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They say the average person has[masked] or so thoughts a day. This takes the form of the voice in our head narrating our experience, judging and commenting on those around us and on our own performance.
Ever wonder where these thoughts come from? Turns out that the "left side interpreter" has the job of creating this constant commentary on our experience. What we think of as "us", the subjective feeling of having a self or personhood, is the result of the interpreter creating a story, a narrative to explain this unfathomable experience we call life. Just like fingernails growing or noses running, this function is beyond our control. Try to stop thinking and judging!
This commentator is more concerned with coherence, that is the plausibility of an explanation, than accuracy. Thus, you walk into a boardroom filled with long faces and what does the interpreter assume? "I am going to lose my job!"
The commentator also loves to label. As it is closely associated with the language centers of the brain, it categorizes everything it encounters. Good versus bad, pleasant versus unpleasant, worthy versus unworthy. Me versus you. It categorizes indiscriminately and uses much of its energy categorizing ourselves. "I am bad, not good. I need to be better. I am not worthy." Thus we are the only species that can lie to ourselves, convince ourselves, love or hate ourselves. Our interpreter splits us up. Divides us into good and bad parts. WTF?
And despite changing our external circumstances, our internal narrative never really changes. Thus the anorexic supermodel, the wealthy businessperson who will never get enough money. This sense of inadequacy in a Mensa member. Until we question our basic assumptions about life, the internal story won't change.
What is the antidote? How can we stop the interpreter? We can't. Try to stop growing your fingernails.
What we can do is 1) be aware we are being led astray by the interpreter through mindfulness and 2) questioning the fruits of its labor: our thoughts. Once questioned, our stories no longer hold the power to stress us out. We see on a deep that the thoughts we think are true are simply confabulations of a brain doing the best it can.
During this afternoon workshop, we will learn more about this brain function and deepen our skill of inquiry.