Words to Live By…. “Know Thy Self”

Posted Thursday, November 8th, 2012. Filed Under My Daily Dose

Breaking Free of Mind Traps

Quite often we get stuck in habitual ways of thinking about
the world and about other people. We tend to classify and
to place events, experiences, and people into categories —
this happens very quickly and I suppose is one of those
traits of human behaviour that is bound to occur with most
of us from time to time.

You see it in politics, religion, in music, art, writing, and in
attitudes about health and well-being. It often manifests as
fads or as political and religious correctness, for example.
You also see it in many relationships and other forms of
social encounters.

For instance, it often happens when you meet someone
and have a brief exchange with them, or, you say “hi” to
them and they walk right on by as if they haven’t seen you.
Almost immediately, your mind takes over, and it creates
doubts about friendship, health, or something else – it wants
to judge or categorize them, somehow.

The mind is like that — it loves to peg things and neatly
store them away in your brain for future reference. Then, if
the same thing happens a second time, the experience
reinforces and tells the mind that it was correct in its
assessment.

We are all victims of such assumptions and conditioning.
Of course, some of it is due to culture, so you might say
that we are all creations of our cultural conditioning. Now,
that is not necessarily bad — indeed, much of it is good.
For instance, if you’re walking along a trail and see a
grizzly, you should probably heed the mind and leave the
trail to the grizzly! Please, don’t go petting the grizzly:) So,
what I am saying, is that the mind gets a lot of things right.

However, at one point in my life, I especially determined
to think of ways to rebel against my most negative mind
traps. One of the things I did was to writes lists. Writing a
list can be a good way to cleanse a negative area of your
life.

List Writing Exercise:

Take two sheets of paper with you, and find a private
location for this exercise. A quiet place by a lake or the
ocean or in the forest would be good. Use one sheet to list
the negative things you can think of in your life. Be nasty!
Write it down! Cleanse your mind! When you are finished,
relax. Notice how much better you feel. Then, crumple the
paper, rip it into pieces, to toss in the garbage or burn.

After you have relaxed for a spell, clear your head and
calmly list the positive things in your life. Also, you can list
things you would like to pursue, beginning immediately.
Then, again, relax, and end the exercise.

I found this exercise to be good in clearing and becoming
aware of negative mind trappings in my life. It is also an
excellent exercise to do with a group, in that it results in
interesting discussion, afterwards.

So, be creative, and do your lists. Figure out ways to take
control of your mind, and to break some of the habits of
daily life.

“Know thyself.”

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