Your mind is the culprit

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NoordZee
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Your mind is the culprit

Post by NoordZee » Wed Jul 02, 2008 2:24 am

I copy here a Blog that I wrote some time ago on another website. It is self-explanatory and demonstrates that the mind had indeed the power to make you very sick. However, if you recognise what is going on, then you can do something about it, such as following Eckhart Tolle's teachings and other practices. Here it is:
YOUR BRAIN, YOUR BODY, YOUR MENTAL HEALTH WRITTEN WITH YOU IN MIND

Many people “think” that depression, anxiety, PTSD etc are caused due to their “thinking” negative thoughts. It this really true? If so, why can these people not simply change their thoughts so that they feel better? To answer this question, we need to explore how the brain works. I intend to keep this very brief indeed, as this space does not lend itself to a lengthy thesis. However, if you understood why you seemingly cannot escape negative thoughts, could you do something about it?

The first thing that one has to remember is that most individuals identify themselves with their mind or thoughts. It does not occur to them that they might be able to control these thoughts. Consider this: “Consciousness uses the brain to mindfully process learning and experiences into electrochemical impulses called thoughts.” The brain is a tool; it is not you!

Our brain primarily consists of nerve cells called neurons. Neurons are the most specialised cells and the most sensitive tissue of all biological systems. They process information and pass it to other neuron cells throughout the body. Neurons pass messages to each other via the presynaptic terminal (messages have not yet crossed the synapse = space between presynaptic and postsynaptic terminals) to the postsynaptic terminal (next neuron receives information). At the presynaptic terminal are minuscule synaptic vesicles, which store chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Dependent on what type of thoughts you think, a different chemical comes into play. They produce the moods that flavour our experiences.

Every time you produce a thought, your whole body may get affected in one way or another. Electrochemical messengers travel via the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system to all parts of the body. This is putting it simply.

With this very short introduction, bear the following in mind:
1. If you focus extensively on a particular type of thinking, such as recurring thoughts of a traumatic event, the brain will create neural pathways that get stronger and thicker, every time the same type of thoughts get triggered.
2. If you consistently think negative thoughts of a particular type, the whole body gets suffused with the type of chemical (neurotransmitters) that is being produced to “comply” with this type of thinking.

In respect of the previous paragraph the following happens:
1. The thicker and stronger certain neural pathways are, the more easily will a certain type of thinking be triggered. Thus, if you suffer from PTSD, the relevant neural pathways will “ensure” that the slightest association with this condition will trigger the same type of thoughts.
2. After a while, if you think the same negative thoughts (for example), the body will have a higher chemical content of certain types of neurotranmitters that have been constantly produced as a result of this negative thinking. The body achieves a state of homeostasis, which means that it is dependent on the specific types of aforementioned chemicals to feel “happy”. Accordingly, some people might even experience panic attacks if they deliberately try to think more positive thoughts. In other words, it is equivalent to your having become a “drug addict”.

You can now see why it is so difficult to recover from depression, anxiety, PTSD and a whole host of other ailments. Yet, there is a way, but it takes effort and a great deal of willpower. A better understanding of how the brain works and the effect that any thought has on your whole body, will be a very useful additional tool in your overall strategy of trying to overcome depression etc.

The above is a very brief, paraphrased snapshot and some extracts from a book called “Evolve Your Brain” by Joe Dispenza. I highly recommend this book. It shows also ways to conquer this vicious cycle of negative thinking.
The more you meditate, the more old brain patterns whither and new ones are formed. These new ones will make it much more difficult to think negative thoughts.
"Veritas vos liberabit"

PlutoISaplanet
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by PlutoISaplanet » Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:23 am

Thank you for posting this. I own this book and I'll have to pull it off my bookshelf. I saw him speak in Portland last year and his talk was very informative.

I've been experiencing daily anxiety with strong physical symptoms. This explains (as I wrote in another post) why I feel odd when I attempt to shift my thoughts away from the anxiety. I have been running the same doomsday scenarios through my head for the better part of two months.

Thanks again.

AndyD
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by AndyD » Fri Jul 04, 2008 9:34 pm

Allthough I liked some of the science in the article I couldnt help but notice some (very important) contradictions.

I feel the most important one is:
The first thing that one has to remember is that most individuals identify themselves with their mind or thoughts. It does not occur to them that they might be able to control these thoughts.
The first sentance points out the entire issue is the identification with thoughts (great!). Then, unfortunetly, the second sentance suggests that the thoughts should be controlled - if no identification is occuring why change them? Struggling against thoughts, in my experience, is one of the great errors (which is ok as I know that we learn more from 'getting things wrong' than 'getting things right'). It is through removing our identification with them that they lose their power.

