The Wright Way

The Wright Way

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

From L for Leather to N for Mation


Making up our Experience

Where does our experience come from?

It may seem like a simple enough question - yet the answer we are conditioned to believe, as we grow up in the increasingly complex world that has been created for us to live in, is one that colours our lives certainly from the moment we start school, and often before that time.

We assemble our experience of anything through the perceptions that are presented to our consciousness. We assemble these perceptions from predicting and analysing the sensual data we receive from certain stimuli.
Those stimuli can be what we see, hear, feel (touch), smell, taste – which are the 5 main OUTER senses (as we understand them) – PLUS – there are some other data sources as well, that come from what I would loosely describe as our INNER senses, such as time, balance, emotion and memory.

Our perceptive apparatus predicts and analyses all the stimuli from moment to moment, and then presents to our Consciousness A VERSION OF WHAT IS HAPPENING.
Not what is ACTUALLY happening, you understand – just a version of events.


Harnessing the Power of Thought

This entire ongoing routine of prediction and analysis is merely a set of Thought Processes. Or, to or to put it another way, it is HOW we are using The Power of Thought, moment by moment, to make sense of what is happening in the world both around us on the OUTSIDE and also for us on the INSIDE.

What SEEMS REAL to us, in terms of the version of what is happening, is not what SEEMS REAL to other people either – for they, too, are making up THEIR OWN version of what is happening for THEM!

HOW we harness the Power of Thought creates for each and every one of us a VERSION, albean ILLUSION, of what is REALLY going on. In terms of our experience, we are making it all up – every one of us – ALL the time!

It is what is known as the INSIDE-OUT NATURE of REALITY.

The WORLD ISN’T HAPPENING TO US – IT IS AN ILLUSION WE ARE MAKING UP, from moment to moment


Inside Out

Knowing WHERE our experience comes from, through HOW we are harnessing the Power of Thought and then presenting the results to our Consciousness, is the simplest and most wonderful psychological concept for everyone, in the world today.

In terms of our personal well-being this is a very USEFUL thing to know and understand.

For each and every one of us, the Clearer our Minds become with THIS, the smoother our lives will be and the less we will be prone to becoming beset by problems and circumstances.



Only Human

Yet there will always continue to be moments where we will DEFINITELY BELIEVE our thinking – because, as the song goes - we are ONLY HUMAN AFTER ALL!

So, DON’T put the blame on me – when I make assumptions, interpretations, predictions and judgements. For these are only ever based on my inadequate perceptions – and when I am vulnerable and less grounded in every moment to moment, my Human Frailty is BELIEVING this all to be REAL.
I’m not just in the cinema WATCHING the scary movie, I’m actually believing I’m really LIVING inside the scary movie … and, you know what? I’M SCARED!

SCARED, that is - until the moment I CHANGE MY MIND, until the moment I realise once more that it is all an ILLUSION, until I hit the ‘RESET’ button that brings me back to my Understanding.


Keeping the ‘RESET BUTTON’ near at hand!

So, how can we mitigate our frailties and those moments when we are believing our thinking?
Well, part of this starts with our being more grounded – as a DEFAULT state of mind, so to speak. When we are more grounded, the instances of Frailty showing up in our lives will be less frequent. However – they will STILL SHOW UP!
They tend to show up at times when our back is turned, or when we are complacent about our grounded-ness.

So, should we be always on our guard – in a state of constant watchfulness?
Well, to be honest, that’s VERY HARD WORK! It is like being in a state of constant alert – watchful, mindful of the dangers etc. In fact, when we start to make demands upon ourselves, like that, it tends to lead us towards an excess of THINKING.
And EXCESS THINKING, as we know, is pointing us back to Frailty.

Constant monitoring of our mental state, therefore, is counter-productive.

Now, our Minds and Bodies are an integrated and synchronous system where HOW WE ARE BEING occurs, every moment of our lives. And there is a very simple part of our unified self that is encapsulated within that system.

And that is – our ATTENTION.


