We all know what it’s like to be triggered—to have said something we wish we hadn’t or to have reacted in a way that wasn’t helpful. What if there was a way to interrupt our knee-jerk responses and make different choices? Each of us gets hooked in habitual ways of seeing the world, but how we respond to these situations will in a large part determine how much peace and freedom we experience in our lives.
The purpose of this book is to help you see the ways in which you get caught or “hooked” in habitual responses to life, and how you can learn to choose a “fresh alternative.” This then allows you to experience a life of freedom, joy, and true happiness.
Following is an excerpt from my personal journal, one that started me on my personal path to Self-Discovery:
“Change entered my life suddenly and painfully, causing huge shifts in my internal and external world. While I did not understand it at the time, later, upon reflection, I was guided to see things about myself, my relationships, and my life. I was resistant, and the more resistant I was to change, the bigger the messages and the deeper the hole I was falling into became.
It arrived with a huge announcement and momentous shift in every aspect of my life. In some extraordinary way, it seemingly happened without the usual pattern of my efforts to control my life. I was feeling an urgent desire to explore, discover, and take action to overhaul my life. It was during my own process of discovery that there were times I found that change had happened, seemingly without my involvement. I even wondered whether all of my hard work had anything to do with it or if it just happened by way of grace.
This doesn’t mean that my efforts played no part in the miracle of change—it did. It’s just that looking back on it now I see that my efforts were only part of the picture that finally revealed itself to me in the form of shifting my thoughts and my life patterns. Through my new understanding of the workings of the mind, a softening occurred that led me to living from my heart.
I came to understand that the same laws that govern everything in our Universe were overseeing my own internal and external changes. I lived in the realm of my busyness, believing that everything external in my life was the reflection of who I was, which was what I had come to call “my winning formula.”
Sometimes the hard part is to accept life as it happens and to stop and let go of our need to control life and hand it over to the Universe. For me, this happened by way of distraction and disruption. My attention was being called away to other more pressing concerns related to mere survival, or so I thought. I was losing everything I considered important in my life. At that time, I was not “seeing” the silence of a Divine embrace and that the miracle of change was happening.
My first visit to my own coach and mentor was not what I expected. Somehow, I believe this might be true for others who experience their first “therapy” session as well. She began by asking me to tell her something about myself. So naturally, I told her all about what I do, what I have done, accomplished, acquired, etc.
She sat there looking at me and after what seemed like a very long time, she said very softly, “Thanks for sharing your stories, Christina. But what I really want to know is more about you.”
Now it was my silence that seemed to pierce the space between us. The volume of my mind chatter was soaring rapidly saying things like, “What does she mean? I just told her about me. These aren’t stories. This is who I am.” I finally replied, “I’m not sure what you mean. I’ve just told you about myself.”
Again, with this gentle voice as if I was fragile or something, she said, “Why don’t you begin by telling me what you are feeling right now?” I answered with, “Well, they said I am a workaholic and I leave no room in my life for anything else.”
“Yes, I understand that is why you came to see me. How do you feel?”
“You mean about what they said?”
“No, Christina. It’s not about what they said. What I want to know is how you are feeling. How do you feel about you, about your life, and about life itself?”
The mind chatter was kicking in again. Why was she speaking to me as if I were broken or something? “Well, I don’t know. I never really thought about it.”
She put down her notepad and reached over to take my hand. “Feeling is not really a thinking exercise, Christina. Why not try to let go of your mind and simply tell me how you feel.”
Now I did feel fragile! Wow, how did she do that? I was feeling great, but now I’m thinking, “What if I was broken?” There was another seemingly long silence and when I finally did speak, I could hardly hear or recognize myself. “I don’t know how I feel. I really don’t feel very much at all.”
What I meant to say was, “I have lots of feelings about things and I feel for others, but when it comes to my feelings, I don’t know how I feel.” With the words having just tumbled out from my now quivering lips, I was stunned and thought, “Who was that speaking? Did I really just say that?”
“Well Christina, that’s a very good place for us to begin our process of discovery. I’ll see you again next week and we’ll pick it up from there.”
