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Pause Your Machinery: Check your Programming

An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon:

Stop and take a moment to “pause your machinery.” The concepts and techniques I present throughout my latest book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, require mindfulness to learn and master, and this brief written exercise will give you the opportunity to rest, step outside the pattern of passive reading, and bring yourself into the present moment to reflect and see how the information I want to share with you can be integrated into your own life.

Keep your written answers, because they will be valuable for you to review and refer to later. You may want to buy a notebook or open a computer file so that you can keep all of your responses together in one place.

  • Review the four basic beliefs that are common in default programming:
    • Something is wrong.
    • I’m not good enough.
    • I don’t belong here.
    • I’m always going to be on my own.
  • In various situations, do you find yourself recurrently feeling that one or more of these beliefs are true for you? If so, write down the belief (or beliefs) that you identify with. When this belief comes into your mind, is it phrased the way it is above or does your mind have another way of phrasing it as it tells you it applies to you? (For example, instead of “I’m not good enough,” does the voice in your head indicate a particular way that you’re “not good enough,” such as “I’m not likeable enough,” “I’m not attractive enough,” or “I’m not smart enough”?) If so, write down the variation(s) of the belief. Remember to keep this list, as it will remind you of the negative self-judgments that are contained in your default programming.
  • Think back over the last week and see if there are any times that you felt shamed and/or blamed and reacted with your machinery on automatic pilot. If you can remember one or more such incidents, write a description of each, including what triggered your machinery to activate you feeling that way and to respond as you did. For example, what did another person say that made you feel as if he or she was shaming and/or blaming you? Reflecting on it now, do you think that in reality the other person was trying to shame and/or blame you or was it your interpretation of what he or she said?
  • If it was your interpretation, write down the difference between what was actually said and how you heard and interpreted it. Write down how your interpretation made you feel—the emotions that were stirred up—and whether you were activated to go on the defensive or activated to become passive and to withdraw. Then write down how you would respond to the situation mindfully.
  • If the other person was actually attempting to shame and/or blame you, write down how you would respond to the situation mindfully and contrast it with how you reacted from your machinery.

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  • 16 Jun, 2014
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 13 Tags

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