How Do You Tame Your Mind?

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Adapted from The Book of Secrets, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 2004).

Unable to escape our toxic memories, people adapt to memories, adding one layer after another of impressions. The bottom layers, laid down in childhood, keep sending out their messages.

Stored memories are like microchips programmed to keep sending out the same message over and over. When you find yourself having a fixed reaction, the message has already been sent: It does no good to try to change the message. Yet this is exactly how the vast majority of people try to tame the mind. They receive a message they don’t like, and their reaction is one of three things.

1. Manipulation.

2. Control.

3. Denial.

If you look at them closely, it becomes clear that all three of these behaviors come after the fact. They deal with the mind’s disorder as the cause of the distress rather than as a symptom. These supposed solutions have tremendous negative effects.

Manipulation is getting what you want by ignoring or harming the desires of others. Manipulators use charm, persuasion, coaxing, trickery and misdirection. The underlying idea is, “I have to fool people to make them give me what I want.”

Control is forcing events and people into your way of doing things. Control is the great mask of insecurity. People who use this behavior are deathly afraid of letting others be who they are, so the controller is constantly making demands that keep others off balance. The underyling idea is, “If they keep paying attention to me, they won’t run away.”

Denial is looking past the problem instead of facing it. Psychologists consider denial the most childish of the three behaviors because it is so intimately linked to vulnerability. The person in denial feels helpless to solve problems, the way a young child feels. Fear is linked to denial, and so is a childlike need for love in the face of insecurity. The underlying idea is, “I don’t have to notice what I can’t change in the first place.”

 

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