Exiting her office, my mind chatter increased another tenfold. Discovery? What is that? And what is it we’re looking for? And what’s up with that unknown awkward voice within me that stumbled and tripped on the words that came spilling out along with my tears. I became concerned.
Back in my car, I actually shouted out loud to no one in particular and said, “Who was that voice?” Although I was laughing at myself, on some other level I felt fear in the pit of my stomach. Then I stopped laughing as a powerful thought occurred to me and the mind chatter stopped. I thought, “What if someone within us is listening?” Little did I know that I had reached a choice point in my life and I was about to embark on a very long and equally rewarding journey.
...end of journal...
How many of you wonder why we do what we do and why we keep doing that? Does this sound familiar? “No matter what I do, the results are always the same.” Do you ever wonder, “What is wrong with me? Why do I keep doing the same things again and again, even when I know better? Why does he/she always seem to do that?” Or even, “Where did my child pick up that behavior?”
Let’s begin our journey of “The Mind is the Map” by looking at our perspectives. It is important to understand that what you see is not in the data. It is determined by our own perceptions or our interpretation of the data.
Perception is our belief. When we truly believe in a perception, we see it as the one and only reality, ignoring all other possibilities. Our mind has a host of programmed perceptions that directly shape the biology, behavior, and character of our lives. Therefore, it is important that we know the origin of these perceptions.
Where Do Our Perceptions Come From?
A child’s perceptions of the world are directly downloaded into the subconscious, without discrimination, and without filters of the analytical self-conscious mind, which doesn’t fully exist. We download limiting or sabotaging beliefs, and those perceptions or misperceptions become our truths. Consequently, our fundamental perceptions about life and our role in it are learned without our having the capacity to choose or reject those beliefs. We were simply programmed. I call this “The Writing on Our Wall.”
The subconscious mind and the unconscious mind are largely invisible to us and it’s interesting to note that our own subconscious and unconscious behaviors tend to cruise on autopilot. If our database is one of misperception, our subconscious mind will dutifully generate behavior patterns that are coherent with those programmed truths.
Once programmed, that information would inevitably influence that individual’s behavior for the rest of his or her life. This does not mean that we cannot change our minds—we can.
Where the conscious mind is creative, the subconscious mind only has a marginal aptitude for creativity. And while the conscious mind can express free will, the subconscious mind expresses only prerecorded stimulus-response habits. The subconscious mind is simply an information processor that records all of our perceptual experiences and forever plays them back at the push of a button, like a tape recorder.
The Writing On Our Wall
To avoid the shame and blame game, it is important to remember that the information has been recorded as a function of the workings of the brain. The writing on our wall has been downloaded indiscriminately from the words and actions of others who were no doubt programmed with many of the same limiting beliefs. Interestingly enough, we only become aware of our subconscious mind’s button-pushing programs when someone else “pushes our buttons.”
What happens when somebody pushes our buttons and we get triggered? Actually, the entire image of pushing buttons is far too slow and linear to describe the awesome data processing capacity of the subconscious mind. Once we learn a behavior pattern, such as walking, getting dressed, or driving a car, our brain relegates these programs to the subconscious mind.
For example, when we get in our car, we no longer need to remember to put on our seat belt, put the key in the ignition, check the mirrors, put the car in drive, etc. We do these actions as if we are doing them automatically without thinking about them because we have done them so frequently that our brain now regulates these tasks to the subconscious mind.
How many times have you driven down the same road and were unaware that you were even driving? So often in fact that you hardly pay attention and cannot believe how quickly the time passed while your mind was thinking about something other than the drive.
The Subconscious Mind: A Million Times Faster Than the Conscious
The subconscious mind has awesome data processing capabilities interpreting and responding to some 40 million plus nerve impulses per second. Whereas the conscious mind, located in the pre-frontal cortex, only processes about forty nerve impulses per second. This means, as an information processor, the subconscious mind is one million times faster and more powerful than the conscious mind. This answers our original question—Why do we do what we do and why do we keep doing that?
The subconscious mind controls every behavior that is not attended to by the conscious mind, which is just about everything in present time! For most of us, the conscious mind is so preoccupied about the past, the future, or some imaginary problem, that we leave the day-to-day, moment-to-moment tasks to the subconscious mind.