 

Our Thinking and Our Attention


Now, when we are frail – living in the OUTSIDE-IN momentary nature of our fluctuating states of mind, most of us strive to get the feeling of SECURITY that comes from a sense of BEING IN CONTROL of our lives.
“If I can JUST change what is happening TO ME then my life will become better, will start to improve, and I will feel I’m getting ‘a handle’ on directing my life towards the things I want and the way I’d like things to be.”

However, by DIRECTING our Attention AWAY from the Trees of our Thinking and towards something else, we can allow some clarity to emerge from the excess thought, and thus return to the transparency of allowing the Power of Thought to just flow through our lives, without our needing to constantly ATTEND to it.

There is NEVER any need to constantly ATTEND to our Thoughts – even though we might be persuaded to believe this is a good thing to do.


How might we change our Attention AWAY from Thoughts?

Well the first thing to realise is that it is pointless for us to EXAMINE our Thinking in terms Good or Bad, Positive or Negative. This is like getting ourselves to filter our Thinking, which brings even more TREES into our Attentive Foreground! Remember, we need to be disengaging from ALL TREES!

We need to engage more Attention to our raw, sensual stimuli – the Sights, Sounds, Touches, Smells and Tastes. If we notice that those TREES are still pretty dense in nature, and are still masking the WOOD, get outside – into the garden, perhaps go for a walk, a run, a drive to an engaging place.

Read a distracting book, play some distracting games, do a distracting activity like cooking a meal from scratch. If you are creative, get writing or drawing; make something simple but absorbing.

Get really good at POURING your ATTENTION into whichever activity you have chosen to engage with. Remember you are filling one cup in order to drain the other in terms of the illustration of how a fuller Attention can mask Thinking in order to ‘RESET’ that Thinking to being more clear and transparent.


Using our Bodies

Spread the fingers of your left hand. Now, using the index finger of your right hand, trace the spaces between the fingers of your left hand. Allow your right hand’s index finger to move in and out and up and down, going from the thumb of the left hand all the way along to the little finger.
It is a simple physical exercise – yet utterly distractive.


Place your tongue as close as you can to the roof of your mouth behind your upper set of teeth. Imagine there is a tiny droplet of edible oil between your tongue and the roof of your mouth – and hold that droplet there for around half a minute.
Again, it is a simple physical exercise, that also invokes a directed use of imagination, or guided visualisation – and, as before, is completely distractive.


Close your eyes and imagine the space between your eyes – not on the outside, as you might see when looking in a mirror, but on the INSIDE. There is no significance to whatever imagery may come up for you as you are doing this Open Focus exercise – just let it come, and then let it go.

Next, imagine the space inside your nostrils, and notice how your breath passes through this space – first on the way in, when you breathe in, and then on the way out when you breathe out. Get a sense of how the breath flows through that space.


Engaging with these two Open Focus exercises for only about a minute, will disengage you with any excess or overwhelm of thought for that time.

Again, the ensuing and emerging imagery is not of any particular consequence, but it is more about how we are directing our Attention to exploring even just these two areas of our INNER SPACE.

As you work through these various short and simple exercises, notice, once you finish, what has happened to your Thinking? Where has it gone?
It is – as virtually everyone says – as if those thoughts have vanished into thin air!

I was working with a lady for her Fear of Flying. When she returned from her overseas holiday I asked her how the flights had been for her. She reported that there had been some turbulence, and that she felt some of her panic symptoms returning. “I just used the ‘fingers’ exercise for about a minute,” she said, “And then I felt fine afterwards – even before the turbulence had stopped. Thank you so much!”  

We know we can direct our Minds to create change in our Bodies – we should never forget the power in our Bodies to create change in our Minds.

We are one complete, unique and synchronous system. It is there for us to engage with at all times!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Mind Nutrition


My good friend Sav Sandhu does some amazing work on fitness and wellbeing with high level executives and traders in the city. His regular videos on LinkedIn take fascinating and inspiring perspectives on maintaining the body as a key element in our wellbeing – plus he takes these perspectives from a strong, maintained and integrated mind-body approach. In his latest video he asks, “What is good nutrition?” and he outlines 4 key principles to help you with your nutrition even if you’ve tried every diet under the sun.

Which got me thinking along the lines … so, what is good “mental nutrition.”  


Food for Thought

Essentially, nutrition is defined as ‘the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.’
Nutrition for the Mind, therefore, might be the process of providing or obtaining the mental “food” necessary for mental health and mental growth.
Now, as an emergent descriptor or label, mental “food” is an interesting subject! So, I’d invite you to walk a way down this path merely to see what we might pick up along the way.

Our Relationship with our Thinking is a key aspect with regards to food for thought, rather in the same way that our relationship with our eating is a key aspect with regards to our bodily nutrition.

The acronym GIGO was well known in computer science as being “Garbage In Garbage Out,” meaning that if the input data is incorrect or invalid then the output will be incorrect.

And so, in bodily terms, eating bad, or incorrect food will lead to poor outcomes – and may even lead to our being invalid!
In thought terms however, it relates to how we process – how we ‘digest’ – the thoughts we select from the stream of thought energy flowing through our lives.

Thought energy just flows past via our consciousness, and the moment we notice, latch on to, select particles of that energy as it flows through, then the particles morph into OUR thoughts.
So, then commences the Relationship we have with our Thinking.


Predictions

There are criteria at play, with each and every one of us, that help us what to select from the stream of thought energy. And the WHAT that we select are filtered for us by our Beliefs and Values, Our Memories, Our past Experience.

Our brain functions, in terms of our perceptive apparatus, are driven to provide the rest of the mind-body some predictions as to WHAT IS HAPPENING. **

In the simplest of terms, at a certain time of day when we see the sun approaching the horizon coupled with a drop of temperature, we run this sensual data past our experience and memory and get a close match which the brain predicts as SUNSET. At this point, a number of other responses take place to add into the next required prediction. And the process continues in a similar way across our every thought process from sensual to cognitive.
Likewise, in a more complex way, if we are about to attend a meeting and we see that a rather surly, argumentative and uncooperative colleague is there, we’ll run this data input past our experience and memory and get some predictive filtering that leads our mind-body to responses of a different kind!

Both of these examples above are part of our relationship with our thinking.
Both are based upon predictions of filtered data, with the filters put in place by our Beliefs and Values, Our Memories, Our past Experience.
Both of these examples are Food for Thought. Yet – if we want to have a different experience from both the sunset but particularly the meeting, then we just have to change the Food. 

And the change of Mind Food would be to bring something more mentally nutritious to our filtering criteria – by altering our Beliefs and Values, Our Memories, Our past Experience.
This is exactly the same if we want to give our body better outcomes from our next month’s meals. Changing the food for things more nutritious will help our physical wellbeing on all levels.


Changing our Minds

There is a perspective on the nature of reality that is underpinned by the Three Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought.** It is known as the Inside-Out perspective, and I would describe it as being good nutrition for the Mind.

Part of our ability to understand the Inside-Out nature of reality, is to have an open mind. With an open mind we can acknowledge that our Beliefs and Values, Our Memories, Our past Experience, are not ever set in stone in quite the way that we might imagine. And that, as a consequence, we can change our view of the world – by changing the filters that we use on our raw data input.

In practical terms for example, this would mean that our colleague who was previously labelled as surly, argumentative and uncooperative, is now seen as just a colleague. We have removed the emotional portion of his labelling – but only for as long as we keep our judgements of him at bay. For it is our judgements of him that led to our labelling of him before – and it will be our present and future judgements of him that lead to labelling changes in the future. And that will be for good OR bad in equal measure.

For, as with all judgements, it is our THINKING that makes it so!


Good Mind Nutrition

So, good Mind Nutrition is about allowing our minds to be open to accepting change.

 It is about understanding that our Beliefs and Values, Our Memories, Our past Experience, are a vital filtering component of our predictive and perceptive apparatus, AND yet are never set in stone.

 It is about understanding that our Beliefs and Values, Our Memories, Our past Experience contain emotional elements that are there to enrich, flag up, be noticed. **
These emotional elements can be adjusted, enhanced, discarded at any time and we are not ever “at the mercy of them” unless we choose to be so.

