Entries from June 2008 ↓

The power of affirmations

What ever Tyler Durden from Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club may say, I am a beautiful and unique snowflake.

You see, your reality is your delusion. Whatever your outlook on life, yourself, or others, it’ll always be subjective. You may align your outlook with thousands or millions of other human beings, but their observation of the universe will also be subjective. In essence, you can believe what you want to believe. Obviously, if you stray to far from the collective reality then bad things will start happening, like bankruptcy if you believe you are materially wealthy beyond your means, or being committed to an institution if you start proclaiming yourself as Jesus. However, small deviations from what your mind (and especially your insecurities) might initially tell are actually incredibly powerful.

I’m a firm believer in the mind being part of the body. You can believe things about soul, or spirit, but your existence is intricately tied to how your body, and in particular your brain works. The brain is a neural network, neural networks work through updating the connections between neurons based on feedback of whether they were useful to activate at a certain time (in an extremely abstract and slightly incorrect summary). Another feature of the brain’s neural network, is that connections are established and only reinforce themselves if they are actually used. Thus if you repeat an affirmation, you are literally making yourself believe it. It doesn’t matter if you initially don’t believe it, the fact that the sentence… for example “I eat healthy foods”, might not apply immediately, doesn’t matter. Purely by parsing and processing THAT idea, it’s becoming part of your consciousness. If you repeat this 100 times a day “I eat healthy foods” becomes a stronger connection (indeed, VERY strong, since most ideas we have are not repeated so frequently unless we are studying or whatever) and more ingrained in your psyche. Later, even if you don’t consciously perceive that thought, it’s still being activated and used at an unconscious level.

Now, I’m not going to claim this will suddenly change you, but like anything worth doing, it takes time. In particular, intermittent learning is a lot more powerful than swatting for an exam and forgetting everything afterwards, and the same applies to affirmations. Doing affirmations for a couple of days won’t make much of a difference (although it’ll plant a seed).

Since most of this post has been me spouting knowledge which I’m too lazy (oops, this is a negative identification… I’m not actually lazy, I’ve just got more pressing matters to attend to then searching the net to support one of my mind dumps) to find references for, here is something related. The idea of affirmations could be made even more powerful by watching your brain in real-time as you make the statement, and compare it to the reaction of other statements you either believe to be stronger true or false as recently seen on TED.

Your mind can never change
Unless you ask it to
Lovingly re-arrange
The thoughts that make you blue
The things that bring you down
Only do harm to you
And so make your choice joy
The joy belongs to you

Massive Attack – What your soul sings

You/Food/Exercise are the perfect drug

This is the first of a number of essays I’ve drafted out, but have left stagnating in my “to write” pile. They are distinctly without references, because I didn’t have the time to trawl for them, but I welcome critique and/or addendum from my readers.

Government’s seem to have a fascination with criminalising substances that change mental awareness, however there are so many things that do this, it’s strange that they intervene in some cases but not in others. Consistency and reliability are key components of trust, how does one trust a government with an erratic value system for experiencing our consciousness?

It’s been exclaimed in poetry and songs, love is a drug, a quintessential part of human experience. The euphoric highs when you meet someone special, planning how you might met with them again for a coffee in order to get another dose of those powerful attractants. Let alone all the other emotions which they themselves are based on a concoction of organic compounds. Being human, love is a strong attractor for the complex system of the human mind. If you get torn asunder from this attractor, it can feel like physical pain: severe withdrawal symptoms that can lead to anger, regret, and depression. In extreme cases murder (if other people are involved), and/or suicide. And yet the government allows it. This seemingly random experience that we cannot control – unlike substances that change our awareness, which we are free to control through our own will and determination in the universe (if you believe in free will of course, I chose to, even if I don’t really, because it’s leads to a much more effective life).

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