Be a Master of Information

Too Much InformationNowadays, there are many people who sing the praises of organic food wherever you go. Not long ago it seemed most proponents came from upper-middle class Americans, but now the demand has grown to include even the general public in Korea and Japan as well.

A little while ago I ran into a couple that I had known for a long time, and I was inwardly surprised to see that they wouldn’t so much glance at a cup of tea or a snack unless it was organic. When I told them that even now, I have a fish burger or strawberry shake from McDonald’s from time to time, they were incredulous that a teacher and specialist in mind-body training would occasionally enjoy fast food.

As the conversation continued, we shared news about mutual acquaintances, my recent book, travels abroad, movies, and so on. I hardly noticed the time passing as I chatted with this couple, who had a lot of curiosity and with whom I felt a certain kinship. But what I felt as we talked is that their intellectual curiosity sometimes made them attached to unhelpful information. In my opinion, because they had accumulated so much “healthy” information, they were wrapped up in unnecessary worries and anxieties; having trouble digesting it all. It occurred to me that if they were half as fastidious about their information intake as they were about their food intake, they could have a much healthier and happier lifestyle.

The most important work that our brain does is information processing. It has the ultimate high-speed sensors that take in a great abundance of information every moment. Before this information reaches our consciousness, our brain discriminates which information is valuable and warrants further attention. The conscious mind can do the same thing. It can discriminate among the information that reaches it and choose which information is helpful and discard that which is not. It can selectively choose what it wants to pay attention to.

However, many people actively collect information indiscriminately, giving it all equal value, because they think it will help them. They constantly hoard it, but instead of using the information with ease, many flounder around trying to make sense of it all. They haven’t yet realized that some information in this world gives us strength and encouragement, whereas a lot of other information impairs our judgment and inflicts harm.

You cannot be a master of information simply by knowing a lot. No matter how much information you may have, the information itself does not guarantee a better life. You have to be able to determine and choose which information you need and is important. In order to do that, you must develop wisdom, intuition, flexible and integrative thinking, creativity, and decision-making power. More than anything else, we have to know that our brain is sensitive to information and make the effort to provide information that is healthy for it. That is why I always emphasize being selective when enjoying books, movies, music, etc. These things can exert a great deal of influence over an individual’s cultural sensitivities, and belief and value systems.

Information is important. However, what’s more important is the life force using the information; the “me” that breathes and emits brain waves. This life force is the real master over the information it encounters.

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