Posts Tagged ‘brain’

GrayBall, The Brain – a/k/a “The World’s Worst Terrorist”

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

I’m convinced – at least on some days – that without a whole cadre of anti-terrorism tactics in place, GrayBall would be burning and pillaging it’s way across the entire  landscape of my future life right now.  After all, it was an experience  all too familiar from my younger years.

And I know that I’m not the only one. Admit it.  You know who you are.

Do you have a potential or a possibility for the future, but . . .

Are you anxiously asking yourself “what if questions” about your future hopes and dreams?

If so, you’re being terrorized by the ‘world’s worst terrorist.”

What is it with GrayBall anyway?

Why is it – just when we should be feeling excited and passionate about all the possibilities in front of us – does it begin to terrorize us with thoughts of failures past, broken dreams and disappointments?

Well, chalk it up to GrayBall’s wonderful self-preservationist attitudes.  It often thinks it’s under attack, and feels the need to defend itself against future failure.

GrayBall loves to lob bombs from the past and create all manner of chaos and mayhem into our soon-to-be future.

Have an upcoming presentation?  You’ll suddenly remember the time in the 3rd grade when, in a panic, you forgot the only two lines you were required to remember for the school play.

Have a prospective first date?  You’ll start to reflect on how badly your last relationship turned out.

Trying to land that new job?  Rejections, rejections, rejections are all you can think about.

It’s hard to believe the future will turn out anything but badly.

How could it? As you’re inching ever closer to the inevitable doom of stepping on that landmine out in the future that GrayBall has so loving placed there.

Yep, I said lovingly.

Because Gray Ball really means well.  That’s why it’s a bad terrorist.  In fact, it’s the world’s worst.  Because it’s trying to help us … not harm us.

It’s trying to protect us by helping us to pay attention to what might happen that we don’t want to have happen.  But this is like trying to help you navigate a mine field by laying down more mines so you’ll remember they’re there.  Kinda crazy, huh?

Here’s another reason GrayBall is the world’s worst terrorist: all the bombs are really duds.  They don’t really exist.  They’re memories from the past…. things we’ve already endured and lived through.

That alone should convince us that our ‘not yet successes’ in the future will turn out okay in the end … because they always do.  We can learn, grow and evolve.  You aren’t the 3rd grader who didn’t remember your lines, you’re an adult fully capable of stringing two sentences together, your past relationship taught you to stop trying to change people and look for someone who already possesses the qualities you’re looking for, and you’ve endured enough rejection to realize you’ll live to fight another day.

So while GrayBall is rooting around in the past for those duds to toss out into your future ask yourself, “What have I learned that will help me achieve my not-yet future success?”

And more importantly, GrayBall is simply a misguided friend.  Not a foe.  But, more on that later.

 

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?

 

The Ongoing Adventures of GrayBall-the-Brain ~ This episode: The Worried ‘Psychic’

Monday, February 13th, 2012

“I no longer question whether or not the future can be changed. I question whether or not the future exists as future. I think not.” (jc)

I’ve never met anyone who didn’t want happiness and peace of mind. All living creatures want to be okay.

I think it’s built into the Big-Bang Blueprint.

Even people obsessed with acquiring objects are really trying to get something they believe is vital to their well-being. They just go about it very poorly because they think that having things is the secret to having peace.

It isn’t.

Of the many peculiar behaviors of GrayBall-the-Brain (the principal in our story, henceforth known as GrayBall for short, or Brain for shorter) the one I want to discuss is its tendency to compare, and to look for negative, scary things. It’s probably a survival mechanism. Had it been unable to distinguish between what’s helpful or harmful, none of us would be here.

But, when basic survival skills for GrayBall become obsessions of the mind, unhappiness becomes a lifestyle; a way of being.

That’s what happens when Brain compares what it desires to what it actually has. And thinking that it needs the object of its desire to be happy, GrayBall feels unhappy NOW, begins to worry, and becomes anxious about its future.

You know anyone like that?

I do. I have a friend who says she worries about everything.

Everything is a lot to be worried about,” I said.

I asked her to make a list.

She did. It really was everything.

Yikes!

And the last item was ‘worried about being worried.’ Kind of a tough spot she’s in, wouldn’t you say?

Strictly speaking, no one can be worried about everything because no one knows what everything is. So, we got to work and narrowed it down to specifics.

All the items on her revised list were of possible-scary-future events. And fear and worry are future dependent.

Nobody’s worried about what might happen in their past. The past is over.

And no one is worried about an event that occurred in their past–unless they’re thinking about how it might effect their future. See?

My friend, like many people, was focusing on the scary things that might happen; that could happen.

But what might happen–also might not happen. Almost anything could happen–but it also could not happen. And most things that could’ve happened–never did happen. (Think about that one.)

Anyway, I’m very worried about her. (ahem)

If you’re worried about future events–something that may or may not happen–you’re worried about something that isn’t real. 

Because the future doesn’t exist as a fact. It’s all made up.

And if it’s all made up, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Instead of planning for the best and being watchful for the unexpected, my young friend was absolutely certain of disaster. And that’s what she was afraid of.

But nothing on her list was real. GrayBall-the-Brain was playing psychic.

I said, “If you really can predict the future, you should become a professional psychic. You’d be rich, and worry number two would be gone.”

She asked me what she should do.

“About what? None of your problems are real.”

“You’re not helping, Jim!”

“There’s no answer to your question, because it’s not a real problem. You’re making it up.”

Her eyes went all squinty. “I’m not making it up! You’re not making any sense!”

“Then show me the facts as you know them for certain. Show me the evidence. Can you take a picture of your scary future? Can you hold it in your hands? If not, it isn’t real. It’s in your mind.”

“I’m going on the evidence of my past. A bad past means I’m going to have a bad future. That’s how I know.” (Read that bit again and see if you can spot the error in her thinking.)

“But the past is gone. It’s only a memory. Take a picture of how your past means your future. Show it to me. You can’t–because the meaning isn’t there! What you’re worried about isn’t real. It doesn’t exist because your future hasn’t happened yet. GrayBall is making up scary stories–and you believe them. That’s your real problem.”

“So what do I do?”

“Make up a better story with a happier future. Make up a possible future you’d like to have instead. Then plan and work toward that.”

“How do I do that?”

“Don’t worry. I’ll tell you how in Part II. In the meanwhile, I want you to consider something.”

“What, more PICTURES-OF-EVIDENCE?” She had taken a tone.

I went all zen-ish on her. “Anything that hasn’t happened yet can change,” I said. “But nothing can be changed before it has happened.” 

“What’s that supposed to mean? It’s like I’m talking to Yoda!”

“Yeah, well, think about it. It’ll mess with your mind.”

“Thanks, dweeb.”

 

Stay tuned for  “The Practical Approach to a Worry-Free Brain” coming next installment.

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.

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.