Humans beings work in very specific ways. One of the things our brain does for us is to consolidate and streamline the habits we practice into the fewest number of groups possible.

This is a metaphor as our habits aren’t stored in paper files or cabinets, and most habitual behaviors are not localized in the brain. The “sorting”, if you want to call it that, seems to occur on the basis of matching features in external phenomena or internal “mental representations” (another metaphor but we will have to leave it for later discussion) with previously established patterns, that meet certain requirements to be classed as “belonging to” or “excluded from” – giving the brain its own voice “Right! This one is close enough… time to panic then!” or “Oh yeah, I know this one – it’s almost on the nose… sit at computer, stare at screen, see note about deadline, reach for mouse, open browser, mindlessly surf many websites for hours and hours, enjoy the quiet…”

These patterns aren’t archived or indexed, nor are they stored in a mental dictionary inside.

As a relevant aside –

Language processing in the brain is not a word-by-word function, or even phrase-by-phrase affair – there is no “mental dictionary”, and it’s been demonstrated quite conclusively that our brains are syntax-driven with regard to understanding language – in other words, we “make” sense from the order of words within fragments of statements, and the context they arise in, in order to figure out their meaning.

No “magic phrases of total mind control” or “magic phrases of death” or any of that nonsense.

Phrases can become a perception, thought, or conclusion, which we then react to emotionally. Add the tendency to seek exclusive validating examples, then run the phrases and the emotional reactions, and “evidence” examples enough times, and the phrase will act as a trigger. The Neuro-Linguistic Programming folks call this “an anchor”, which is different from how our brain makes meaning for us.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

In that summing up and streamlining process, the various purposes and adaptations we have made habitual, which we then seek validating evidence for (“I had to do that in that way ONLY because… because… because…); is transformed into a more general direction – a relatively consistent theme or motif around one’s doings begins to emerge and a relatively stable narrative is created.

As the search for validation continues and we reprocess our own actions and reactions, results and feelings, and our narratives, by “thinking” (which is mainly making what occurs and has occurred fit into our pre-established “story-line”); we get to the point where the summing up is expressed as a value or values… that makes our narrative, and the on-going range of choices within it, important.

Sooner rather than later, all our thoughts, feelings, narratives, and values come together into a “model of the world” and our place and role in it.

The Model of World is about the rules of play, and the meanings of events, all in relation to how we have “made sense” of our experience.

And all this cool stuff happens, thanks to our brain, mostly outside of our awareness. Our brains make a relatively coherent experience out of it and then we live within it. Thank you brain.

But because the results of all that behind the scenes meat-processing is presented to us (when we are conscious) as an established fact; it seems that we inhabit a reality, and our thoughts and feelings are somehow events that “we” experience as if by magic.

It’s this experiencing the creation of our experience as being an event, and therefore not “done by us”, not something we are consciously active or causal within… that leads many to take a passive or submissive approach to what seems to be the case in their experience. Bottom-line here – the magician’s trick that the brain pulls to make a coherent experience for us is not our fate, unless we “play dead” and drift along with every fool thing that pops into our mind.

You may, possibly, have a destiny that is different from your fate. But it requires work, and it requires being willing to become responsible for what comes up, and more skillful in working with yourself, even if you didn’t “cause it” or consciously “choose it”.

Here’s something interesting…

…a way to re-align yourself with what “the inner robot” thinks you are about, and then, if it is your wish, to begin to craft a different destiny for you (and your robot… which the programmed bit of you). Our theme is “what will make it all worthwhile?” but we’re going to approach this from the robot meat-processor’s side of things. We’re going to find out if there’s a theme packed in behind some of your more conscious doings and desires.

Once we have that theme or value… we’re going to co-opt it from the robot… and run that theme, or value CONSCIOUSLY & BETTER than the robot has run it so far. It’s not too hard actually because the robot has been trying to run that theme, or value out of piled up habits and adaptations – it’s not like the robot is able to direct its own programming (that’s your job) – it can “accidentally” combine different bits together that, more or less, get things moving.

If it’s effective; that feedback will guide our next steps.