 It is about understanding that whilst it is common for our predictive brain to be directed towards noticing sameness, that we do have the facility to direct our perceptions towards difference as well.


Conclusion

We make up our experience on a moment-to-moment, day-by-day basis through the way we harness the power of thought – through the relationship we have with our thinking. If we believe our thinking and our thought processes, then the product will be our reality.

Whether you blush easily, feel the cold more than others, stammer, freak out at spiders, hate being ignored, don’t go too near to the edge, like to be in control, get scared going to the dentist, and so on ad infinitum, it is all perceived through a thought process of one form or another.

This is why if believe you can – you can
And if you believe you can’t – you can’t
And it is the open-ness of your mind that maintains or changes everything.

It is ALL food for thought. And you can decide what you put on your plate!



Friday, May 4, 2018

The Sacred Relationship


This week’s topic emerges from my conversations with clients about the relationship that we, as human beings, have with our thinking.


In Theory

The whole notion that our thoughts are our own, that they have an almost tangible form to them, is pivotal to how we make sense of the world we live in; from the horizon and the rising and setting of the sun, to the way people are talking to us, to the potholes in the roads, to a delicate fragrance or the taste of a lemon, to a hug or a kiss, to our fears or worries, to our work or play, and so on … it is the endless list of experience.

We rely on our senses to provide us with the raw data – and that includes ALL our senses, not just the usual five. The phrase “the sixth sense” reminds us that, in our culture at least, we most times just have an awareness of THE five senses.
Yet there are others such as time, balance, humour, even awareness itself, leading us all towards “the big one” … SELF.

Our sense of self, our sentience, is the overarching umbrella sense of all the others. It takes all the raw data provided by all the other senses and processes the data.
And how it processes the data determines how we experience the reality of the world, and our place in it. And this entire processing faculty is driven by the power of Thought.

The difference between “your world” and “my world” – what differentiates your experience from mine – is embedded in the how of our thought processes.

All our individual HOWs are part of the relationship that each of us has with our own Thinking.   

Now “your world” and “my world” may bear some resemblance to the “true world” – yet we’d both agree that “our worlds” are not the “only worlds.”

Except when we Don’t!

When THAT happens then the scenario is that “My View of the World” is right and yours (or theirs) is wrong.
All of this is just Thought driven of course – and is merely the difference between what is produced by the HOW of your Thought Processes and what is produced by the HOW of my Thought Processes.

It is The Sacred Relationship we all have with our Thinking.

It is that relationship that helps us to answer the question, “What is it like TO BE?”

It is also that relationship that distorts THE world the more we believe our thinking.
And the more we believe OUR thinking to be RIGHT, the more our mind is set in that one place. Set there, in stone, until we CHANGE our mind.
The moment that we change our mind, about anything, is the moment that Sacred Relationship is tweaked and morphs into something (even only slightly) different.

We sometimes process that change, by getting shown from externally sourced data. We might call this “learning.”
We sometimes process that change, by getting shown from internally sourced data.
We might call this “intuition” or “wisdom.”

Yet we can only ever change our mind, about anything, if we allow our mind to first be open – to permit ourselves to be “shown.” A closed mind can never change.

To understand the Inside-Out nature of reality, is to have an open mind.

We also need to relieve ourselves of the pressures we place on our human frailty – by acknowledging that in our minds there will be those moments of temporary closure. There is always the reset button that will open our minds once again.


In Practice

In a practical sense, this is what happened for a client who I had worked with earlier this year for her fear of flying

She had an open mind – and in our conversations she changed her perceptions by having some light thrown upon that fear. She processed that change from both the externally sourced data as illuminated by me, and from internally sourced data from her own intuition. 

She “got” what I was saying about her fear of flying. She got a felt sense of the change. We both questioned the evidence of that felt sense, and she was reassured by that questioning and testing of the evidence. She maintained her open-mindedness.

I checked with her a few days later and she was still of the same (open) mind. I wished her well in the anticipated experience of her upcoming flights.

