a process of understanding, applying and integrating those principles which increase insight, allow mind/body to make a leap, to transform itself and to unfold potential within. The analogy to body fitness is inescapable. The ability to respond to challenges. The ability to sustain an effort. The ability to respond for the appropriate reason, in the appropriate manner, for the appropriate amount of time. The ability to recover. The ability to use resources skillfully. The ability to learn, to explore, to understand pleasure and pain. A fit mind leads to enhanced performance and quality of life.
The Process refers to a lifelong heuristic learning/teaching process that continuously improves the ‘fitness’ of the mind, and is dedicated to assisting ordinary as well as gifted people in the achievement of profound attention and extremely advanced stress management capacities.
MindFitness implies that by applying ourselves we can bring about beneficial changes for ourselves and others. Fitness carries with it the notion that we can meet the challenges of life better by being more fit. There is a sense of process about it, a feeling that we can start from where we are at and take one step, then another, and soon find ourselves immersed in an odyssey, our own true story – the story that unfolds who we really are!
When it comes to performance enhancement we are, in the main, dealing with people who are already rather functional. In fact, if you look at the kind of people who have the energy, curiosity, resources etc. to seek out this type of training, you might say that they (you) are already more functional than most. They (you) already know to some degree how your particular mind works. Our intention is to assist in the achievement of the next level (dimension) of functionality.
MindFitness implies learning and applying the art and science of bringing about conditions which lead to improved quality of both conscious and unconscious processes for longer periods of time. Part of the challenge is improving the capability to recognize when the consciousness is deteriorating, and to reverse that trend at the earliest moment.
Surely, psychological health is key to physical health. That’s one of the reasons we like the term MindFitness. Some think of mind as basically brain; but we use a classic, and we believe more comprehensive, definition: “All of the body including the brain is contained in the mind, but not all of the mind is contained in the body.” If the mind is right, the body is far more likely to be at least relatively right. If the mind is right, one will make the most of what one has, whatever that may be. There are countless inspiring examples of this such as Stephen Hawking, Christopher Reeve, Helen Keller, FD Roosevelt etc.
Conversely, physical health obviously tends to contribute to psychological health; however, as we all know, the mind can be quite unhealthy even when the body is healthy. Nonetheless, a fundamental principle of MindFitness is that actions taken to improve physical health are among the easiest and least costly strategies for enhancing MindFitness and the overall quality of life.
2. How does Neurofeedback (NFB) fit in?
For most of us neurofeedback training can be quite effective in reducing the unhealthy effects of chronic stress. Under long term stressful conditions we tend to think more rigidly, and are more prone to errors. For example, most adults accumulate a sleep debt of over 400 hours per year. This is enough to cause personality change, and make attention more difficult. Neurofeedback is an extraordinarily efficient way to reduce the maladaptive stress response and allow ourselves to reduce errors and be more creative.
In addition, it is widely believed that there are other NFB benefits which lead to enhanced brain function. We offer NFB as an option which can enhance accelerated, heuristic learning. The books MindFitness Training: The Process and Neurofeedback, Symphony in the Brain, Quantitative EEG and Neurofeedback, Mindfitness Training programs, our BCIA EEG Certification seminars, website(s) and a growing body of research and literature provides additional insight into the potential of NFB – brain wave biofeedback.
Clinical NFB applications are a different matter and are addressed in our professional NFB certification programs. If neurofeedback training and the consequent reduction of stress system activity is not successful in resetting an abnormally functioning regulatory system, medications and psychotherapy may be integrated. Drugs, psychotherapy and visualization can act specifically – the drug on the disregulation system – psychotherapy on the specific stressor – visualization to recondition the mind. Approaches such as meditation, yoga and neurofeedback act nonspecifically (generally) on the stress system. Interestingly, many practitioners using neurofeedback report achieving outstanding results without the use or with reduced use of medications. The road to MindFitness is wide and many tools are available.
