Start over again Today. Look at the place where a dead body should be resting today.
Ways to think…processes…how things get into our mind and what we do with them once they get in. Most of the time we don’t even think…about…well…how we think. Yet nothing could affect us more than those two processes. We so often want change in our lives, but generally consider only changing the content of our thoughts. How did those thoughts get there? How did they get to have such a powerful effect on us?
Ways to think #1: Contact Lenses: How things get in.
Contact Lenses sit right in front of our eyes. Anything that comes in must pass through the lenses, and the lenses affect what comes in. After a while we don’t even realize these lenses are present. When this happens the effect they have simply becomes our new reality. Below are two examples of Cognitive Contact Lenses.
Belief and doubt. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to doubt the truth? Why is it so difficult to doubt lies? Belief and doubt are filters that either let things into our minds or keep things out of our minds. Someone makes a statement, or describes for us how they perceive us. If we already believe the thoughts they’ve shared; they gain instant entrance; the thoughts enter in and join up with similar thoughts we have already harbored. If their opinions don’t match our own, they bounce off our mind, as if the door is locked…no entrance. Many life changing truths remain locked outside our mind because we are pre-disposed to doubt. For one day try doubting something besides true stuff.
Exception vs. Rule: All of us have a filter I call the exception or the rule. Because we are convinced that certain experiences are normal and certain experiences may happen occasionally our mind automatically categorizes experiences. When people say they like us, we are sure that is the exception. When we screw something up, surely that is the rule. Again, we give no credit to anything we consider the “exception” When we picture ourselves as fearful, any courageous behavior is immediately discounted. What if we have our wires crossed? What if we are wrong about the exceptions and rules of our lives? We lose valuable credit when we act in accordance with our nature…if…we are wrong about our true nature. Often we are.
Ways to Think #2: Sausage Machines: What happens to thoughts once they get in.
A sausage machine makes sausage. That’s what it always does. Put in beef, it makes beef sausage. Put in venison, it makes deer sausage. The processes of a suasage machine simply make the same thing out of anything that you put into it. Put in aluminum foil…it will make aluminum sausage. The machine does exactly the same thing with any input. Our mind processes data: if we want things to change we must learn to do new things with the data that comes into our minds. Here are a few examples of ways our minds process stuff.
Meditation: It sounds so spiritual to meditate. Meditate simply means to hold something constantly in your thoughts. We use the term “dwell on”, to describe meditating. Interesting phrase. Dwell means to inhabit or reside…So to meditate means to inhabit a particular thought. Bill Johnson, a teacher I admire, says if you know how to worry you know how to meditate. Decide on purpose what you will meditate on.
Passivity: We often assume that our minds run on auto pilot. We simply allow pictures, imaginations etc. to run around loose in our minds as if we cannot give orders to them. Try for one day to tell the thoughts in your mind what to do. It is a little like parenting. If we are going to be hands off, we should expect the thoughts to misbehave.
Focus: I have heard it said that if you have difficulty remembering the names of people you meet, the problem is not your memory, it is your focus. When Someone introduces themselves, if you are thinking several things at the same time, their name will not stick. Not because of memory but because of focus. Focus, as a cognitive process, is harder than ever in the days we live in. Texting, E mail, Cell phones, Ipods… our current methods of communication lend us to unfocused communication, because we increasingly communicate on multiple channels simultaneously. Focus…and choose wisely what you focus on. You may have to let a few things go.
Surrender: This word can mean many things. For the purpose of this conversation, I mean that you can surrender your thoughts to someone else. There are many ways we can give our thoughts away and give other people control or at least strong influence of our thoughts. Jealousy, or wishing we were someone else, gives away a few acres of our minds. Fantasy, in many forms, allows others to hold deeds to plots in our minds. Resentment, or unresolved bitterness also allows people to hold territory in our minds.
It is difficult to recognize your own lenses. Let God and others gently show you the ways you may have filtered input. You will be amazed that as you take control of the processes of your thinking, how quickly you will find yourself thinking differently.