How The Mind Works

Download the resource for Module 3: Choosing Reality

Welcome back to managing your mind madaline. From mind over matters, I hope you all enjoyed practicing your three breaths and just smile. In this session Module Three, we’re moving on to how the mind works. Okay, so let’s do this, pretend this is you, it’s not your best day, you feel like you’re walking under a dark cloud, it’s kind of gloomy out, you have your umbrella, just in case, you’re walking down the street, and you see somebody on the other side of the street kind of coming the other way. And it’s someone you know, and kind of gives you a little bit of an uplift. And because it’s, you know, someone you may like, and you see how he’s going to wave, and the person just keeps right on walking. Now, without overthinking this, please don’t overthink this. Why did the person not acknowledge you just think something. So when I do this, in a group, people say lots of different things, they just kind of shove them out. So one will say she didn’t see me or another will say she doesn’t like me or another one will say, Well, she was just having a bad day, and was preoccupied and on and on it goes. And at that point, I rest my case, because what that proves, if it’s the same exact stimulus, and it gets all these different responses, that feel right to like each of the people. Thoughts are not facts. They’re events of the mind. And they vary from person to person. And not only that, they can vary in the same person from one part of the day to the next. So I’m a morning person. So I know that things are going to look very different to me in the morning than they will at night. And not only that, the more recurrent these thoughts are, that person doesn’t like me, the more we believe they’re true. So these events of the mind, and that’s what they are, these dramas of the mind. The more they recur, the more we think they are facts, but thoughts are not facts. And that really matters because because life is what our thoughts make it. Shakespeare said nothing is either good or bad. But thinking makes it so Gandhi said, what he thinks he becomes Abraham Lincoln, most folks are about as happy as we make up our minds to be. So thoughts are not facts, they are creations of the mind. And they can help us or they can really get in the way. Either way, they matter and the matter a lot, we really need to get a grip on these interpretations of the mind that are driving our lives. So first, we accept rather than reject these events of the mind, and because what we resist tends to persist. So if I tell you don’t think about elephants, what’s in your mind, you see, so Walter Michel, he’s the marshmallow test guy talks about leading a choice for life. So we could read it the other way, we could say except choice, and reject habit. But that makes habit sound worse than I really mean it to. You don’t want to have to learn how to ride a bike, play the piano, drive a car, you don’t have to figure it all out for the first time, every time so habits really efficient. But a lot of our habits were put there by the five year old we use to be very cute, and very smart, but a five year and and well meaning to but a five year old, nonetheless. And do we really want a five year old in charge of our lives, he or she can be really bossy to has to be his or her way or the highway all kinds of expectations about how things should be. Which brings us to the misery gap. So the misery gap is the space between the way things are and the way maybe our boss a little five year old deep inside and they’re the way that one thinks things ought to be. So managing the mind the practices that help to calm and clarify and strengthen the mind can help us to reduce that space between the way things are and the way we think they should be. Because right They’re in that space, the bigger that space is, the bigger the opportunity, we have to create the misery of our lives, sometimes all by ourselves. It’s not always so much that we can do about the way things are, like other people, for example, who may not even want to change the way we think it would be good if they did, we all know how hard it is for us to change ourselves. Even when we want to let alone, I don’t know how much sense it makes to think that we’re going to change someone else who may or may not even want to. It’s not like we shouldn’t try. There are conversations that can be had. But after a few of those, and things continue along, as they are, I know, my clients told me themselves, they begin to notice that they’re whining, and complaining, which kind of gets in the way of the effectiveness they were hoping to have. So maybe just a couple of times to minimize those sunk costs of over investments. But then there is after that, something that we can do about our own expectations in our own lives. And to begin to tweak those a little bit, get those more in line with what the present reality may need to be, and close that gap a bit, in order to reduce some of the misery in our lives when we are experiencing that. So there’s an exercise that I’m going to present to you, that is called choosing reality. And let’s go there now, choosing reality. So if it was the five year old, who decided what reality was supposed to look like, now, and what the expectations would be for reality, now might be a very good time for the adult to review that everyone lives in a story. As humans, our senses cannot possibly process everything thrown at them. And yet, we do need our lives to make sense to have some meaning and coherence. So we pick and choose. And we pick we piece things together, according to how we remember things that happened, and how we imagine things will happen. Next, these creations of the mind are the stories in which we live, that shape our lives. So this exercise, choosing reality will bring to light the story The mind is presently telling, and then help to create a space within which to generate a number of other equally plausible, potentially better stories. The multiplicity of stories reinforces the reality that the mind is generating these stories and allows us to consciously choose better stories in which to live. Please practice this exercise before moving on. If you can always feel free to let me know what you think. And I look forward to seeing you next time. Bye Bye now.