3. Does the Mindfitness concept have deeper implications?
In my part of the world many people are relatively wealthy. Everybody I’ve ever known (including myself and a long list of spiritual teachers ) would rather be economically comfortable than poor. However, isn’t it obvious that once one has acquired food, clothing and shelter, the next challenge is how to live a meaningful, original life including caring relationships? This requires the development and sustaining of substantial mental and emotional (EQ) intelligence. We have coined the term MindFitness as a way of enhancing those robust qualities of mind (and heart) that bring about a more consistent unfoldment of those special moments of aliveness that we all have had at some time, and for which we all continue to hunger. Those who can achieve this may be called artists of living. Many believe the survival and flowering of our species (and probably many other species as well) depends on how well we MindFitness emerges in direct ratio to self-knowledge. One of the most powerful of all meet the challenge of the crisis in consciousness manifesting in the world today.
MindFitness emerges in a direct ratio to self-knowledge. And the most powerful of all self-knowledge learning strategies is simply watching thought – to increase thought awareness – and that requires a relaxed body and a quiet mind. Of course, everyone is unique; therefore, each of us must discover our own individual process. This is part of the art and science of change.
Change is inevitable, but bringing about healthy change takes focus, work, self-knowledge, self-regulation – MindFitness – a sense of humor. The person who can make little, healthy changes over time (even if they are uncomfortable at first) can usually achieve extraordinary things. That said, there is great emphasis in our work on bringing about change in the present.
MindFitness® is a term I use because it implies that understanding one’s own mind, and improving the way the mind works, has the qualities of a goal, an art, a science and a process. MindFitness implies a clean, energized, flexible, healthy brain. We have dubbed that NeuroFitness®. MindFitness (including NeuroFitness) programs are designed to advance one’s ability to self-regulate and make mental processes clearer and healthier.
I am convinced that the potential for the unfoldment of intelligence in the human being is relatively infinite. The down-to-earth, practical process of unfolding these higher orders of intelligence (including emotional intelligence) is possible for many if not all. I assert that millions of scientific, artistic, educational and spiritual developments worldwide already guarantee that this process of enhancing the quality of consciousness will be the most valuable mission we can undertake in this century. And in the centuries that follow (assuming we survive) the twenty-first century will look like a reasonable beginning – we hope and we pray.
Our dream is that historians will look back from the not too distant future and realize that a true neostasis (a new state), a New Mind has been born. No one expects it to be perfect. There will always be great struggles and problems to be solved. But our vision holds that at last we will have finally made it past this seemingly endless roll of the millennia in which we made fantastic technological breakthroughs, but did little to improve the day to day quality of our consciousness and our relationships with one another. I understand we’ve had 30,000 wars in 5,000 years.
There will be literally unimaginable discoveries in the centuries to come. Futurists predict that we will make more scientific discoveries during the next 100 years than we have in the previous 5,000 years combined. Surely the greatest of these discoveries will nurture the flowering of the art of being more fully human. The Process Project is a small contribution to the unfoldment of the kind of individual and group change which, even at this late hour, can turn back the hands on the much publicized ‘Dooms Day Clock’.
This work is both inspiring and humbling, and we do not presume to know the best way for everyone to get the most out of life. However, there is a growing number of people who are already successfully applying some or all of what we focus on here. The foundation of The Process is clearing the mind so that thought can become as coherent as possible. Coherent thought can lead in some people (if not everyone) to states of deep attention and awareness which can truly be said to go, that is to perceive beyond thought itself. All of this together can explode the creative process. In order to clear the mind (which includes metaphorically and literally the heart) the capacity to relax deeply must be developed.
Therefore, stress management as science and art is one of the most fundamental first steps. From there the ability to solve problems naturally unfolds. The Greek word problema means ‘to be thrown forward,’ and implies that if the right question is asked, one is thrown forward into the solution. The answer to the question is hiding within the question itself, and the solution to the problem lies within the problem itself. So asking the right question and defining the problem(s) is critical to success.
Asking better questions requires intelligence. Intelligence = sensitivity. The Latin Intelligere means ‘to see between the threads finely woven’. Sensitivity implies MindFitness (a clean, clear-headed, balanced system) and the foundation of that is Profound Attention. In order to attend profoundly we come back to the necessity of a high level of stress management and the development of great skill at relaxing, quieting the mind and body.
