Posts Tagged ‘beliefs’

Truth or Consequences? Pick One

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

“When it comes to The Truth, all of us are liars.” (sayings by lp)

Truth can never be measured in absolute terms of truth-y-ness (yup, I just made that up).

Truth is relative … it’s not absolute.  What is unquestionably true for any one individual or group is often questionable to another.

Just ask Republicans and Democrats.  They can look at the exact same evidence and use it to support their own version of The Truth.  Which is just their way of saying what they believe to be true.

You might ask, “How does this happen?”  Well, chalk it up to the fact that GrayBall the Brain is a meaning making machine.  It’s constantly evaluating situations and circumstances to assess what they might mean.

When we’re children, these meanings are almost exclusively about who we are, and our relationship to the world around us.  These meanings later come to shape the Truths we come to live by . . . in other words, our beliefs.

Unfortunately, all this is taking place at a time when Brain is woefully lacking in “executive function,” not to mention life experience.  It’s not able to assess whether any given meaning is healthy or toxic.  Keep in mind that it’s essentially making the meaning up in the first place.  And the meaning it’s making up?  That’s what makes this so crazy – because it’s no more true than any other meaning it could be making up, if only it knew to make it.

Are you beginning to see the problem here?

But wait . . .  it gets even crazier.  Because once GrayBall makes up a meaning, it then looks for evidence to support it, which it then uses as a way to ‘make true’ its meaning.

So, although we might think that our beliefs are founded on evidence, it’s really the other way around.  We believe something is true; therefore, we see evidence that it is.  There’s a saying, “If you walk through the world with a hammer, you’ll find a lot of nails.”

Did you catch the fundamental flaw in all of this?

That’s right … Brain doesn’t look for counter-examples that don’t support it’s meaning. Like a heat seeking missile; it’s only looking for what it’s looking for … never what it’s not.

And, because it didn’t look for counter evidence to begin with, it will never look for it in the future.  That’s why people continue to carry a felt belief that they are not capable, or good enough, or (fill in the blank) even after accumulating of a ton of life experience (evidence) to the contrary.

GrayBall makes up the meaning, finds the evidence, and then convinces itself that the meaning it only made up in the first place is – in fact – the only possible Truth.  Ultimately creating a situation in which no other meaning can then exist.

And if that’s not crazy, I don’t know what is.

This is why it’s nearly impossible to have a sensible discussion about what’s True and what’s Not True.  And it also explains why it’s a futile endeavor to try to talk someone out of a belief… especially when it comes to themselves.  GrayBall has tricked them into believing that what they think about themselves is verifiably true.

So depending on how you look at it, unfortunately, there is no Truth-o-Meter.  There’s no way to measure absolute Truth.

But fortunately, there’s something we can measure.  And that’s the result any particular Truth has on our lives.

Simply stated, we can measure the consequences of holding onto a belief.  Rather than focusing on whether or not something is True, we can ask whether it was ever useful to believe it in the first place.

That’s why I am always more interested in the consequences of a Truth over its relative truth-y-ness.  One I can measure.  The other?  Well, it just starts arguments.

So here’s a challenge for you.

What Truths are operating in your life?  What do you think is true about you?

And, more importantly, what do these truths cost you in terms of happiness, fulfillment, passion, enthusiasm, or optimism?  Are they supporting your success or are they undermining it?

Because if your Truths are questionable, the results of hanging on to ones that don’t support you are not.

So pick one.  Truth? … or … Consequences?


How You Create Your “Reality”

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Today’s Post Is Excerpted From “The UnifiedMind Classroom”

You Say “Tow-may-tow” and I Say “Toe-ma-toe”

Our neurological and physiological processes, both Conscious and Unconscious, and our interpretations of external stimuli by way of our five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and feelings) create our individual and personal meanings of the world around us.

The transformations that take place within a human being in order to understand and process information become the basis of each individual’s unique subjective experience of our consensual reality.

Filters play a critical role in how these transformations take place.

Filters are unconscious and/or neurological factors that constrain or influence the availability, quantity and quality of information coming to us from the outside world. Filters structure our interpretation of the outside world and shape our subjective reality (our values, identity and beliefs).

These filters can be a combination of biological, neurological, psychological, physiological, and socially biased constraints.

As an example: collectively, humans can only perceive a small spectrum of available light; individually, a particular individual may be color-blind, unable to see all the colors available to human beings in general.  Additionally, certain cultures have fewer words (distinctions) for classes of colors, while others have many.