Just this week I checked in with her again, to find out how things had been.
She reported that everything was good and that she was looking forward to further flights next month.
She ALSO reported that she had experienced some frailty, in the moment. The moment was a period of air turbulence on one of the flights – where the stimulus had caused her to follow her previously held pattern of response. She had the sensations of the onset of a panic attack.

Part of the work we had done – which I’ll describe again as her “learning” from externally sourced data – was for her to have resources to point her (in the moment) to that RESET button.
She didn’t freeze, nor was she caught like a rabbit in headlights. She used the resources and alleviated her experience. She “saw” where the RESET button was, hit it, and returned to the grounded state she had been in prior to the ‘plane encountering the air turbulence.


Conclusion

We can all understand theory, because we are thinking creatures, imbued with the facility to gain knowledge through varieties of cognitive logical thought processes.

Yet, amusingly, this quote often applies -
“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice – in practice there is!”

Except when it doesn’t, when we understand the Inside-Out nature of reality enough to trust the fusion of our intuition with our learning.

My client trusted her understanding enough to deal with her stimulated sensations in the practical moment they were happening, and not just in the theory moment when we were talking together in our one session.

You could say her outcomes were sensational!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Client of The Week


It’s early Wednesday morning – and yet have I already worked with my “client of the week?”
Well, normally I’d say it’s best to wait until late on Sunday before making that judgement – however there are those “golden clients” who you meet for the first time and your mutual interactions unfold into a succession of closely packed jaw-dropping moments!
Something aligns their mind to yours, they understand your “lingo” right out of the gate, they follow your advice and discover the hidden ability they always had – but never knew they had. Suddenly the fledgling in your hand is taking flight …



Coach or Therapist

I’m a shade lucky, to be fair, in that - as both a coach and a therapist – I have clients in the age range 5 – 75. Most of my coaching is with the younger end of the spectrum, and most of the therapy is with the Over 35s!

However, the cross-over area between coach and therapist is surprisingly vague and undefined – like how the colours in a rainbow merge one with the next. Some of my therapy work is coaching – and some of my coaching is therapeutic. Plus, coaching children is, for me anyway, a kind of Pre-therapy!

Helping them get and feel a sense of achievement; improving their confidence and self-confidence; building their self-esteem; getting them to appreciate – in an autotelic way - the love and joy of sporting activity for something just in and of itself; improving their health and fitness, body image and sense of wellbeing; etc.
The pre-therapy list goes on!

Why do I say pre-therapy?

Well, when children are armed with all the things I’ve listed above, they become more rounded and grounded; plus, there’s less of a likelihood they’ll need some therapeutic expertise when they reach 35+.


Working with my “Client of the Week”

He arrived at one of my After-School Cricket Clubs saying,
“I can’t bowl. I’m not very good at it,” as an opening statement.

I hear words like this quite often – both from sporting AND therapy clients; they are telling me about their view of themselves.
“Ok,” I said. “Just bowl some balls and then we’ll have a look at how that’s happening, and seeing what we might change, for you.”

I saw a young lad who bowled off the wrong foot, lost his balance in delivery, released the ball out of the side of his hand with a weak wrist, was not focussed on his target, and had a quirky and inconsistent run-up.
He did, however, have the bowler’s number 1 pre-requisite technical ability – a straight arm. Great!

The other, and perhaps most encouraging, pre-requisite from both our perspectives was this:-
He was eminently “coachable”. By this I mean he listened 100% and enabled his body to execute what he heard through my instruction.

Within 10 – 15 minutes he had ironed out all the quirks and inconsistencies he showed at the start and was landing the ball where he wanted instead of it happening by chance.
This was rapid change, to be honest – and it continued when he started batting.

Once again, after minimal repeats of showing him more effective ways of standing, holding the bat, watching and striking the ball, he transformed his raw, random and ‘quirkful’ technique into something generative, improving and successful!

We ended our Club session with throwing balls in a “crossbar challenge.”
He excelled at this too and without any instruction, which left me both enthused and rewarded.


Conclusion

He was, without doubt, my client of the week – maybe of the month, or the year? Who knows?

That is what makes my job such a rewarding one. I never know who is going to rock up … NEXT?