Created May 6, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
What good would that do you? It would give you a whole new vista on your choices in life. You stand to lose nothing by trying it. If you love everything about your life already, I’d say stand pat. Otherwise, here’s how to revolutionize your thinking.
Disadvantages of conventional thought processing
- Tends to create ruts which can go on for a lifetime
- You tend to ignore inner sixth sense trying to warn you or give you just the right words to use in a conversation
- The awe and electricity of the way life can feel – the zest – trickles off
- The Flow state (Zone) experience doesn’t happen to you as often as you’d like
One level deeper – the technical flaws in conventional thought processing that make it the most self-limiting are:
- You too often fly into following whatever your inner impulse seems to be at the moment
- You are not paying attention to your subtle guidance system – your intuition – so that valuable ideas you need remain “subconscious”
Let’s take these two things one at a time.
Going with your ego flow (better stop doing it!)
What’s so wrong about going with whatever you feel at the moment? Isn’t that what Flow is all about?
No. That’s not Flow state, it’s the momentum of ego, the built-up viral load of all unassimilated experiences, the robot, the predictable persona that masks as the real you even to you. You may tell yourself it’s Flow state but unless it meets the following description, it’s not, it’s your ego overclaiming as usual.
Flow state is about your ego disappearing, you feeling as if The Force is moving you, your actions are perfect, there is no sense of self versus other, there is no attachment to outcome, you are enjoying yourself, your mind is moving much faster than events.
In Flow state – while it lasts – and especially as you are starting to slip out of it – you will have some terrific thoughts, and then you will actively add afterthoughts that are your ego trying to keep up with your intuition, and the thought packets will not have labels on them to allow you to easily separate the imitative ego from the Flow-inspired giant thought of a moment earlier. Learning the trick of being especially skeptical of follow-up thoughts will help you stay in the Flow state.
Leaving the special case of Flow state aside for a moment, in the non-Flow state most people are in most of the time, it’s a terrible strategy to act on every impulse, or even to take ownership of every thought and feeling you have as being something you totally believe in. Many thoughts we have are autonomic nervous system tapes playing in our heads, reinforced by how often we have played those tapes before. If we do not watch ourselves like hawks, we will stay in the same place for a lifetime, stuck at a certain level.
Not all of your thoughts (and feelings) are equally smart. Most are automatic involuntary reactions like the mental version of kneejerks.
Learn to suspend judgment about each thought and especially each feeling that you have. Pay more attention to the feelings that come upon you suddenly, especially the negative ones, and do not tolerate the immediate giving in to feeling deflated. Pause. Return to neutral. Study what has just happened. Diagnose what caused it. Question why you should allow yourself to not to choose joy right now, in every now. Resist these automatic impulses, do not cave to them instantly anymore. Discriminate carefully before movement and before acceptance of a specific negative mood. Refuse to continue to be a manipulatable creature of habit. Start your life over with a clean slate. Forgive yourself and everyone else for all of history to date and start over in each moment. There is nothing to be gained from carrying along the wounds of the past other than understanding the point of the lessons they taught you so you can apply those lessons going forward.
Making your subconscious conscious
Daniel Kahneman has given us a new linguistic tool that helps in describing The Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI) methods: Kahneman’s System 1 is thinking fast and System 2 is thinking slow, as he describes them. We see subdivisions in his two Systems which we’ll go into in future columns but for now let’s use his apt descriptions another way. Your subconscious can get through to your conscious when you are in System 1, but not doing anything. You might be meditating or just sitting around or walking in the woods, but you are not trying to figure anything out.
Most people at most times when they are not in any activity requiring focus are daydreaming or letting their minds go anywhere they might based on free association. That’s one way to use System 1 but it won’t lead to revolutionizing your thinking process. The other way to use these times of taking a break is to simply observe your own mind as it were someone else’s. Don’t let it catch you up into any of its dramas. This is surprisingly hard to do the first hundred times you try it, but it starts to get easier after the first session if you keep it up. Question every thought, even if it is a thought you consider to be one of your most important values.
But don’t encourage yourself to debate each item at the time, jot it down in a log of your experiences for later inner debate, and as soon as possible return to taking a vacation from thinking, or to use the technical term, meditating. This is the state most conducive to detecting your normally-subconscious thoughts and feelings.
This brief article attempts to summarize my entire book Mind Magic in fewer than a thousand words. It obviously leaves a lot out, but I hope it helps.
Love to all,