The three filters that shape our subjective reality are deletion, distortion and generalization.

Deletion is the process of selectively paying attention to some portions of experience, while excluding others – in part or in total.

For instance: as you are reading this, not being consciously aware of the temperature of your feet, the movement of your eyes across the page, or otherwise directing your attention away from distractions while reading.

Distortion is an unconscious process wherein an individual filters and massages data coming to them from the outside based on their subjective ‘deeper meaning’. Using this deeper meaning enables us to distort reality or to distort our interpretation of reality.

We distort reality when we imagine things that do not exist (things that defy the natural order) or by drawing conclusions about existing information and projecting our conclusions forward in time (things that do not exist yet, such as a future event).

An example of our ability to create things that defy the natural order is demonstrated in our ability to picture a pink elephant, even though never having seen one in real life.

We distort our interpretation of reality when we filter information on the basis of our personal bias and/or conclusions and then project them upon reality.  An example of a distorted interpretation is that of an insecure individual, who upon entering a room where people immediately look at him, jumps to the conclusion that they were talking about him.

Generalization is the process where an individual’s initial encounter with a particular experience – their prior perceptions, interpretations and learnings – forms a blueprint.

This blueprint then acts as a guide against which other similar experiences – or an entire category or class of experience – can be compared.

We immediately form a conclusion, “this is like that.” In the absence of prior experience, generalization also enables us to fill in the gaps.

An example of generalizing experiences is, “I can tie the laces on this blue shoe, I can tie the laces on that red shoe, I can tie the laces on all shoes, I can tie the ribbon on this bonnet, even though I’ve never done this before.”

Our consensual reality is our shared reality, the world outside ourselves. Because we all have access to this consensual reality, we believe and act as if we are all experiencing reality the same way. In so doing, we often over-estimate the degree to which we actually do experience the same thing.

Indeed there are things that we can agree on. A snake is a snake no matter who perceives it. However, one person’s subjective reality regarding snakes may cause them to fear snakes (perhaps even to the point of a phobic reaction when in the presence of one).

This subjective reality (personal model) and corresponding response is quite unlike someone who is fascinated with snakes and studies them for a living.

Stated in a more personally relevant way, consider the puzzling experience of having members of your family recall a different version of a shared event.

Though the event was the same, the interpretation of that event by each individual is unique to them. Because we share an experience, we often expect consensus in our interpretations. However, we are often frustrated to discover that the real story (ours) is often dismissed or rejected.

If we could truly inhabit another person’s mind for a day, it would be a very different and strange world from our own.


You and Your World~Metaphorically Speaking, Part II

Monday, December 12th, 2011

“If you really want to know what’s going on in your unconscious mind, look closely at your life–because it’s telling you the truth.” (jc)

In Part One of this series, I posed a question about possible strategies for dealing with a brain at war with itself.

Well, there’s lots of tactical manuevers people use in this kind of war hoping to emerge victorious.

One popular approach is to get the conflict diagnosed as a mental illness. Then you get to exact vengeance upon your brain with prescription chemical warfare until it burns out and surrenders.

Or, you could enter into desperate negotiations with your brain, hoping to garner a truce. But do any of these really present a useful solution?

I think you know the answer.

But there’s another more solution-oriented approach to finding peace by resolving the conflict. One that most people aren’t aware of.

You remember that beliefs generate our thoughts, feelings and behaviors, right?

Well, lurking beneath statements like I’m at war with myself, or I’m stuck in a rut, or I just can’t handle all this *stuff* hanging over my head, is the structure of the beliefs that are creating the difficulty.

These, and other similar statements are among the countless metaphors people use to describe their life situation.

Your metaphors reveal the landscape of your internal reality.

The experience you’re having right now is the effect of living your life within the metaphoric landscape of what you believe to be true. See?

And while you may be profoundly aware of the effects of the belief, the structure of the problem created by the belief is usually outside of your conscious awareness. Because a person can be aware of how they feel and what they do without actually knowing the cause.

Have you ever noticed a peculiar behavior or puzzling limitation of your own and wondered, “What the heck is that all about?”

Here’s a Mind-Warp for you.

If you were caught in a trap that you could see and feel–like a cage or a pit–you could study the characteristics of the trap and have a good chance of finding a way out, couldn’t you? You might even discover that you had a number of choices for implementing a solution.

But what if you were caught in a trap–and didn’t even know it? What chance for escape would you have then?