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NoordZee
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by NoordZee » Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:37 am

AndyD, I quite agree with your observation here that you described as:
The first sentance points out the entire issue is the identification with thoughts (great!). Then, unfortunetly, the second sentance suggests that the thoughts should be controlled - if no identification is occuring why change them? Struggling against thoughts, in my experience, is one of the great errors (which is ok as I know that we learn more from 'getting things wrong' than 'getting things right'). It is through removing our identification with them that they lose their power.
I lifted most of the material straight from the book. It does not seem to make sense. Yet, the intention here is to demonstrate that, if you stop identifying with your thoughts, you exercise control over that process in that thoughts lose their power. Good observation though.
PlutoISaplanet, I answered your post as well yesterday but cannot see my response. For good order I let you know that in my response, I referred to my having received 5 DVDs that elaborate on the original DVD entitled: What the Bleep do we know. I have yet to watch this. There is 12 hours of material on the five DVDs. The main title of the expanded collection is: What the bleep!? Down the rabbit hole.
"Veritas vos liberabit"

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Narayan
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by Narayan » Sat Jul 05, 2008 6:41 pm

AndyD wrote:The first sentance points out the entire issue is the identification with thoughts (great!). Then, unfortunetly, the second sentance suggests that the thoughts should be controlled - if no identification is occuring why change them? Struggling against thoughts, in my experience, is one of the great errors (which is ok as I know that we learn more from 'getting things wrong' than 'getting things right'). It is through removing our identification with them that they lose their power.
I would support that being able to disidentify from thought is primary. On the second hand, if the mind is our servant then, it makes sense to just don't think negative thoughts at all, and replace them consciousely with empowering ones!? It occurs to me that the whole Personal Development movement where replacing thoughts and beliefs is seen as a tool, is about raising awareness in the end.
"Be the change you want to see in this world." - Gandhi | current site: Personal Development that Transforms

AndyD
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by AndyD » Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:06 pm

Hi Narayan,

The issue is that the positive and negative thoughts are 2 sides of the same coin. Identification with one means identification with the other. By chasing after positive thoughts we are further strengthening the identification with the mind leading us further from the 'goal' of been free of it.

This said, you have to go through the process of trying to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones in order to realise the futility of it.

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Narayan
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by Narayan » Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:00 pm

Well said, AndyD.
"Be the change you want to see in this world." - Gandhi | current site: Personal Development that Transforms

Devagni
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by Devagni » Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:40 pm

I've been reading 'Evolve Your Brain' and for what it's worth it's great. My first reaction (and I'm still reading it) is why on earth is this not taught in schools?

It made me think that the stuff I was taught at school was a really irrelevant to what goes on. I mean, who needs to know about protons and electrons in the abstract and not about the way their own physiology works? It seems crazy.

And then it's all about how to deal with that - really, when you combine it with Byron Katie and Eckhart, it really makes sense.

I bought the book on impulse (which I rarely do) as I felt something warm in the above excerpt. It was a good buy.

Anyway see you soon,

Dev

2p0p
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by 2p0p » Sat Aug 02, 2008 2:45 am

Is the mind the culprit/enemy, or does it/has it just filled a void ( nature abhors a vacuum)?.

To me it seems like my mind has been totally out of order, it's completely ruled the roost all of my adult life, but I remember, it wasn't like that as a young child(3 or 4), I knew how to live then, it was easy to just be, everything just was.

The mind can't be a mistake surely, but when it dominates the spirit-everything falls apart.

At the moment I'm enjoying just being aware, but at some point I imagine I will need to use/harness/cooperate with my mind.

How does one do that without growing the ego.?.

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NoordZee
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by NoordZee » Sat Aug 02, 2008 3:31 am

I am sure that you will agree Devagni that Evolve Your Brain is an eye opener at the very least. I have found it to be a fascinating book. I guess that Joe Dispenza concentrates on the physiology of our brain and body. His explanation as to why we think the thoughts we do makes a great deal of sense. It also makes sense saying that efforts to control your thoughts Andy and Narayan is tantamount to identifying yourself with your thinking. Or is it?

2pOp wrote:
The mind can't be a mistake surely, but when it dominates the spirit-everything falls apart.
I don't believe that the mind is a mistake as such. You need it to survive from day to day in this world. However, as your brain is hardwired in the way you habitually think, you almost inevitably identify with your specific type of thinking, because it takes over from everything else. This raises the question in me why we were created in this way. Why is it so hard to move away from identifying with your mind/thinking and simply become self-aware? If it were not hard, the psyche of whole populations would improve considerably.

The emphasis of this forum seems to be that we all should strive to become self-aware and disidentify ourselves from our thoughts. Since the brain itself is incapable of recognising what is reality or not, I wholeheartedly agree with the notion that living in the Present is the answer to suffering, especially when one suffers from depression, anxiety and other afflictions. Joe Dispenza also speaks of recognising the patterns that you want to change and how to go about it. Yes, self-awareness is very important. If you recognise the defeating thought for what it is, you are actually witnessing that thought. I believe that would constitute an important step towards self-awareness and disidentification with habitual thoughts.

