The mind plays tricks on a daily basis yet most people are unaware of this. They believe these thoughts are their own. In reality these are false belief systems. A way for the mind to control the true self into submission. Since most people don’t know these negative thoughts are not their own, they wrongly believe it’s intuition.
We’ve all seen images where pedestrians are overlooking a huge crater in the ground, but it’s nothing but art created on a flat sidewalk. But it looks real. What about Op Art? A whole genre of art that tricks our brain into misinterpretation that creates illusions.
It’s easy to generalize and give opinions on a topic like this but I aim to provide some facts and insights I gained through my own experiences.
I got interested in human psychology and psychotherapy around five years ago when I became a mother. A friend highly recommended a self-development course she did and forced me to sign up. It was an eye opening journey into myself. My thoughts, my beliefs and my resulting negative behaviours. I learnt the root causes of these behaviour patterns. Why I reacted a certain way, the story I believed to be true about myself, my perceptions and eventually my breakthroughs.
I learnt an important lesson as well. MY PERCEPTION IS JUST MY PERCEPTION. IT ISN’T REALITY. It’s a version of the truth and truth has different versions, depending on who you ask.
Why is the mind controlling?
This is best explained with this quote from Psychology Today, “Negativity bias refers to the fact that humans focus on negative events, information, or emotions more than their positive counterparts”
In other words the mind looks for negative information as a way to identify dangers we may face. In today’s world however, the news media takes advantage of this phenomenon to keep us glued to the screens.
Our brain likes to simplify the information it’s fed. In an age of information it picks and chooses, at will, what it wants to remember. Mind creates scenarios as a way to protect us from perceived threats. It’s a way of dealing with emotions and perceived dangers.
Over a long term period this so-called protectiveness becomes a limiting belief system that’s harmful and debilitating.
Just as the mind misinterprets some visual information, it also misinterprets words, often creates false memories and false narratives. The false memory phenomenon is when the brain plants or distorts real events to make them appear distinctly different.
If you think of the mind as the “ego”, it becomes easier to understand the dominance it wants and craves. It wants the world to appreciate it and us, while it feeds us with false scenarios to control our behaviours. It’s like an evil genius.
How to get your thoughts back?
Now that we know our mind has a way of controlling us (without our knowledge), it’s imperative to realize when this happens.
Condition yourself to do this:
- Start to differentiate between your thoughts and your mind.
- Notice how frequently these thoughts occur.
- Notice how you feel, how your body feels or reacts during these thoughts.
- Stop yourself and acknowledge whenever you notice it. IMPORTANT: Tell yourself these are not your thoughts and shift back to the present.
- It will take time and constant awareness – as your mind won’t appreciate losing control over you. Just being aware and acknowledging this is not you, it’s your mind playing tricks will make a huge impact on your life.
When you have thoughts about the past or the future, it’s usually thoughts or scenarios repeated in your head. Something you should have said or done or something someone else said or did.
This is your mind keeping you preoccupied with thoughts or events you have no control over. They serve no benefit and ruin your presence in the moment. Being in the moment all times is the ultimate aim.
How can we know the difference?
Remember these tricks steal the present by transporting you into the past or future. Neither can be altered or controlled. Past is gone, it’s happened and can’t be changed. Future can be planned, to an extent, but to dream about it all the time is neither helpful nor will it achieve anything! It’s a waste of time.
Intuition, on the other hand, is our best guide through any situation. Intuition wants the best for us. It’s our survival instinct. It warns us when we’re heading towards danger and tells us right from wrong. It always has our back. Think of intuition as the heart – it serves us loyally, works hard all the time and wants us to be happy. The biggest difference between heart and mind is this – heart serves and the mind controls.
The problem is if you’ve been controlled by your mind for a long time it’s impossible to tell the difference. Know that you are not your mind.
Simple Method of Differentiation:
- When thoughts are about past or present – it’s the mind
- When its a physical reaction – It’s instinct
- When it’s a negative thought (blaming others or yourself) – it’s the mind
- When it’s positive, hopeful, beneficial or a decision between right or wrong – it’s your instinct, which will always lead you on the right path.
It’s not easy to know the difference especially when you don’t know there’s a problem. A factor that supports this lack of awareness is how we’re conditioned to follow our minds and not our hearts. We’re taught from childhood how the heart is emotional, sensitive and weak, while the mind is smart, calculating and manipulative. As if basic human emotions are a weakness yet manipulation is smart!
5 Stages of Awareness:
- Awareness of mind control
- Identify whenever it happens
- Frequency of thoughts
- Ability to stop
- Being in the moment all the time
Once this is achieved it’s easier to hear our other voice – which isn’t always a voice but a feeling, or a physical reaction. With time when you learn to find it and begin to trust it, it will become stronger. It’s then easily reached when you want to look inwards.
Woo Woo Nonsense?
If this sounds like woo woo nonsense then let me tell you my own experience. In my 20s I hadn’t yet learnt to listen to my intuition. Because of this I ended up in terrible situations with long term consequences.
I lived through and survived a very dark and depressive period that changed my outlook on life. It taught me to trust my instinct no matter what anyone else says. To trust myself and not be influenced by others. Ever since, I’ve honoured my inner wisdom and am content.
One time I was about to make a decision one way but when I said it out loud my body reacted as if it’s the worst decision of my life. I suddenly felt a depression come over me. I was taken aback by this blatant reaction which was a very strong feeling. It confused me but I knew what I needed to do. So I said out loud the opposite of what I’d said before and sure enough, my whole being suddenly became lighter, full of joy and I was smiling. It was crazy! I listened to my instinct for that specific decision and I’ve never been more grateful for that. It changed my life.
In the end, it’s worth the time to get yourself back from your controlling mind. Become aware and follow the steps of awareness. It’s freeing and the positivity and gratitude you’ll eventually feel, makes it all worthwhile.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nadda identifies as a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of fashion design and marketing experience. She wore many hats over the years as a personal trainer, yoga instructor, fashion educator, digital/social media marketer and most recently as a ux designer. She enjoys writing about her interests and life experiences on her personal blog.