The Body eavesdrops on the mind.
What makes each of us so unique? We are always being told there is no one else like us. We are unique. How can that be? How can we believe this and why would we want to?
We are community-driven beings, nurtured in common, educated in groups, labeled by the year we were born, what we accomplish in the world, our relationship to each other and to the work we do or don’t do. How can we each be so unique when we are driven by our nature to be together?
So back to the beautiful brain you are born with. A magnificent structure composed almost entirely of cholesterol forms the basis for how we function in the world around us. What we hear and see, how we move – more functions than even the most educated and respected researchers among us know – and much of it is under our control! We are only just beginning to see the connection between the emotions we feel, and how what we do about and with them influences the structure of the brain.
This is the part I am writing about, the activity of the brain we call the mind. We are born completely helpless, dependent for all our needs and we don’t begin to develop discernment and reasoning abilities for many years. Being dependent leaves us vulnerable to making up stories about what we see around us. It even influences our ability to discern harm from help our whole lives if we don’t make an effort.
When we see our friends and family making choices we know are not right for them – and others are sure to see the same in us! - they are reacting to an early need long forgotten. When we take a step or a position in our life that doesn’t reflect our true nature, we are responding to a need, perhaps for approval,that has never been satisfied.
All these choices are based in our experience of how life has been going for us. How our basic needs have been met or not met, how our environment has conditioned us to see or not to see, feel or not to feel. We are the product of our experience. Everyone taking care of us or neglecting us is the product of their experience. Every experience is perceived and received by each of us according to our own experience and that of those around us. No wonder we are all so different!
I have a joke in my family that I have heard in many others as well, that we all had different parents. My brother and sister had different parents from me and from each other. My cousins also and all the children we have brought into the world also have different parents. I have four dogs and eight cats, each one perceives me and the world I create around them differently. The same is certainly true for my four children. Each has had a different parent.
Our brains gain and lose cells, make pathways and leave them. As a photographer and artist I know my brain lights up differently when I look at a painting or a photograph than someone who hasn’t spent their life in the visual arts and my brain takes a much longer time to process maps. In fact it is very hard for me to look at a grid system, my mind is more likely to find my way through maps of Boston Massachusetts which was based on early cow paths than maps of Washington D.C. or New York City whose streets are laid out neatly. I grew up in farmland near the Missouri River, I didn’t see a straight line until I was quite old.
So how do we find out who we are and what we want to do? What is authenticity in all this mess of experience and reaction? This is where our feelings come in. Our emotions can be corrupted by past needs unmet or present confusion. Our minds can be made up but if we don’t know who made them up we may find ourselves in another bafflingly uncomfortable situation. We are creative creatures and we find many ways to make ourself into an image we think is our choice.
Our feelings come to us as “gut reactions,” “a hit,” “a vibe.” We have many ways of expressing the moments in which we perceive the reality of something and oftentimes ignore in the next moment. Many times we have no sense of these feelings, we miss them altogether.
Here is where I want to introduce a bit of complexity. Our bodies, in their attempt to be in emotional stasis, will often come up with a pain to distract us from something challenging, that might change everything in our lives – the thing we want most to do.
When I first began meditating I was besieged by aches in my joints and knees, thoughts raced through my mind or stayed stubbornly as I was attempting to get a minute or two of “just the breath.” I would find myself smoothly rounding the curve of my third breath in a row when I would suddenly be asleep or in deep pain or itch. If I was trying to let go of thoughts, pictures would come. My mind is so good at pictures!
There is nothing so strong as the mind’s habits. Often we have habits of mind that we know nothing about. They are patterned deeply inside our psyches and we don’t even know they exist. It is only through awareness and attention that we can see these habits of mind. The only reason to do this is because the body is listening to everything thought, every intention, every emotion the mind creates, known or unknown to its author. We become robotic in our faithful actions in support of someone else’s ideas unless we become friends with our mind to become the one who decides what to do.
There is no greater skill than noticing and having control over your thoughts. Your thoughts dictate who you are, what you do and how you live. Whatever you are doing or feeling or experiencing right now is the result of how you have been thinking, what you have been telling yourself. There is nothing more you need to do to change your life than change your thoughts.
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words,
Watch your words, they become your actions,
Watch your actions, they become your habits,
Watch your habits, they become your character,
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”
Is just being yourself enough?
Do you say something to get something? Do you want to be known or make a point?
Pam White calls herself a "life-enhancing" coach because she spent years trying to make herself known before she knew herself. And Pam was stressed, tense and looking for a "fix" from someone else to tell her she was worthwhile, loveable and smart.
It wasn't until she appreciated who she was that she gave up being a caretaker and became a true friend.
Through the strategies and processes that Pam has come to know and practice - an important difference - she is able to be vulnerable, kind, honest and ask for help while taking responsibility for herself.
Pam's goal in her life is to share this knowledge and way of being so that as many as possible will know freedom of mind and heart.
Come to her Website, leave her a message, she'd love to hear from you!