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Pause Your Machinery: Thinking About Your Shadow Side

An excerpt from my recent book, Your Mind Is What Your Brain Does for a Living, now available at Amazon.spacer@C7197B10-67E7-4945-B032-FE556DB81987


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.
• Think mindfully about whether you’re hiding any aspects of yourself in your shadow side because your conscious mind finds them unacceptable to your image of yourself. Have you believed, for example, that anger is “wrong” or “bad” and that you’re a good person and, therefore, you are never angry? If not, are there other thoughts and feelings that, when you think about it mindfully, you suspect you’ve been keeping in your shadow side? If so, write them down.
• In addition, write down what you think it costs you to keep these thoughts and feelings in your shadow side. For example, if you feel that you’ve kept your anger in your shadow side, look back on the last two weeks and think mindfully about whether there are times when it would have been appropriate for you to be in touch with your anger about how another person acted toward you. What did it cost you to deny your feelings and withhold your emotions?
• Continuing with this example, also think about whether there are times when you have acted angrily without acknowledging it or taking responsibility for it; maybe you realize that your machinery was keeping it hidden. How did hiding it from yourself affect your relationship with others?
• Think mindfully about ways you act in certain situations that you now recognize as dysfunctional because they result in you not getting what you want, resulting in you
feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. Make a list of these dysfunctional habits, and be sure to keep it! It’s a preliminary list of behaviors you want to change by creating new neural pathways that will lead you to act in healthier, more productive ways.

  • 18 Aug, 2014
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 19 Tags

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