This week we looked back at where we were in the course. Well-organized is no accident. Review weeks for me are the place to catch up, get ahead and discover what I missed earlier. My claim to fame in school was remaining hidden however. Almost nobody knew I got straight A’s. I was in all the usual extra curricula’s and my size let me letter in three sports beginning as a freshman. I had access to information at home that most people didn’t even know existed. My father was whom book publishers had to go through to get their books used by the school district. The ‘teacher edition’ had much more information than the ‘student edition’ too. Having dozens of different publishers books on the same subjects fed my love of reading.
Today we have the internet and it amazes me that most people don’t know how much is available or how to find it. [Notice if your ‘mind’ agreed with that statement or not. Did the rule triggered have someone’s voice say the rule, perhaps like your mother or someone else?] Reading has always been my favorite pastime. There is so much to learn and discover I’ll need about eight lifetimes to capture just what I know I don’t know that I want to learn more about. I prefer reading as I can acquire and retain more words in two hours than watching ten hours of video.
A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. – Mark Twain
This week in addition to the prescribed review, I read Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson published Oct 2013. He has written a number of books about the brain and the mind.
Neurons that fire together wire together. Mental states become neural traits. Day after day, your mind is building your brain. – Rick Hanson
If you read that last part again slowly, you will see that the ‘mind’ and the ‘brain’ are not the same thing. Your brain is clearly located somewhere. The mind is another matter. Saying your mind is in your brain has as much power as saying it is in your elbow. This last week is when I first realized, having heard it hundreds of times, said dozens of ways, that the mind/brain connection is the same as vision/eyes and sound/ears. The brain is just another sensory device we have like hearing, touching, seeing and tasting. It appears to store all the other sensory device memories also. I am not my mind nor what I think.
Hardwiring Happiness validates the course material [it didn’t need any by the way] and gave me a novelty advantage this week over only looking again at what I have done so far in the course. The brain learns five ways.
Intensity is the emotional energy added to the experience. The brain hardwired to pay attention to the bad frequently attends to the serious amounts of emotional energy and intensity sticking us with a longtime result. However, one positive intense learning experience, like Outward Bound for example, will live with you forever.
Multi-modality is using more than one sense to acquire the information. Taking apart a working engine down to every single piece and reassembling it again as a team is multi-modality. The permanent memory experience has three possible outcomes. It runs, it doesn’t or it explodes. It is the instructor’s job to insure the third does not happen.
Novelty is the marketer’s of the world pet teacher. Every new shiny object offers novelty. Reading Rick Hanson’s book this week gave me a novel way to review the material. The other, more difficult way to learn with novelty is called developing a ‘beginners mind’ and most of us won’t. Seeing or experiencing something again for the first time is at least as challenging as struggling with it the first time.
Personal relevance is as key as the any of the above. Having a Definite Major Purpose will add the relevance to everything associated with your purpose. Sometimes we may miss the connection, many times over, before it finally dawns on us, ‘Oh! That’s the lesson I am here for!!’
Given our wiring for easily discovering the negatives, Rick Hanson offers a method to rewire the experiences.
[S]taying with a negative experience past the point that’s useful is like running laps in Hell: You dig the track a little deeper in your brain each time you go around it. – Rick Hanson
Let it be is be with it as an observer and view it from acceptance. As the observer you may see the rules that were broken, who is ‘saying’ them in your mind and whether or not the rule is currently applicable.
Let it go is just that. Allowing the experiences to drain out of you like muddy water from your toes and fingers and if you notice the ‘color’ of the negative as you watch it drain from you adds another modality. The ability to release from the negative quickly is a skill seldom taught early enough or ever.
Let it in is cultivating the positive to replace the negative. Rick Hanson says you either grow flowers in your mind or the weeds will come back.
He uses the acronym HEAL to remember how to cultivate the mind.
Begin to notice your positive experiences; ‘Have it, Enjoy it’ and ‘Absorb it’ staying with for at least twelve seconds at least for each step, then notice what happens to you, how your day changes and how others are affected too. Linking the positive and negative to sooth and even eliminate the negative is optional. I suspect making it optional allows the subconscious permission to be happy automatically finding the most pressing areas needing soothing.
Whatever we repeatedly sense and feel and want and think is slowly but surely sculpting neural structure. …the brain stakes its shape from what it rests upon. If you keep resting your mind on self-criticism, worries, grumbling about others, hurts, and stress, then your brain will be shaped into greater reactivity, vulnerability to anxiety and depressed mood, a narrow focus to threats and losses, and inclinations toward anger, sadness, and guilt. On the other hand, if you keep resting your mind on good events and conditions (someone was nice to you, there’s a roof over your head), pleasant feelings and your good intentions and qualities, then over time your brain with strength and resilience hardwired into it, as well as a realistically optimistic outlook, a positive mood, and a sense of worth forms. Looking back over the past week or so, where has your mind been mainly resting? – Rick Hanson
The book is amazing and was perfect for adding to my review of the Mastermind course. I realize now staying with a positive experience for twelve seconds or longer is not my normal focus. It makes every positive much more powerful. What we have been doing in the course is practicing self-directed neuroplasticity.
If you don’t make use of this power yourself, other forces will shape your brain for you, including pressures at work and home, technology and media, pushy people, the lingering effects of painful past experiences, and … Mother Nature herself. – Rick Hanson
[T]he most direct way to grow inner strengths such as determination, a sense of perspective, positive emotions, and compassion is to have experiences of them in the first place. If you want to develop more gratitude, keep resting your mind on feeling thankful. If you want to feel more loved, look for and stay with experiences in which you feel included, seen, appreciated, liked, or cherished. The answer to the question of how to grow good things inside your mind is this: Take in experiences of them. This will weave them into your brain, building up their neural circuits, so you can take them with you wherever you go. – Rick Hanson
This book and the mastermind course provides tools to live life on purpose instead of by accident.
I also read in the news this last week they have found where anxiety resides in the brain! Surprisingly it is not in the amygdala. How soon will they ‘discover’ a drug to numb it?