Your brain is not your friend
By Jeff Cannon
12,000 – 50,000 – That is how many thoughts researchers estimate pass through your head in a single day.
That is how active your brain is and how many distractions you must wade through if you are to get to where you want to be.
You see, your brain was not designed for today’s world. It was designed for a much simpler world than you now live in. It was designed to keep you and your progeny alive. It was not wired to think heady thoughts or to process megabytes of information.
It was designed to:
- Observe the world around you
- Process that information as fast as possible to assess how dangerous your world was.
- Produce ideas that would keep you and your progeny alive [i.e., fight, flight or fornicate]
It still does this. It watches, it reads the signals and it produces ways to help you stay alive. Most of these thoughts originate in the old, primordial part of your brain. That is why so many of your thoughts are based on fear, rather than on the higher-level, creative thinking that are better suited for success in today’s world. It is also why so many of them are wrong.
Simply – your brain was programmed for a different time. This is why it is so important to acknowledge your thoughts before you act on them.
Before you go blindly running into trouble [i.e., telling your partner to shut up or stumbling over your words as you ask for a higher salary] remember to breathe, to acknowledge where your thoughts are coming from, and over-ride what your brain is telling you to do, before you act inappropriately.
Free yourself from your ego and fear so that you can step over the delusions of what you should do, rather than what is best for you to do.
When you panic your primordial brain kicks in [read – fight, flight or fornicate]. It generates ideas that are better suited to a dark forest path in the primordial world than for the realities of today.
Remind yourself of this the next time you are feeling depressed, afraid or frozen in place. You are not your brain, and your brain is not YOU.
You don’t need to meditate to do this. Just stop, or at least slow down, breathe down deep into your lungs and smile as you decided what it is that YOU truly want to do, not what your brain wants you to do.
I know it’s not easy, but it is essential to calm your auto-responses and your thoughts if you want to succeed in the world you are in.
After all, it is YOUR life. It’s time to live it YOUR way.
About the Author Jeff Cannon
Jeff Cannon has been called A Modern American Monk many times. He is an author of several books and the founder of the Simple Truth Project. He is also a leading voice in the Modern Meditation Movement.
Jeff’s lineage is the lineage of life. It is the one the Buddha spoke of, where everyone and every experience is a teacher if you allow them to be. His lineage begins with a Zen practice developed through the martial arts. He refined his approach as he entered the corporate world to meet the demands of the modern world we all live in. His teaching reflects the balance we all strive to maintain in the chaos of the contemporary world.
Mr. Cannon studied Zen and Mindfulness Meditation, as well as Vipassana, Samatha, Vedic and Transcendental styles of meditation. He continues to search for the threads that connect the traditional practices. In doing so he learned to weave the traditional techniques together to create the wonderful tapestry he simply calls Modern Meditation. His is a form of meditation refined for the realities of the 21st Century world we all live in.