Well, practically speaking–none. Your choices are limited to the information you have. How’s that for freedom of choice?

Most people don’t realize they’re living, or are trapped, within a metaphoric world. And because they don’t realize it, they’re unable to find their way out.

Problematic states like chronic depression and anxiety are common examples of this situation. People living within these problems are often caught in a closed recursive neurological loop–a trap consisting of limiting beliefs. And they don’t know that. So the problem persists.

But there are solutions; even for some of the most difficult of these problems. And sometimes they’re so simple, it boggles the mind.

Uncovering the structure of the metaphor within which the problem exists is like bringing the ‘invisible trap’ into view. Then, the specific characteristics of the trap can be observed, and more often than not, a solution created.

Your inner world is made up of beliefs.

And the structure of that world is evident in your behaviors and language patterns–in the form of metaphors. These metaphors have distinct qualities and characteristics including boundaries, textures, various climates and multiple dimensions–just as you would expect of any material landscape–but with some startling exceptions.

The metaphoric world exists within the universe of imagination–of mind. (Anyone thinking about that Twilight Zone music right now, raise your hand.) And, unlike the denser 3-D world of stuff, where pesky things like gravity and aerodynamics rule, in the universe of imagination such rules don’t exist.

Hence, anything is possible there.

The trick is to use your imagination to create a more useful metaphor wherein lies a solution that can be applied in the 3-dimensional world.

In other words, your imagination may be filled with magic carpets and flying automobiles, but unless it was built and tested for flight in this world–don’t go driving your car off a cliff. (*wink*)

Until next time, here’s a simple challenge: what would you say is the only thing powerful enough to change a belief? If you get this, you know more about the rules for change than most.

Want a hint? Recall what beliefs are made of…

(More mind de-boggling coming soon. Stay tuned.)

Hi. Welcome to my Universe.
If you enjoyed this, please Like, Share, Tweet, Comment, or everything to the left of this dot.

And thanks for being you. You’re the only you there will ever be. That makes you awesome.

Meanwhile, you can click here to discover more about the world of metaphor from Andrew T. Austin – an emerging Master of Metaphor.

You and Your World~Metaphorically Speaking, Part I

Monday, November 28th, 2011

 “You live your life according to what you believe to be true of yourself and of the world–even if what you believe to be true isn’t real.” (jc)

Everything we think, feel and do in any given context is dictated by our beliefs. For those of us looking for change, knowing that could be important.

The human brain is said to be the most complex organism in the Universe. Of course, that’s a belief the brain has about itself. But with millions of miles of neurons packed into a single human cranium, with an estimated 1000 trillion connections, it could easily be true–and discussing how it works would get complicated.

And I don’t like complicated things. I like everything to be as simple as possible.

So, rather than discuss how beliefs are created, for now let’s agree that “A belief is information neurologically encoded in such a way that it becomes a statement about reality that you think or feel is true.”

That’s simple enough to play with.

Beliefs are your database of reality statements. They give rise to your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

That’s how you know how to think, feel and ‘be’ within any given context.

Your life experience is the cumulative effect of your beliefs; the meanings that you project outward onto things and events. It’s not The Realty–it’s Your reality.

Your belief-experience becomes Your Story. And there’s no other story in the world exactly like it.

But your story of reality may not be true for me. I have one of my own. It’s called My Story. And it’s very different from yours.

Your beliefs prove themselves right by shaping reality to fit the mold that your beliefs create. They force you to experience the world their way–not as it IS. And they easily make it seem like everyone who believes as you do is right–and anyone who believes otherwise is wrong.

It’s a very convincing illusion.

All across the world, beliefs unify individuals from various backgrounds into groups aligned toward a common cause or–as opposing beliefs often do–create conflicts resulting in a world at war.

But what happens when conflicting beliefs reside within the same brain–and your brain is at war with itself, creating lots of unhappiness in your life?

Ever catch yourself saying something like “Part of me wants this, but another part of me wants that,” or “I feel like I’m constantly fighting with myself,” or maybe “I love it and I hate it at the same time”? That’s a sure sign of conflicting beliefs.

Listen for statements like these coming from yourself and others over the next week or so. You may begin thinking about language and its meaning in a whole new way.

Do you like to think you have ‘freedom-of-choice’? If so, get ready for a surprising twist in my next post.

 Hi. Welcome to my Universe.
If you enjoyed this, please Like, Share, Tweet, Comment, or everything to the left of this dot.

And thanks for being you. You’re the only you there will ever be. That makes you awesome.