In meditation, we take an intimate look at what’s going on in our minds, moment by moment. Sometimes the attention is wonderfully on the breath, sometimes on the pain in our leg, and sometimes we’re just watching the movie of our own mental proliferation. But our aim is to let go of the distractions, so we can “see things as they really are.”
Taking that off the cushion can be a bit more challenging, as we have more to contend with. Thoughts, even the very process of thinking, can in itself be a distraction from the current task at hand. This makes the need for clear thinking all the more important, as we try to improve. We know from our experience in meditation that the untrained mind wanders, jumping from one thing to the next, and it’s not always accurate in what it creates.
This is where the skill of critical thinking comes in. Because as we need to develop mindfulness to provide us with a good mental filter, we also need to develop the skill which helps the actively processing mind, process better.
Dr. Linda Elder is an educational psychologist and a prominent authority on critical thinking. She is President of the Foundation for Critical Thinking and Executive Director of the Center for Critical Thinking. Dr. Elder has taught psychology and critical thinking at the college level and has given presentations to more than 20,000 educators at all levels. She has co-authored four books, including Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life, and Twenty-Five Days to Better Thinking and Better Living. Concerned with understanding and illuminating the relationship between thinking and affect, and the barriers to critical thinking, Dr. Elder has placed these issues at the center of her thinking and her work.
So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Pepsi throwback, if you can still find one.
“Critical thinking is the art of analyzing and evaluating thinking with a view to improving it.” — Linda Elder
Music for This Episode
The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez’s CD, Shakuhachi Meditations. The tracks used in this episode are: