Powerful Mind Part 43
Created January 5, 2024
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.
Read Powerful Mind 42
A useful exercise from time to time is to pretend that all of your experience to date has not happened, you have no preconceived notions of anything, and you are going to restart your life in this very moment.
After making this proclamation to yourself, since you no longer have any agendas, the first thing to do is to simply observe what is going on inside you, in the supposed absence of all previous records.
You might sense words in your mind, or perhaps only feelings. What are those feelings and/or words? The ones that come back first after the reboot?
Why did those arise first?
If they are feelings, they might be left over from your previous life, the one before the restart. Or they may be your first feelings in this new life. You’ll find yourself able to make some pretty confident guesses. Either the feelings will be negative, and stem from your previous life, or perhaps they might be positive, excited at the chance of starting all over.
Let’s say they are negative. You say to yourself (without words, they are unnecessary) that you’re breaking the rules of the game by carrying over feelings from the past. How come your past life led you to store up these bad feelings with such power over you that they were able to break confinement by your will?
You might answer yourself by reminding yourself that you never had been able to overcome negative feelings by your willpower alone.
OK, but that was then, this is now. You are reborn as a blank slate. You will get off on the right foot this time, and are absolutely determined to have a strong enough will to break the hammerlock of negative emotions over you.
Sustain the moment for as long as necessary and put all other things aside while you win the internal battle.
Notice words that arise in your mind. Which senator are they coming from? What is the general mood of that senator? Are the words taking the side of your will to overcome negative emotions, or are they taking the side of the negative emotions?
As the exercise progresses you will see that the robot has not crossed over with you into a new blank slate, the robot has all of the baggage it has always been carrying, and intends to keep using it to manipulate you. This will give you a clearer and more comprehensive view of the robot than anything you have read in my writings. You will see what you and all of us are up against. It is almost like needing to fight off the mind of an invading demon that is trying to take us over completely and has almost entirely succeeded already.
However, you will always have the upper hand if you remain cool and open-minded and not give in to negative emotions, defeatism, or attachment. Simply observe these inner battles from above them. You’ll need to give up all of the attachments you had formed in your earlier life, before the restart.
The things you deeply love and care about, which are good for you and others, will always come back and seek a place in your heart, and you can welcome them back, but in a stoic manner: meaning you will not make yourself suffer by not experiencing these things enough, you will be grateful for what little of them you get.
There are resolution moments where we take life-turns and we can actually feel the difference inside, where something that once had power over us, no longer does. Afterward, we might experience backsliding, and at such times focus our consciousness on sticking with our new resolution. Do not cause yourself to suffer, nor accept suffering at the hands of others, but remain resolute and compassionate to everyone and everything. It is possible to balance in an open-minded way and to help others without being carried off by oversensitivity to the suffering of others. You can do more good in the world by staying over the weather.
Use your newly developed inner visibility to study what brings you up and what brings you down, and curtail downward emotions immediately. Accept whatever is happening as reality and deal with it as constructively and patiently as possible without becoming caught up in it. Your free will, your personal freedom, your resolute will, is the most important thing that you have, more important than your negative feelings, your will is the protector of your positive feelings of love and joy and wonder.
Do not confuse willpower with stubbornness. Stubbornness is the opposite of open-mindedness. Taking intractable positions means you are not open to considering other ideas. This means you are attached to certain ideas and things without recourse to new facts, new learning. That is being stuck. That is Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP) of the robot. Your consciousness should remain open to all possibilities while taking necessary actions based on your current best estimate of reality.
When you are having fun, such as when you do your passion work, will bring you up, not only emotionally but also cognitively and in terms of effective body movement. This is Flow state.
As I’ve mentioned before, when I was very young and experienced Flow state for the first times (on stage), it was very impactful on me. I had discovered another level of reality that felt very magical, although I was sure that it had a basis in science. My parents who had taught me everything about life from much earlier in my life than other parents discussed everything with their children, had never taught me about Flow state. Did they know it existed? I didn’t trust myself to know exactly how to explain it even to them and so I never did. Eventually, Jack Carter, the comedian I respected most, recognized what I was saying to him in a private conversation, and said that in showbiz it was called being “on”.
As I grew up I formed certain ideas about Flow state, which I thought about a lot because it was my aim to get into and stay in Flow state as much as possible. One idea I had was that every impulse received during Flow state was perfect. One could do no wrong. It took me years to see through that mistake. Actually, the foolish impulses continue to arise during Flow state but the ability to instantly discriminate the right impulses to follow has become impeccable, for as long as the state lasts.
With my wrong model of Flow state, I was always quickly taking myself out of Flow. Because I would act on decoy impulses thinking I could do no wrong.
Nowadays in Flow, I listen to the endless babble of my robot pretending to be me, following up on an inspired idea I just had as if with further improvements on it, when these follow-on remarks really added nothing of value.
As a note to neuroscientists studying states of consciousness, my original hypothesis was that only one set of instructions was being sent to my conscious mind, and the perfection of Flow state was therefore determined by the subconscious layer that sent my conscious mind these instructions. My current hypothesis (or observation) is that the impeccability of action is not at the generative layer but in the discrimination function. In Flow state, the conscious mind and body act as a single unit, confidently choosing correctly from among the sea of impulses constantly arising, with the self and other seeming to be of a single piece. It all feels like play or doing what comes naturally as opposed to striving.
Whether you are starting over to evade a bad mood, enjoying creating something in Flow state, or whatever you are doing, the ability to focus your attention and notice what is going on in and around you is what is going to get you through to the highest outcomes, even as you prevent yourself from becoming attached to those outcomes.
Your ability to see yourself inside continuously will reveal to you many important learnings. You will see that discomfort generalizes. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, soon other things will also be making you feel uncomfortable. You will see that being interrupted discomforts you, and that you quickly tire of it. This whole distraction culture which we have created continuously interrupts thoughts and feelings you are having, which contributes to the development of EOP as a form of “thick skin” to coexist with all the interruptive distractions going on almost all of the time. Acceleritis (information overload) has created a world of broken thoughts. We reduce the pain of this with EOP, but that actually makes things worse.
Be on the lookout for certain signs that you are in EOP. Procrastination is one of those signs. Something needs to be done but we put it off. If we stop and focus on it, the sense that it is overwhelmingly difficult melts away as we patiently and open-mindedly analyze it.
Circling is another form of procrastination. This is when your mind is in a loop, it keeps going around and around through the same path of steps, without adding new insights in the endless circling. Might be a good time to start your life over at times like that.
Love to all,