Cal Banyan, MA, BCH
My Personal Philosophy–What I Believe About the Mind
I believe that it is a tool, not yet understood, or fully used.
The mind and body are intertwined while in the physical existence.
Let me repeat some of what was said in “The Body” part of this site.
Function of the Brain
"The brain is not the mind. The brain has two primary functions. The operations and maintenance of the body. More on the mind/brain connection in "The Mind" are of this site. (Where you are now.)"
"The lower brain operates the life support systems of the body (the autonomic nervous system), and the mid brain, operates the sympathetic nervous system (intentional movement of the body)."
"The higher brain functions involve thinking, memory, emotions, etc.. The biological brain is not capable of doing all of this, as it appears to be doing. Rather, it functions as a transducer between the physical experience and the soul. It is like a highly complex radio system with all channels working simultaneously."
Thinking and Right Use of Emotions
Thinking can be either a creative act or an empty repetition of useless thoughts. Creativity is our heritage. We inherit it from the Great Creator. We cannot help but to create. Lack of use of this ability, leads to frustration, worry, depression and many other painful feelings.
Thinking and emotions are closely related, constantly working upon each other. What and how we think affects our emotional state, which in turn affects our physical state (which acts as a meter of how we are doing emotionally, physically, and spiritually).
A good example of this is the emotional experience called frustration. Frustrations is experienced physically as well as emotionally. All feelings are good, they are there to help and guide you. Frustration tells you that what you are doing is not working. The discomfort is there to motivate you to take a creative action (to do something else). So then if you do something else you may get to feel the satisfaction that comes with success and relief of the frustration.
Unfortunately, most people don't understand that all feelings are good, even the ones we call “bad feelings”. These motivating feelings are there to move us toward success, fulfillment and learning. Bless the pain and move away from it, in a new and creative direction.
Most of us use other strategies in dealing with uncomfortable feelings. We, because of our lack of understanding, attempt to distract ourselves from the pain. This does not remove the cause of the pain. It only takes our mind off of it for a while. Typical ways of distraction are food, drugs, sex, purchasing and consumption of goods, or even attempts to do other things (workaholic, power seeking, etc.).
To extend this example further. . . Many people find themselves over weight because they are caught in this cycle. They experience an uncomfortable feeling, and then distract themselves with food, such as feel lonely and eat. The truth is that if you went and bought three chocolate bars, named the each, Tom, Dick, and Harry, after you have eaten them, you are still lonely! You never took care of the real problem, loneliness.
Here are some examples of feelings and what they mean:
- Lonely – need of the company of someone that cares about me.
- Frustration – what I am doing is not working.
- Anxiety – fear that something bad might happen.
- Depression – feeling hopeless, helpless or ineffective.
- Bored – desire of a fun, interesting or growth experience.
- Anger – experience of unfairness directed at you.
- Guilt – experience of unfairness directed toward an other person.
Correct use of the mind is creative. Its responsibility is to care for the individual and those whom he or she cares about. This is best done by "know(ing) thy self" a quote I use here to mean, understanding and responding to your feelings in a productive and satisfying way.
Eating, drugging, sexing, buying, and on and on, are often used as ways of distracting ourselves from our feelings and this is self destructive. First because over-doing has side effects (obesity, addiction, disease, ruin).
Over-doing is any act that is done that does not satisfy a need, but only serves as a temporary distraction (i.e., eating because of a feeling such as anxiety or loneliness, rather than good care of the body). This also includes over-working, and over-indulgence in hobbies (including surfing the web).
Working is good, hobbies are good, eating is good, all things are good (maybe even sacred) but only in their proper moderation. Moderation means, enough to satisfy a real need. I don't want to sound to restrictive, remember we all have a need for fun and recreation, including hobbies and sports, they provide us with a chance to grow (mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually).
To summarize: The mind is NOT the brain. The mind/body connection allows us to experience pleasurable and uncomfortable feelings/emotions. Uncomfortable feelings are there for a good reason, they are there to motivate and guide us. Bless the pain, it is the great teacher. Satisfy your needs, mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. Only distracting yourself from these needs leads to a cycle of over-doing, leading to more pain.
Life As A Place of Learning
Life is a patient teacher. At first she comes teaching life's lessons like a whisper (teaching softly and gently). But often times we are not listening, but that is okay, she is long suffering.
The teacher comes again, this time speaking more directly, making the lesson more compelling. And, if we are too busy with other things that is okay.
The teacher we call life returns, and this time with a shout! She causes much discomfort, but we have free will, and we can point our attention elsewhere.
And this too is okay, because she does come teaching again, and this time with a boot, that smacks us with definite pain. And here we often drug ourselves, realizing temporary relief of the pain. And this is also okay, because the teacher has made a deal with you before you came into this world to give you the lessons you need.
So she comes again with a hammer! One last chance to learn in this life, its your choice, ignore the pain, drug it away, or run from it, it doesn't matter. If you don't learn the lessons for which you contracted for in this life (love, creativity and responsibility, at least), then the great teacher will allow you to come to the end of this life still ignorant of the great lessons, until next time... when she will come teaching again.
Bless the pain. Life was meant to have some discomfort. How much discomfort depends on the student.