The 'trouble' is that we all have to think to survive in this world. If I have to cross a busy street, I have to think about the road rules, observe where vehicles are and at what speed they travel, so that I can calculate the precise moment when I can safely cross on foot or by car. Or.....is someone going to tell me that in the above example I am not really thinking but simply observing everything around me?
"Veritas vos liberabit"

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Narz
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by Narz » Sun Aug 03, 2008 12:37 am

AndyD wrote:The first sentance points out the entire issue is the identification with thoughts (great!). Then, unfortunetly, the second sentance suggests that the thoughts should be controlled - if no identification is occuring why change them? Struggling against thoughts, in my experience, is one of the great errors (which is ok as I know that we learn more from 'getting things wrong' than 'getting things right'). It is through removing our identification with them that they lose their power.
Your thoughts control your body & hormones, therefore ignoring them is not generally a good idea. They just slip "underground" (out of consciousness). Better to explore why you're angry & try to think of ways that the information that your anger (and angry thoughts) are refusing to let you ignore and thus become less angry, less powerless, more confident than to simply try to ignore the anger like it was some sort of screaming baby you wish would shut up. This may indeed "shut you up" but it won't solve anything.

I do agree meditation is great. But it's not enough.
“Seek simplicity but distrust it”

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NoordZee
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by NoordZee » Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:55 am

Narz wrote:
Your thoughts control your body & hormones, therefore ignoring them is not generally a good idea.
I believe that ET does not teach to ignore your thoughts. When you reach a point whereby you can simply witness your thoughts and become aware of the nature of thought, rather than being identified with them, you will be well on the way to self-awareness. Thoughts cannot be easily ignored IMO. I agree with you Narz that, if you try to ignore your thoughts, they do not really go away. Your subconscious will make sure of that.

I personally find it very difficult to 'just' witness my thoughts and recognise them as nothing more than electro-chemical impulses. In other words, thoughts do not represent reality. Why then is it so difficult for us to do what ET and many other gurus teach? My first post on this subject probably explains that.

I find it also difficult to explore why you are angry to use your example Narz. How far back should you go? What will the findings do to you? I believe that psychiatrists seem inclined to delve heavily into the past. On the other hand, professional counsellors are less inclined to do so. The older you get, like me :) , the more you can dig up. Where is it going to end?

I personally consider that the following is pertinent in your journey to recovery. This applies also to me!
1. Recognise your thoughts for what they are. A bit of energy does does not represent reality.
2. Witness your thoughts and do not judge them positive or negative. They just are.
3. The moment you disidentify yourself from your thoughts (I wish I could!!), you are on your way.
4. I believe that meditation can be very helpful. When you meditate, it can be easier to slip into the Now.
5. Maybe it is important to sort out what you really believe in. Do you believe in a universal intelligence? Should we call this universal intelligence God? I believe it would help people if they can sort out their beliefs. It gives them an anchoring point.

The above five points are just my "thoughts" (thinking again!) about this subject. Writing about this seems to help me if not necessarily others. I continue to come across some very good posts. This site is really very helpful.
"Veritas vos liberabit"

2p0p
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by 2p0p » Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:36 am

Hi NoordZee......i see a clue for you in your last post,a perception problem?.
''1. Recognise your thoughts for what they are. A bit of energy does does not represent reality.
3. The moment you disidentify yourself from your thoughts (I wish I could!!), you are on your way''

If your thoughts are not reality(1)-why is it so hard to disidentify?.(2)

i've started using a 'lassoo' metaphor to help me create 'space' around the thought.
when thoughts are bothering me or robbing my presence i throw a lassoo
around them which prompts them to flee(i guess in my case at least they don't like
to be observed),but i have the end of the rope to hold them now so i get to see them more clearly,
also i now can 'see' the space around them,i can see them as seperate and thus
can disidentify more easily,they lose power somehow.

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NoordZee
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by NoordZee » Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:48 am

2pOp wrote:
Hi NoordZee......i see a clue for you in your last post,a perception problem?.
''1. Recognise your thoughts for what they are. A bit of energy does does not represent reality.
3. The moment you disidentify yourself from your thoughts (I wish I could!!), you are on your way''

If your thoughts are not reality(1)-why is it so hard to disidentify?.(2)

i've started using a 'lassoo' metaphor to help me create 'space' around the thought.
Thank you for that "lassoo" metaphor. It is certainly worthwhile trying this. As regards the rest, it is one thing to know things intellectually, but an entirely different thing to translate that into something that helps you. I have always been very good in counselling others but have not been able to apply to same principles to myself. Sounds familiar?
"Veritas vos liberabit"

2p0p
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Re: Your mind is the culprit

Post by 2p0p » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:14 am

page 259 a new earth

Instead of being lost in your thinking, when you are awake you recognize yourself as the awareness behind it. Thinking then ceases to be a self-serving autonomous activity that takes possession of you and runs your life. Awareness takes over from thinking. Instead of being in charge of your life, thinking becomes the servant of awareness(highlighting mine). Awareness is conscious connection with universal intelligence. Another word for it is Presence: conciousness without thought.

this partly answers my first question-it's a question of order/nature ,no point throwing the baby out with the bath water,the mind is meant to serve the spirit/awareness/consciousness.
have i missed something here? it seems/feels good.
Last edited by 2p0p on Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

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