For example, going back to W. C. Field’s “I always keep a stimulant (whiskey flask) with me in case I see a snake… which I also keep with me.” The robot builds its own trigger-solution loop so that we can throw the toys out of the crib when we feel like it.

But this thing that we are going to do, and what we are going to do with it, constitutes an act of “metaprogramming” (not like NLP “towards” and “away from”) – if the task is carried out fully, it “re-programs” other programs, and is an efficient way of creating perceptible change, swiftly.

Did I mention the trade-off? The trade-off is you will have to invest additional attention and energy in your daily doings. The amount of attention and energy is small but the frequency and consistency of action is EVERYTHING.

Want a happy and pervasive change in how you look at the world and move through it?

This is your ticket. Still telling yourself the same old story to defend past adaptations rather than the future? Sail on… We will be using an update on an exercise created in the 80s to address the question of values and how to fulfill them, but we’ll doing something with the results that go far beyond what was possible then.

We will use the robot’s resources to change the robot. It starts with a bit of reflection and imagining We’ll run this “by the numbers” to start:

  1. Choose four things you’d like to do, achieve or have. It doesn’t really matter if the items on the list are a mix of “things to possess” and “goals to achieve”. The main qualification is desire to enjoy or experience, and possible in this world. In other words, choose what would be meaningful for you and avoid trivial choices.
  2. Write a sentence or two about each goal in the numbered lines on the left hand side of page 5 of this document. Note significant features and criteria. After you have written about the goals; come up with a key word that summarizes and evokes the goal for you.
  3. Write the keyword for each goal in the matching numbered hexagon on the same page.
  4. Now we’re going to engage in a little imaginative supposing. We’re going to pair the goals – a & b, and then c & d. Take a moment and imagine what it would be like if you had already achieved, obtained or experienced both a & b.
    • What would you be doing differently, having achieved, obtained or experienced a & b?
    • How would this change your life?
    • How would others respond to you differently?
    • What would the best thing about having achieved, obtained or experienced a & b?
    • And how does that feel? Come up with a key word to describe or summarize the experience and write it down.
  5. Now take a moment and imagine what it would be like if you had already achieved, obtained or experienced both c & d.
    • What would you be doing differently, having achieved, obtained or experienced c & d?
    • How would this change your life?
    • How would others respond to you differently?
    • What would the best thing about having achieved, obtained or experienced c & d?
    • And how does that feel? Come up with a key word to describe or summarize the experience and write it down.
  6. Now take a moment and imagine what it would be like if you had already fully integrated the experience of both of the new summary keywords, that you wrote down, in your life.
    • What would you be doing differently, having integrated the experience of both of the new summary keywords in your life?
    • How would this change your life?
    • How would others respond to you differently?
    • What would the best thing about having integrated the experience of both of the new summary keywords in your life?
    • And how does that feel? Come up with a key word to describe the experience and write it down.
  7. Most people, by the time they get to this point have chosen words like “freedom”, “peace”, “security”, “real happiness” or something like them. The words may differ but the fact that you know and recognize them through an internal state means that you can cultivate them as habits. We’re going to turn whatever your final word was, into a focus for attention.
  8. After you’ve finished reading the instructions, close your eyes and imagine what it would be like if you had already integrated the experience of that final word you wrote into your life. Imagine it as if whatever that word represents were now a part of your day-to-day experience.

    Rather than hoping for it; you live from it.

    • What would you be doing differently?
    • How would this change your life?
    • How would others respond to you differently?
    • How would you respond to others differently?
    • What would the best thing about living in this way?
    • And how does that feel? When you have developed a strong feeling – notice how that feeling moves, where it starts from, where it goes, its qualities, etc.

And simply imagine that as you take each breath and release it, that feeling circulates through your whole body.

Now imagine that you are carrying that feeling with you as you plan your day or think things through or go about your day.

What difference would this make?

Say your final word and make it your touchstone.

With a little practice of step 7 – a few moments to minutes at a time, a few times a day – you will be to take quick break with something wonderful by simply saying the word, remembering the feeling and breathing the feeling around.

It’s like any other skill in life… a little bit of practice until you get strong and then occasional practice over time…

When you start acting from the assumption that the values that are most important to you are YOURS to express, and also the source of your gift to others… that’s when real magic starts happening in your life.


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