Renewing your mind...

When I worked for Christian psychologist, Dr. Bill Gillham, in college, he used to talk about the pathways in your brain.  That some patterns were 6 lane highways and others just rabbit trails—and most importantly—that you could change which were which based on usage.

The Yoga Sutras deal almost exclusively with retraining the mind—a sort of ancient psychology manual for overcoming what it terms the kleshas (misapprehension about reality, ego, attachment, aversion, and fear).

The Apostle Paul writes in his letter to the Romans...Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...

Apparently, the brains we come preprogrammed with need some work.  

Last year, I read a ton of books on how our brains work—especially the ones that focused on how we decide and the science of neuroplasticity.  Neuroplasticity is a fairly new study.  It was always thought that our brains were hardwired, but more recently science is finding that our brains are incredibly changeable.

Personally, I have been putting this to the test with the use of evening visualizations.  The practice came to me like many practices do...I wound up hearing an idea from multiple unrelated sources and suddenly it hit me..."Hey God? Are you trying to tell me this is important?"

There are a lot of visualization downloads out there—everything from stopping smoking to losing weight.  I got one by Louise Hay called morning and evening visualizations (because that is the author that I heard about through multiple sources).  And this is what I've begun to discover:

I have some really negative patterns in my brain.

Through the practice of listening to positive, beautiful thoughts on an MP3 the negative thoughts start to stand out. Jarringly. For the record, I believe this is why the reading of scripture is so important.  It reveals where our thinking is counter-cultural to inspired wisdom. But scripture is deep and needs to be savored, visualizations are simple.  What is amazing to me is how something as simple as being grateful for my car (a prompt in the visualization) made me realize how little I think about it.  How many things I take for granted.

We live in a beautiful world with beautiful things.  Dogs, hugs, dog-hugs, flowers, birds, taste, sight, smell, laughter... and if we are busy thinking negative thoughts...berating ourselves for what we are not, being angry at the guy who just cut us off, fearing how well we will perform at this or that...we miss it.

We have power over the thoughts in our head. Sometimes, we simply don't use it.  I'm finding that having an MP3 coach me is helping with that. 

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall