The uphill and downhill effort of the mind: fitness needed


One of the most obvious things is the following: running up a hill takes more energy than running over flat ground, and running down a hill needs less energy.

Unfortunately, for our mind, to become angry is like running downhill, to keep motivation is like running flat, and to achieve peace of mind is like running uphill.

This little metaphor explains, in simple terms, what has been discovered by the Buddhist monks during centuries of meditation and modern neuroscience. This may give a simple view on why the world is like this. As soon as something happens that does not allow us to get what we want, we become easily angry (i.e. running downhill: easy and straightforward exercise). As soon as we do not find exciting what we have to do, we become tired and many of us give up (i.e. running flat: requires training). It is rare to find people who react positively to conflicts or express attitudes like acceptance, forgiving and caring (i.e. running uphill: requires absolute fitness).

This comparison can be useful to remember that, whatever is your origin and culture, to get motivation and achieve peace of mind needs training: training of the mind!

Some have been so lucky to be able to achieve peace of mind “on the field”, as they were positively involved in activities that allowed them to experience constantly acceptance, forgiving and caring attitudes. But many of us have lived in the usual environments where the first priority is “to learn to survive”. In this second case, a specific training is needed to get back to a fit mind, in order to become able to run flat for long distances (i.e. to find the right motivation to carry out our activities and to develop sense of purpose) and to become fully trained to run uphill (i.e. to develop an attitude the leads toward well-being).

In the Centered Life Model, the sense of purpose and well-being are achieved through meditation (from relaxation exercises to deep meditation) and through the definition of life objectives in line with the core self.

If you want a simple proof of what just described, you can find a room where you can stay on your own sitting on a chair, then close your eyes and breathe focusing for few seconds on your belly inflating and deflating, and then try to relax for few minutes. After having done this, you can read the three bullets below.

(…please do the exercise…)

What was floating in your mind while you were sitting on the chair in those few minutes?

  • Some annoying thoughts concerning the general situation I am currently living (the mind easily runs downhill)
  • A list of task I am currently doing or I have to do (the mind runs flat with the momentum of the day)
  • I simply relaxed and enjoyed the few minutes of peace (the mind is very fit and runs easily uphill)

Well, you can try this simple exercise more than once and you may ask your friends to do it and tell you what happened to them, so you can make your own judgment on the matter. If you try this exercise several times, focusing more and more on your breath and less on your thoughts, you will start relaxing. As you will see, it is very easy to start training your mind.


Many thanks in advance for your comments!



Steps to becoming confident, successful and happy

Brilliant well-being: the life-transforming book


Copyright © – Dimitri Gianesini – All rights reserved

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One thought on “The uphill and downhill effort of the mind: fitness needed

  1. Great suggestion. I’ll try the exercise today. Though based on my own self-awareness, I expect my mind will run flat.

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