Personal growth depends to an unknown extent on our ability to be aware of, and think about, our thoughts, feelings and behavior. However if we don’t ‘do internal work’, think deeply about this vast uncharted area, we are certainly going to lead a life that is more lifeless and robotic.
If we lead our life as if the world is only outside of us, repeating patterns of behavior, with no self-reflection, what is effective for us at one point in our life cycle, sooner or later, loses it’s effectiveness.
Below are five ideas to fertilize thinking about our internal worlds:
1) The first is that even if we chew and grind up good or bad food, and drink with passionate love, it still turns into feces and urine. True? No.
It is easy to see the beginning and the end of any process. We forget, or may not even be aware, that all food is something. When we take it in it begins a mysterious journey essential for our body growth; or, if there is too much, too little, or it is poisonous or rotten, this food journey can have destructive intent and lead to misery.
Likewise, ideas and feelings we take into our mind, while in a gristmill of conflict, tension and friction, can contribute to growth or to energy ‘waste.’ This kind of information-food, good or bad, will often turn out to be seeds of vital nutrient for personal growth, the growth of our ‘mind’ and our ability to think.
On the other hand this idea-feeling food, like real food, can also pass through quickly, be burdensome, poisonous waste, and, even if nutritious, it can also be too much, too little, or get stuck and not get worked on and thought about. This can leave us with the feeling we are in a dank, dark and slippery place.
Example: Being constipated with an idea like resentment, and holding onto it inside, can poison us while an idea like forgiveness will endlessly nurture our body, mind and soul.
2) The second is that we can spit out another’s words or ideas, such as ‘God’, ‘science’, ‘truth’, or opinions like ‘God is One’, ‘it’s not scientific’, ‘it’s beautiful’; or we can spit an idea or feeling back: “Hey you, you don’t know what you’re talking about!” In both cases, in so doing, are we acting automatically? Have we briefly, or for an extended period, forgotten our self and our internal world? Are we so rattled, angry and disturbed we’ve ‘lost our mind.’ It’s perilous to not live mindfully, to not step back and ‘see’ things from different perspectives.
Example: All ideas can be thought about from infinite points of view or vertices, to name only the mentioned three: religious, scientific or aesthetic.
3) So, here’s a third idea to chew on: We never really ‘pick the brain’; surely there isn’t brain tissue in a blog. Thinking about it further, the mind is an unproven concept; so picking the brain is a metaphor for chewing on ideas, feeding ideas to others, swallowing some, spitting others out, an exchange or extension of the ideas in our internal world with the internal world of others; an exchange extended across the world with love or hate. How this exchange affects one depends on whether or how deeply it is thought about it.
On thinking further yet, maybe ‘pick the brain’ is not a metaphor. Ideas just might become brain food, brain tissue, not just ‘mind’ food. Unlike minds, brains do exist, we can ‘see them’. Like our ‘mind’ we just can’t ‘see’ ideas.
Should we be aware of and think about ideas before we flush them away? Can we be that aware of them all? How much thinking is useful? Are we failing to pick our brain? Maybe ‘picking the brain’ means learning to think deeply.
Do we ‘think’ in our dreams? Do we do dream work and ‘think’ unconsciously? Is this the only time we are fully ‘awake’? Is this a deeper way to pick our brains, to chew over of facts and ideas?
Example: Are we walking around in a daydream or are we thinking deeply with our minds, right down into our heart, our genitals, our bowels, our very tissues. Is this the way to really ‘wake up’? Or is all this just picking over bones? That’s good. I get it. I like that.
4) Another idea to think about: If we think we can get something for nothing we are forgetting nothing is not only something, it is in its own way everything. We should be careful how we value something, or for that matter anything. Nothing might be priceless and we might be making a fool’s bargain for what we think is something. Yet even if nothing is really only nothing we need to be careful not to value what is valueless.
Example: If we feel entitled to something in the present without working or paying for it, we are forgetting that the ability to work (something) is a gift of love (everything). We might get something we think we are entitled to without working or paying for it but the hidden price tag is starvation (nothing) from living automatically, repeating patterns: patterns of greed, patterns of grievance and regret. Something that turns out to be nothing leads inexorably to the misery of the loss of love (everything).
5) Chew on these ideas, swallow them; Or, what the heck, just spit them out and forget them! Don’t let them get ‘stuck in your craw.’ Maybe these ideas are just a bunch of hooey anyway.
Hmm, will anyone think about this, be wide-open to what they have read? Will it help them grow?
Have you now been able to introduce the thinking parts of yourself to one another so they can sit down and talk? Do you ‘see’ it ‘all’ differently ‘now’?
How can we communicate, see things the same way? Can we, beyond forgiveness and love, ever see things the same way?
How can I listen to what you say, read what you write, be fully open so that it will help me to grow. How frightened am I that your growth or mine might turn out to be malignant and must be killed before it murders you or me or both or all of us?
Can your concept of mind ever really meet with mine? Is my mind ever separate from yours? Mind your own business!! If minds exist can they ever be separate running their own business? If so how separate can they be? Isn’t separation the only real problem? Who and what are we trying to be separate from?
Example: The sun never stops shining. Does it for you? Is it ever miserable outside? Is it cloudy, too hot, too cold, snowing, raining or arid, or really scary?
What’s your conjecture? How much of all this is ‘really’ happening in our internal world in that concept we call our mind?
Dr. Clark Falconer is a Guest Blogger for PickTheBrain. He is a practicing Psychiatrist from Vancouver, Canada and the author of the new, critically acclaimed book The Three Word Truth About Love And Being Well.
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