Scientists have concluded that the conscious mind contributes only 5% of our cognitive activity. This means the subconscious mind is controlling our decisions, emotions, actions, and behaviors 95% of the time. So, if we are operating from the subconscious mind 95% of the time, and the information stored on the subconscious data bank was programmed between the ages of 0 to 6, we might ask ourselves how it feels to have a 4-year-old driving our bus!
Many of us occasionally feel that we are of two minds about something—that we are conflicted. The mind that had the idea is the conscious mind, the one with the 40-bit processor. It’s the part of the mind that creates, wants, desires, and sets intentions. It’s the part we really must pay attention to because it’s the part of the mind that imagines who we think we are, and yet it only controls 5% or less of our lives!
With our subconscious mind running the show 95% of the time, our fate is actually under the control of our recorded programs or habits we may not even know about or that are not of our own choosing. The “writing on our wall” is again a term I use to describe the downloaded information and programming that is recorded on the subconscious mind.
What is fascinating is that we check the writing on our walls for every experience much like a tape machine with tracks; the tracks on the subconscious mind are what we call neuropathways. When we have an experience, the subconscious mind checks the writing on the wall for programming from a similar past experience and says, “Oh yeah, we know what to do here.” And off we go to do the thing we do, often without our awareness.
We are habitually reacting, taking action, or performing some kind of behavior to every experience we encounter based on this automatic programming.
So, Who’s Controlling Our Subconscious Programming?
There is no entity in the brain to control our subconscious programs. It’s the mind, not the brain, that tells the body what to do. We can self-talk using reason to communicate with and try to change our subconscious and it will only have the same effect as trying to change a program on a cassette tape by talking to the tape player. In either case, there is no entity or component within the mechanism of the brain that will respond to our dialogue.
The good news is that we can transform the trance using Emotional Intelligence. Our willpower and our intentions need a new pathway. To create this new pathway, we will need to examine what’s written on our wall. These subconscious programs are not fixed and unchangeable. We do have the ability to rewrite our limiting beliefs and, in the process, take control of our lives.
It is important to remember that others who wrote on our wall did so unknowingly, as they were in turn programmed by other factors such as culture, society, religion, old beliefs, etc., backward through time. The stories from our ancestral history, along with our ancestor’s comments and any conclusions they passed on to us, it’s all written on our walls and yet it is only a story we keep telling our self. It is only their experience in a different time and place.
With this understanding, we are able to shift from the blame game to responsibility—our responsibility is our ability to respond. The reality is that there is no good/bad, right/wrong, shame/blame. Every experience simply “is as it is.” It’s all about our unique perspective and it’s coming from the writing on our wall.
©2018 by Christina Reeves and Dimitrios Spanos.
Reprinted with permission. All Rights Reserved.
(This article/excerpt is from the book's prologue, by Christina Reeves)
The Mind is the Map: Awareness is the Compass, and Emotional Intelligence is the Key to Living Mindfully from the Heart
by Christina Reeves and Dimitrios Spanos
In an enjoyable dialog format, the authors guide us to higher levels of understanding who we are. The book is enhanced by beautifully designed graphics illustrating the topics discussed. At the end of each chapter is a self-help section with tips and tools for self-discovery, self-reflection, journaling and meditation that enable readers to understand the workings of their mind and emotions. These questions help identify our patterns and provide a pathway to resolve depression, anxiety, stress and unproductive habits while simultaneously building self-esteem and confidence. For business and industry leaders, the ideas and processes within these pages will help you achieve top performance capacity, leading to business success as well as personal success.
About the Author
Christina Reeves is a Holistic Life Coach and Energy Psychologist. She is also an accomplished author, speaker, and facilitator, hosting workshops, seminars and lectures in North America and Internationally. Over the past fifteen years she has developed her own programs for assisting others in the process of self-discovery and personal transformation. Working from her clinic and training facility, she continues to share her methodologies and techniques mentoring and supporting others to take responsibility in reaching their full potential while guiding them towards enjoying a joyful and happy life. For more info visit https://themindisthemap.com/