How to control your mind and thoughts
In the ever accelerating world that we live in today, we stand at a very important crossroad between getting pulled by our programmed course of life, or steering ourselves where we want to go. Gaining control over our mind and thoughts is important because it helps us take charge of our own lives, and if we are not doing it now, chances are that someone else will do it for us.
Now we can start by learning more about the mind and understanding how it works, and once we do that, then we can begin learning how to control it, and if we know how to control it, then we can focus it.
Knowing how to control and manipulate your own thoughts can give you insights in how other people are thinking, and enable you to better understand and perceive the world in ways you never thought possible. There is always more than one perspective, sometimes people just can’t grasp this fact because they rely too much on the same old tools.
Neuro-linguistic programming, also known as NLP is one of those tools that can be used to enhance your perception of reality.
Neuro refers to what happens inside your mind, linguistic relates not only to words, but also your body language and how you use it, and programming means rigging your persistent patterns and behaviors that you learn and then repeat.
One of the founding ideas in NLP states that the map is not the territory. This concept indicates that our understanding of reality is not how it actually is, but is rather based on how we represent it on the map we draw inside our minds. We can go even deeper than that, and say that NLP is a map in itself, and the whole territory of the human mind covers other areas too, for example: psychology, philosophy or chemistry.
Now imagine you are on the highway, all cars share the same road now, but most of the cars have different destinations. Some drivers might use Google maps, other drivers use TomTom maps, others might be guided by the traffic signs, some of them might already know exactly where to go, and some go wherever the road takes them.
Notice how everyone has its own way of navigating the territory, now this is where it gets interesting. Sometimes the map might be flawed or just not up to date with new roads that are being constructed, and this can lead to misunderstandings or accidents.
The map is not the territory.
Remember that whatever you think is going on, it’s just a map, and it doesn’t necessarily match with the map of the people around you. There is a process going on, and the way you see things might be very different from how they really are.
Once I realized that, I understood that in order to have a better experience, you need to expand your map to perceive things from different perspectives.
Using your imagination is a good way to enhance your perception and become more creative.
It’s also a great way to think about things you never saw or experienced before and to train your mind. Every reality started with a vision, someone imagined the world differently and with enough perseverance, it became real. Take for example any company.
Whenever we think about something, we do so in one of the following ways: we create mental images or movies, we talk to ourselves, we have feelings, or we recall information from our senses.
Very often we have trouble communicating ideas to one another, especially if your ideas are new to a person. When we show our maps to different people, we have to use language, and they have to translate that language back into their thoughts, then associate new ideas with their own previous experiences to fill in the blanks, and sometimes they might miss a lot of the information you were trying to pass on originally.
When two individuals resonate with each other, they tend to match each other’s communication patterns on all levels, verbal and non-verbal. This happens naturally, and by deliberately and subliminally matching another person’s communication patterns, you could establish a deeper connection with them.
Galileo Galilei had a series of specific tests that would let experimenters confirm his laws with their own senses, he believed that independent confirmation is the ultimate way of verifying facts.
Now, I want you to engage in a thought experiment, you can stop and think at each point.
Take a moment to think about a good memory, stop reading and when you are ready, read the next part. Chances are that you imagine a scene from your life as vividly as if you were there, right? Now jump inside the picture, move yourself around and see it from different angles, see the colors become more vivid, now distance yourself and see the whole picture. Get close again and focus on your favorite part.
You are now under control and can shape things the way you want to. Now imagine a lever that says “Control”, now grab it and slowly start moving it. Actually imagine doing it, now as you turn the lever make the image feel more real, colors get brighter, you start to notice sounds and if you wish, you can make them louder of softer, or you can stop them altogether.
This is called anchoring, you take a sensation and associate it with a trigger, in this case the lever. Now whenever you wish, you can pull the lever again and re-trigger that feeling and memory if you want to. You could use anything as a trigger: a word, sound, situation etc.
Even if the content remains the same, when you change the quality of the picture, its size, brightness, distance, and color, your whole experience changes.
Imagination is not that much about what we think, it’s more about how we think about things. You can alter your perception by doing something different with your thoughts.
Another way to train your mind is by meditating.
Imagine your brain is like a crazy monkey, now this crazy monkey starts jumping around and making all these different loud noises. What you want now is to calm it down and make it more relaxed for a while, you can start by doing some guided meditation and then try it on your own.
Notice how if you follow a particular thought, a sequence starts. Thoughts spark thoughts, they link to each other and you build thought chains. Thoughts can branch off in countless directions and you can easily lose track of them, or twist them together if you are not paying attention.
Now start noticing patterns in your own thinking and all around you. The mind is made out of patterns (just like a computer algorithm), you can tell that only by the progress we made in artificial intelligence. We are just a memory construct, we recorded memories since the day we were born and all feelings were learned. That could explain why people develop differently, and why some people are more emotional while others lack empathy, or why some individuals are afraid of certain things while others have different fears. The difference between them is personal experience.
By becoming more aware of these processes, we could reprogram ourselves, and alter how we feel by using mental triggers. The more detailed our map is, the more control we have over it, fill in the blanks.
The words someone uses in a conversation can leave clues to how they are thinking.
Notice how some people tend to use phrases such as: “the way it looks to me” or “I see this differently” or “in my view”, others might say “I hear what you are saying” or “That sounds about right”, and others will say “This feels right” or “My gut tells me”.
Words are just a tool, and only have meaning in relation to other words. In some sense, words act as symbols, they change their meaning over time and naturally rely on other words. If you look in the dictionary for the definition of a word, you will only get more words.
Now, starting from the idea that you translate your thoughts into language, by reversing the idea we could say that words can send your thoughts wandering in a particular direction. The words, act as a thought signal, and they can trigger a whole complex.
We can think faster than we speak, and we can think without language. The true function of language is to describe reality, now reality is nothing more than our sensory input, and the world is accessible to us only through a nervous system. Language helps to communicate with one another,and to make sense of the world around us: of the sounds we hear, feelings etc. But language has its limits, it stops us to see beyond what we think is real. Language is just a filter for reality.
If you want to discover more, feel free to listen to my spotify playlist here (YouTube alternative here), or you can also access it from the menu. It is built to a structure, and it’s better if you play it in order, the message is in there. Now, read the italics, and do not think like you have to follow only one artist in there. Nobody is perfect, and they don’t know everything. I repeat, the playlist has a structure specially made by me.