Posts Tagged ‘controling your thinking’

Your brain is amazing! Although it weighs only about three pounds, it may well be the most complex structure in the universe. It’s been noted that there are as many neurons in your brain as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. You are a galaxy of brain activity. A typical neuron in your cortex receives input from some 10,000 other neurons.

As a baby you were able to process sounds spaced at a millisecond apart. You totally mastered a language with a vocabulary of 50,000 to 60,000 active words. Some of you learned several.

It has been estimated that you have from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day. You are really busy, even just inside your head.

Busy at what? I’ve been watching your brain work. You think about what is going on around you. When TV or conversation or action engages your attention, then your mind is on that. You focus on what is right in front of you, on work, people, food. But when you are alone, even when you are with people, you sometimes seemed to fall into using your own personal galaxy to reflect, to interpret what is or what has been happening to you. At this point you rehearse the past or evaluate the moment and give your life meaning.

You use your amazing memory to replay trips, events, conversations and to stamp them with value.  And sometimes thinking about the past, launches  you into wondering about what’s ahead. You forecast and interpret the future based on the past, on past success, future danger, imagined solutions, growing problems.

The deal is, your brain jumps all over the place in a given day, moving around between the past, present and future.  Are you in control? Are you in control of your mental movements, of your focus, of your thoughts, of your 16,000 words a day? Let’s be honest. Sometimes you are and sometimes you aren’t.

Could you be more in control? A lot of experts now say you could. It’s a strong part of our human mindset. We tend to believe we can be in control of everything. And when we see that we aren’t, we tend to believe we can be if we just try harder.

You’ll find tons of support for this point of view. One school of such thinking is called cognitive therapy.  This way of thinking says that it is possible to control your mind. This approach encourages the exchange of negative thoughts for positive thoughts. There is something to this.

But not always. I’ve been watching you think, my friend, and I know that you aren’t always in control of your thoughts nor will you be nor can you be. Your mind is an ocean of activity. It will storm and it will calm, and you won’t always be in charge of that. Let’s have some humility here.

When life gets you, when you lose someone close, when you suffer things you don’t want, your mind will wander, and jump, and break away like wild horses. And then as time passes, and it tires of its flight, it will calm, and come again to you, returning home, returning to a safe place within you.  You will have positive thoughts, and you will have negative thoughts, but you won’t always be in control of your neurons. That flies in the face of what many people will tell you, what you may want to believe, but this, my friend, is true. We all fail when it comes to herding all the stars in the galaxy in perfect harmony.

That said, some control is possible, essential to good living.  You do have some control. It is good to have some control. I recommend you consider  using you mind, when you have control of it, like this:

Think about other people. This is one of the most extraordinary things you can do with your amazing brain. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This isn’t natural. But this is supreme. The people who have lived best, and who have taken pain out of the world, put their incredible minds on others. Do so. You won’t regret this. The best use of a mind is to help someone else.

Use your brain to take action. Please don’t sit and think and reflect to such a degree that you become passive and fail to take needed action. Don’t over-think your life. Your amazing galaxy of neurons is built for doing. Activity increases brain function. I urge you, balance thinking with acting. 

Take time to reflect on your life. Acting without wise thinking can be tragic. Take time to think deeply. Think about life. Think about God. Consider your successes and what you have learned from them. When you are hurt and when you lose take time to grieve. Rehearse what you will say before you go into a difficult conversation. A return to positive thinking will take time. It won’t help to be dishonest about your thoughts and feelings. Sit and think. Be. Life isn’t just doing. Life is being, being an authentic mind.