I wanted to help us get our bearings on mindfulness as early in the game as possible. Everything that The Courage Collective is about will come back to being mindful. It’s just the simple truth that our minds are the most powerful tool we have and if we can understand it better and practice being aware of it’s workings, we can truly make physical changes to our brains. If you feel trapped by your own fear, reservations, or assumptions about someone or an experience, I GET IT. I’ve been there for so long and all of a sudden, my understanding of mindfulness has given me new hope that we can take back the power from our fears and subconscious minds, intentionally create new thought patterns, and eventually align our minds with our goals and aspirations. Allow me to try explaining it with this nifty diagram:
OKAY SO! Disclaimer before I begin here, I am not a scientist, doctor, or psychologist of any kind. This is my own interpretation of how the brain works and what sorcery mindfulness does to it. This imagery works for ME and it may work for you. If it doesn’t and you think I’m totally off, that’s completely fine, we can agree to disagree.
The story is that every time you experience something (anything at all), your magical brain has a think about it and your subconscious mind harvests this little cell. We’ll call that cell a thought pattern. The thought pattern houses info about your beliefs, expectations, and values regarding the experience. The subconscious mind keeps it there, tucked away, waiting for a similar experience to happen so that when it does, BAM, your subconscious sends forward an automatic response that it created from its harvested thought pattern.
Example: Once when I was little I was chased and ‘butted’ by a goat at a good ol’ place called Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens in Kingsville. If you’re from anywhere around there, you get it. Anyways, even though that only happened one time and it was when I was really young, I still, to this day, get a little leary around goats. Obviously this is not a complex example but it paints the picture well. I had one experience that led to a negative thought pattern and now my automatic response is one of negativity.
The real kicker here is that your subconscious mind doesn’t actually care if the thoughts you are having are about real events or completely imagined ones! That little guy is just pluggin away harvesting (I can’t explain my use of the word harvest here but I just love it) left and right whatever thought patterns are making their way back to him. And in turn, he’s whipping out automatic responses all day every day to the happenings in your life without you even knowing. This is some powerful stuff! I’m just going to let you sit on it for a sec.
Okay, you good? Good. So where mindfulness plays a crucial role in this process is both in the making of thought patterns and the grasping of automatic responses. By practicing mindfulness, and having a better understanding of the brain, you can intentionally think positively about experiences and harvest POSITIVE thought patterns instead of negative ones. Brain cells actually talk to each other in a really cool way. Negative ones talk to other negatives and positives talk to positives. That’s why it is a challenge to shift from a negative to a positive mindset and vice versa. I have found for myself that the biggest change mindfulness has brought to me is my ability to take a moment before I respond to something to evaluate whether it’s the response I’d like to give or if it is just one that comes from an automatic place. Now all of a sudden, I can formulate my responses in a mindful way instead of blurting the same old thing I may have in the past. BUT don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t work all the time and takes tons of practice. There are some days when mindfulness flies right out the window and I’m on autopilot. That’s okay though and it’s all part of the process. Making the process kind and understanding has been a huge part of it too. Growth baby growth!
So I hope you feel semi-enlightened after my quick and dirty explanation of the mind.
You are worthy and you are beautiful so SMILE today!