4. What is The Process Project?
The goal of the Process Project is to carry out research into those principles and strategies which enhance consciousness, performance and quality of life. Turn the results of that research into practical, affordable, easy to understand and apply MindFitness Training opportunities. Make those learning opportunities available to as many as we ourselves.
5. How did this way of learning develop?
The Process Project was not developed according to common market research dogma. For example, the way entrepreneurs normally think about new ventures is to first do market research and find out what the demand is. We asked a different kind of question. We asked what are those principles that must be learned and applied in order to bring about best quality of life? Then, what is the best way to learn them for those who are truly serious about maximizing the opportunities life presents?
So, for us the important questions are: How can we best assist people in achieving greater self-knowledge? How does the mind work? How does a natural man or woman learn to use the powers of his or her own mind to bring about better mental and physical health and enhanced quality of conscious and unconscious processes for him or herself?
6. Can The MindFitness Training be adapted for different types of learners?
It can and must be modified when working with children, those whose education is limited, the ‘X,Y, and Z’ generations, the Baby Boomers, Seniors, the Very Seniors, the successful and those who are struggling, the gifted and the handicapped.
Therefore, the first step for us is research (which has been ongoing for decades). The second is best use of language and the communication capabilities that emerge from living as best we can according to the principles we are teaching.
7. Does IMF have a political view point?
Yes, we think Einstein was right when he said, “The Field is the sole governing agency of the particles.” In this case the field is the electorate. In order to improve the quality of government we must improve the quality of the minds of the electorate. Therefore, from our perspective there is nothing that will benefit and improve the quality of national and international politics more than enhancing the quality of consciousness of individuals, which necessarily includes assisting them in reducing the unhealthy aspects of stress.
8. Why a not-for-profit foundation?
Why not bring the benefits of the principles enfolded in MindFitness Training and The Process to people through a conventional commercial organization?
Through our commercial biofeedback corporation we have been formally offering MindFitness Training for several years (mostly to health care professionals) and informally for many years before that. We feel that commercial organizations are absolutely necessary in order to bring the benefits implied by and enfolded within what we call MindFitness and the Process to as many as we can as efficiently as possible. However, sometimes nonprofit foundations can accomplish things that for profit organizations cannot do nearly as well.
One of the principles underlying our view of consciousness research and life long learning is that it is critically important to create an environment within which we can develop this work as freely as possible from commercial considerations. When we began we realized that the time honored strategy for creating learning programs is to do market research, and figure out what people really want and will pay for. However, our vision was to put all of our focus, energy and resources into developing life long heuristic learning strategies that are as true as possible to the highest orders of learning we can grasp.
In order to stay as faithful as possible to what enhances the ‘fitness’ of minds and actually improves consciousness, we felt it would be more creative to refrain from asking what people want and what they will pay for, and focus instead as wholeheartedly as possible on what actually, practically enhances the quality of conscious, as well as unconscious processes, and reduces the effects of unhealthy conditioning and stress.
We fully respect the free market, for profit system which has produced so much; however, the challenges of our time (perhaps all times) call for some things to actually be beyond price. We are extremely aware that even so, there must be economic order, and that implies often incredibly skillful balancing and wisdom to achieve such order, especially when working in the field of mind. Surely, learning how to understand one’s own mind and heart better is one of those things that must be undertaken, regardless of whether it is popular or comfortable or profitable. Unless, of course, the meaning of profit can be expanded to include the limitless potential of the mind and the heart, including the infinite benefits of that mystery called Love.
“The 20th century was the century of the corporation. The 21st will be the century of the nonprofit foundation. There will be a huge value shift….This is (requires) the discipline of innovation. It means having a clear mission. It means defining what you mean by results. It means the ability and willingness to abandon where you don’t get results. And when you find the real opportunity, the unique opportunity where you can make the greatest difference, zone in on it and reassess and reassess and reassess.” Peter Drucker lecturing to nonprofit management.