During our PhD program at University of Texas at Dallas, we would identify a challenging scientific problem, whose solution would contribute to science (in my case computer science), leading to more scientific curiosity and enhancement to our field. Easier said than done :). So every PhD student would face this issue of defining a problem set and then work towards the solution. Like most PhD junta will tell you, finding the problem is a problem within itself. Once we identify the issue, we pray and work that no one else solves our problem. Otherwise, one has to restart over. Across the complete process, I realized that the questions we were asking ourselves about the problem at hand led to the answers. However, in between this mad rush, ever increasing fear, so much to do, and increasing ambition, we were generally lost and failed to solve our problem. As a result, some of us would do the research, take a path and ultimately find that we have hit the wall.What we needed during this time was clarity of mind. A clear mind which is present in the moment helps us focus on the actual issue and ask the right questions, leading to the correct answers. Saving a lot of time as well.
Meditation and breathing techniques taught in Art of living courses (founded by H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar), gives us clarity of mind, which helps us solve tougher problems with great focus and accuracy. The breathing practice of Sudarshan Kriya taught in the basic art of living course still helps me in my day to day activity, including my job. My tip to all PhD folks is to follow one such discipline that gives you clarity of mind.