Change is not just about your thoughts
I recently watched the film “The Living Matrix” which features the work of a number of people involved in examining how our world actually works. It was a good film in many ways and explained well some of the top-level notions about quantum physics and the interconnectedness of life.
One of the things I noticed was the usual preponderance of people pronouncing that our thoughts determine so much in our lives, and the mention of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). Speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of our thoughts and how they affect us.
There was a small portion of the film that discussed the power of emotions and the power of the heart, and then the focus shifted back to the brain and thoughts. If one only had access to the material presented here, one could conclude that changing one’s thoughts was the key to better health, peace and happiness.
For a long time, I was in that same camp. I studied NLP and Hypnosis (Ericksonian Hypnosis was the basis for NLP), read books, took courses, listened to lectures, etc., etc. all about how to improve my mind. I can’t recall exactly when and how, but eventually an awareness in me was triggered – we’re not our thoughts and changing them is not the answer, but only part of the process of transformation.
The danger of specialization
I’ve written before about the conceit of the prefrontal cortex, that part of our brain that thinks it is charge and tries to overcome our emotions. One of the dangers of being too specialized is that one can miss all kinds of other information that lies on the periphery of our focus. This is what I observed when watching The Living Matrix. I saw a series of people, with brilliant minds and incredible aptitude, focusing almost all their attention on just one part of what makes up the complex beings that we are – our brains and thoughts.
What was missing from the film, and it is a big omission, is a discussion of how we are made up of, at the very least:
- our emotions
- our body sensations
- our thoughts
- our beliefs
- our memories
- our consciousness filters
- our ways of being.
Humans are a complex organism and our various aspects are intertwined to such a degree that we must take a “whole person” view to properly honor our reality. We must acknowledge that each one of these aspects affects all the others. Our thoughts do not stand alone nor do they drive the ship that is us.