Re: [CumberlandGreenRiverBC] how the mind works

From: Jasmine
Sent on: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 11:51 AM
This is something I have to remember to work on constantly.  I have a relatively mild form of bipolar disorder.  I sometimes tend toward melancholy/depression, or on the "up" side (especially if my life is very stressful, as it is now) anxiety.  I do not take anti-depressants or any other medications at this time.  I work on controlling it with mental awareness, thought-shifting, etc (and would love any tips anyone cares to offer).  Sometimes this works pretty well, other times it is nearly impossible.  The worst part is that sometimes the mood I am trying to shift is so strong I literally forget to try and change it (I'm in it so deep, if you get my meaning).  But I keep trying and it does help.

As to the traumatic memories, I had a very traumatic period many years ago in my late teens that involved abuse.  I had nightmares for years.  Finally, at one point, I was able to change the outcome of a nightmare - make it come out a different/positive way.  I have no idea how I was able to do this - it seemed spontaneous but I'm sure it wasn't. 

It's true that we understand so little about the mind and the subject fascinates me.  Eric, that in on phantom limb syndrome is fascinating. 


-----Original Message-----
From: Sharon Rush <[address removed]>
To: ecology-34 <[address removed]>
Sent: Tue, May 1,[masked]:17 am
Subject: [CumberlandGreenRiverBC] how the mind works

        I have been listening lately to a lot of new information about how the mind works.  There are some new therapies that work with traumatic memory, so that the mind is fooled into forgetting and retrained to react differently.  This is very powerful work and deserves attention.   This is useful information for more normal people as well.
            When I was working with people who had been sexually abused, I used a technique similar to some of the new ideas.   I would take the person back to the moment before they felt themselves to be helpless (you can do this yourself by the way) and get them to change the script.   We would act out the new script and it would seem to take the place in their mind of the old memory. When they thought of the old event, they would remember the new memory instead or as well as the old one.    
            Gradually the new memory settles in, the old memory is forgotten, and the old resulting trauma ameliorates. 
         The mind can be fooled.     

This was brought to mind in a delightful way a few days ago.   I was telling myself to just get happy.   Suddenly I looked up to the right and there were three yellow butterflies dancing up into the air.   (As usual in a moment like that I wish my eyes had a camera so I could capture the memory as it was and make a painting or something.)   But the interesting thing is that I would probably not have seen those butterflies and their delightful flight had I not been thinking in that way.   Although the butterflies appeared to be joyful, one would suppose objectively that they were just obeying their instincts to be lively.  So much of what seems mysterious, passionate, or serindipidous may be actually because we are projecting our view, our needs, and expectations on what we see and we find what we look for.
       I am sure you see how our thinking can get us into trouble by setting up expectations in the environment or get us out of trouble by changing our expectations and memories.  
       Our brain can be developed to be more rigorous and focused and to be more sensitive and subtle.   Just concentrating on one thing for a while makes your brain obedient, like a wild child that needs to sit in the corner.   Notice the quality and content of your thoughts.  Would you rather be thinking about something else?  Most of what we think is in the form of judgements.   We can let that go and settle down to simple awareness for most things.   That will begin to free our mind to have room for other kinds of thinking like logic, gratefulness or affection.
       I would enjoy hearing any comments you might have on this topic.


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