“When you think about colonization, it is the strangest thing you can think about. Because conquering is one thing. You go to another country, you take what’s theirs, you want more, you take the land, you take the resources, you kill the people. That I understand, but colonization… I don’t condone it; I understand. But colonization is strange because you go there, and you don’t just take over. You then force the people to become you. That is such a strange concept.”
South African Comedian, Trevor Noah received a resounding applause for the way he presented his stand-up comedy show on stage. What he successfully conveyed was the concept of colonization. It was not just about taking over a certain region or country, but about forcing the native inhabitants of that region to emulate the attributes and characteristics of the colonizers.
Trevor went on to produce an example connected to his witty yet true line by personifying India and Great Britain.
India: “Which god?”
Great Britain: “God. The one true God.”
India: “There are many gods, my friend. What is the name of your god?”
Great Britain: “There is only one God and his name is God, and you too shall worship him!”
India: “You want me to worship a god, but you don’t want to tell me his name? What are you talking about; there are many gods, okay? There is Shiva, there is Lakshmi, there is Hare Krishna. There are many gods. What is the name of your god?”
Great Britain: “His name is God!”
India: “You don’t know the name of your god?”
Great Britain: “It’s just God.”
India: “Is it like mommy or daddy? You want me to worship your god, but you don’t want to tell me his name, huh? How am I going to pray to him; what do I do? Every morning, I go to wake up, and I pray like, “Oh, dear god, dear god, I was hoping that maybe, god, you could help me… No, no, sorry, not you, other god. No, no, other god. No, no, not… Wrong god, no, god…. Then I wonder why my prayers are not getting answered, ah?
After a brief but tumultuous god-identifying argument, which left the audience in splits, Trevor moves on to conclude the concept of colonization.
Great Britain: “Damn you, we are going to run this country whether you like it or not!”
India: “We are not going to do anything you tell us. You’re a madman.”
Great Britain: “We are going to take it!”
India: “You’re not taking…”
Great Britain: “We’re going…” (mimics gunshot)
India: “She is all yours, take, take… You don’t play nice; take.”
“Don’t be forced to do anything. Be a force to do something.”
~ Adebisi Matthew Adewale
A force can either be driven or pushed. However, some forced pushes are simply not supposed to happen. This is my third talk about meditation, and in this discussion, I would like to bring forth the concept of thinking. For many years, among several people, the practice of meditation has run with the belief that blocking out thoughts is necessary. As thoughts are the enemy here, which they are not.
You are literally forcing yourself not to think; it’s like subjecting the mind to a kind of abuse. Much like Trevor’s explanation of the concept of colonization, we are most likely subjecting ourselves to the same effect.
To put it simply, we are allowing the nature of blankness to colonize our minds while force-blocking any thoughts that could crowd the mind. To do so means to stop the natural flow of what the mind was meant for in the first place – to think.
The art of thinking is the greatest art of all, for ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ The thinker knows he is today where his thoughts have taken him and that he is building his future by the quality of the thoughts he thinks.
Imagine a stage full of actors playing their respective roles. What if the stage never existed? Where would the actors play their parts? Such is the role of the mind. It is the stage while the thoughts are the actors.
Therefore, meditation is an act of deep reflection and introspection of who and what you are as an individual. This should not be done without the intrusion of thoughts. Your role during meditation is not to stop yourself from thinking, it is to allow your thoughts to naturally flow through your mind. The only aspect you need to be mindful of is to make sure your thoughts do not influence you. You must not let your thoughts impact you in any way.
But how can you not let your thoughts affect you? Is it possible to just let them pass through without feeling its impact? There was a study published in 2020, that spoke about the transition of thoughts in the mind. The results of the study suggested that a person can typically think of more than 6,000 thoughts per day. If thoughts can travel at this quantifiable rate per day, then how can one not get influenced?
You’d be surprised by the way of the mind and its ability to not get affected by thoughts.
“It’s crazy how you can get yourself in a mess sometimes and not even be able to think about it with any sense and yet not be able to think about anything else.”
Thoughts can range from whether or not you unplugged your phone charger before leaving home, to missing a loved one who’s been away for a long time. Thoughts can range from sadness to joy, humor, contemplation, and so much more. So, what is the secret to not letting your thoughts affect you, and letting them pass through during meditation?
The answer is simple yet profound and doable, that is, if you are coached the right way. The secret to meditating the right way is by first working on your SiQ or Spiritual Quotient level. Your Spiritual Quotient refers to your natural way of being and not forcing any process. It’s connected to improving your SiQ levels and will teach you the way to thinking without letting your thoughts drive your emotions, and hence your actions.
This is how I have helped several leaders practice meditation by first coaching them to improve their SiQ levels. I assess their FIT score from time to time to analyze their progress, and the results they’ve seen are amazing.
That is why, SiQ plays an important role in the process of meditation and defining what you are as a leader and an individual.
It is as the legendary poet Emily Dickinson once wrote:
The Brain is Wider than the Sky
The Brain — is wider than the Sky —
For — put them side by side —
The one the other will contain
With ease — and You — beside —
The Brain is deeper than the sea —
For — hold them — Blue to Blue —
The one the other will absorb —
As Sponges — Buckets — do …