If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal.
– Norman Vincent Peale (1898 – 1993)
It’s almost too simple to imagine that we live in a world we create for ourselves within our own mind. But it’s a fact.
Few would disagree that there are real things in the real world, stuff made of matter and energy. The more scientifically savvy might say that we should include dark matter and dark energy. Fair enough.
How do we know so well that these things exist? We see, hear, taste, touch or smell them, or we see evidence of their existence such as we do when we detect that gamma rays have been somewhere we have a detector.
How do all these senses and cognitive processes work together? They’re all conduits of information for the brain. The brain, in turn, acts on some of them by sending out messages through the same conduits to nerves and muscles so they will act according to the brain’s wishes.
Work with me here while we try an analogy. Let’s say that we substitute NASA’s Mars Rover staff for the brain and the rovers themselves for the senses. We accept that the rovers are mechanical robots of sorts. They sense light and have other equipment that performs similar functions to our own senses.
The NASA staff act like the brain for the rover robots, receiving messages from the robots and sending messages back to the robots to act according to NASA’s wishes.
What do the NASA people know about current conditions on Mars if the rovers refuse to send or receive signals? Nothing. What does your brain know about the real world around it if your senses refuse to send to or receive signals from your brain? Nothing. In the absence of input and the ability to send signals to their remote slaves, neither the brain nor the NASA staff know a thing.
Do you remember when the first rover landed on Mars and began to send signals back? Pretty exciting, as I recall. Not long after signals began to be exchanged, the rover captured an image that looked as if there was some sort of life form or manufactured object in the form of a face. Everyone at NASA and many who watched from home on their TV sets had a guess of what the “face” might be.
People had all sorts of guesses, including speculation about alien life on Mars, either then or in the past. You may have had an opinion as well because that’s what our brain does, draw conclusions based on input. Using the same “sensory” input, or reality, many brains reached many different conclusions. Some of them were outright fanciful, if not borderline crazy.
Every time you see, hear, taste, touch or smell something, your brain reaches a conclusion about what’s out there in the world around it. Other people’s brains, given the exact same input, could easily reach different conclusions. What, then, is real?
“Real,” to us, is what our brain says it is. Our brain doesn’t give a whit what other brains think, it stays with its own conclusions. What it “saw” through its senses and concluded from the input is what is real to the brain.
That applies to many things in our lives. In truth, to almost everything. No two brains see the same reality. So what’s real?
What’s real is what your brain says is real. So why not, as Dr. Peale suggested, have your brain sense a bright and happy world?
That’s not reality, you say. Some bad stuff goes on in the world. Just read a daily newspaper or watch television news to see some of it. Fair enough. But what is your source for good news, for happy and bright events that would more than counterbalance the bad stuff we get fed constantly? Most of us don’t have that source for positive input or feedback.
So our feeble brains reach the only conclusion they can, based on what they have to work with. The world must be a terrible place with lots or dreadful stuff going on. Who could blame a brain for thinking that way?
With that as a starting point each day, what’s to stop your brain from going deeper, from making more dire conclusions and predictions based on the same input day after day? Surely life would become depressing.
Some people couldn’t cope with that level of depression, from constant, unrelenting negative input. They might turn to alcohol or drugs. They might fight with and kill a spouse. They might rob a convenience store when they need money to pay off bad debts or drug dealers. They might adopt any of numerous emotional illnesses we commonly call neurological disorders. They might commit suicide.
Who could blame a brain for that? It acts on what input it receives. If the input is all bad, constantly, maybe it eventually loses control. Maybe it causes its slave senses to turn a car into a lethal weapon or to rage at other drivers, co-workers or children.
You can see how this works. Fill your brain with what you want it to conclude about your world (it’s world) and your brain will respond accordingly. It’s that simple.
Fill it with good and helpful thoughts and the world will be good and helpful. You know how it works now. It’s not deception. It’s working with what you have around you.
A brighter and happier you will make those around you happier as well. Bonus. As they get happier, others they meet will be happier too and eventually it will spread farther. Around the world maybe. Another bonus.
But there’s more. Call within the next 15 minutes and you can have your brain give itself a dose of feel-good neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin.
All for the same low price. The time you took to read this.
Act now. Before you get to a newspaper or television.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a guidebook for parents and teachers who want to have bright and happy children grow into happy and healthy adults.
Learn more at http://billallin.com