Here’s a firsthand example of how one of my Organizing Principles—part of my prior learning—can dominate and control my experience of the present.
Let’s say I’ve gone out socially with a new friend whom I want to connect with. If I’m being mindful, input from what’s occurring in the moment will enter from the sixth layer of my cortex and continue going up without crashing into my interpretations and judgments from past experiences. I will be fully present in the moment to enjoy the other person’s company, be grateful, and be appropriately responsive.
By contrast, just as we saw in the preceding illustration of a top-down experience of music, my Organizing Principle “The world isn’t safe; don’t trust” will keep me in the past instead of the present, and I’ll be wary, I’ll pause, and I’ll hold back. My mistrustful Organizing Principle will cause me to be self-protective, and even though consciously I truly want to connect with the other person, I might act indifferent. I might act indifferent for only a moment, but it may be enough to turn a potentially loving situation into an awkward one.
This is a vivid reminder of how our Organizing Principles and the acts they trigger can trap us in the past and rob us of fulfilling relationships in the present and that they will inevitably do this when we allow our brains to function top-down.
An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon.
- 24 Nov, 2014
- Posted by Steve Fogel
- 0 Comments