Every day, you experience things. Mostly random things, happenstance and luck and one-off fluke occurrences. The people at the bus stop, the chance meeting in a bar, the drivers you interact with on the way to work, the normal events of a day. Each of these things affects your mind, changes it, alters the way you react to the experiences that come after it. From each of these things you learn. Over the course of your life, these things build much of your personality. They affect who you are. Combined with your genes, they create who you are.
Some of the experiences you have each day are deliberately designed to influence you. Peer pressure from your friends, detailed instructions from your boss, a convincing political argument. Mathematical proofs. Advertising, our whole culture is steeped in advertising. Newspaper editorials and public service broadcasts. You’re subjected to a constant stream of things designed to change your mind, to affect the way you think.
Yet how often do you seek out experiences to deliberately change your own mind? Do you spend as much time encouraging yourself to be bright and alert, wise and loving, thinking and conscious as you do allowing McDonnald’s to try to convince you to eat their burgers?
Seen this way it is obvious that your brain is being programmed, all the time, mostly by random happenstance and partly from deliberate actions by others.
Surely this balance is out of kilter? Surely the person affecting and influencing your mind the most should be you. For every advert you see encouraging you to eat, you should perhaps deliberately make one encouraging you to build the body you desire. For every person telling you to do what they consider the right thing, you should tell yourself to do what you consider to be the right thing. For every politician or boss trying to keep you meek and subordinate you should be spending time convincing yourself to be powerful and in control.
This month we are going to examine some of the ways that your brain is being constantly programmed, and in particular we’ll look at a few ways which are fairly easy to take control of yourself. To free your mind from the random drift and often malevolent forces which are doing most of the programming at the moment and instead put yourself in the driving seat. Ensure that it’s you that is programming your own brain.
When you learn to take control of the influences over your life, to mould yourself to your desire rather than allowing yourself to be bent and twisted by random chance and deliberate interference, you will climb above the random personality you’ve found yourself in and into a stronger, more willed existence. You’ll transcend your arbitrarily assigned role and learn to build your own destiny.
Of course, this is essentially what we’ve been doing for the last year anyway. We’ve been helping you to use the techniques we’ll examine more deeply this month to train your mind to be more alert, aware, improve your memory etc. In fact much of the techniques of self programming you’ve already observed us use by example.
Is it safe?
Programming a computer is difficult, laborious and prone to horrible crashing errors. If you try to program a computer without knowing what you’re doing, you’ll almost certainly make it worse, not better. It’s fair to ask if programming your own brain is similar: If you do it wrong, will you make yourself worse?
Programming a human brain is not like programming a computer. The former relies on complex chains of logic and algorithmic steps. The latter is a simpler process by far, as you’ll see during the rest of this month. A computer algorithm is a very delicately balanced operation. One step wrong can ruin the whole thing. A human brain on the other hand has evolved to be study, fail-safe, hardened against random mutation and a very noisy environment with no deliberate programmer. Mistakes will not cause the whole thing to collapse the way a mistake in a computer program does.
Most importantly, you should realise that refusing to take responsibility for programming your own mind does not leave your own mind’s program unaltered the way refusing to touch the code of a computer program does. Your mind will still be being programmed, all the time. It’ll just be being programmed by others: those who would sell you things, those who would take your vote, those who would scam and rob you, by random chance and accidental association. If it is dangerous to try and direct that programming, it’s even more dangerous not to try at all.
Self Programming Techniques
Next week we’ll examine Focus, show how the things that you think about build the brain and personality that thinks about those things.
After that we’ll talk about verbal tics, the way unthinking phrases and the language we use affects the way our mind is directed.
Finally we’ll investigate self hypnosis as a system to directly influence your constantly evolving consciousness, and present a meditation to remind you to keep an eye on these things, notice when they’re happening and direct them according to your own desire.
First though, we’ll say a few brief words about the most simple and easy to understand self programming technique of them all. The one which just about all advertising and animal training is based upon: simple Skinneresque association.
You can think of your brain as like a spiders web, a mesh of associated concepts. A thesaurus in which not only words but also memories, ideas, people, feelings and more are arranged and sorted in meaning order. Things that occur together become more closely linked in this web.
Thus, if every time you see a certain brand of lipstick it’s on a sexy, intelligent, powerful woman you’ll learn to associate that brand with sex, power, intelligence. This is, of course, how most advertising works. They try to dress it up in sophisticated imagery, cool graphics and funny jokes, but that’s mostly so you’ll also think their product sophisticated, cool and funny. They just want to to associate their product with good things, bring them closer together in your web.
Knowing this, if you’re alert and aware enough to do it, you can easily associate anything in your life with anything else in your life. When you notice you’re doing something good, something you want to do more of, something you’d like to program your brain to do again, associate it with a good thing. Imagine for a moment a delicious meal or the perfect consumer good. Remember a passionate kiss, or a smart good looking friend or celebrity giving you applause or a thumbs up. Associate it with joy and happiness even more than the simple amount you get from the reward of the action itself. If it’s not an inherently rewarding action (like working hard, or getting out of bed early, or refusing a cigarette etc.) so much the better: without your deliberate positive association you’ll probably be less likely to do it again rather than more likely.
Of course the same applies in reverse. If you notice yourself doing something you want to program your brain not to do, visualize yourself strongly in a heavily negative situation: Being punched, hit, embarrassed, ugly, rejected. Even actually slap yourself if simply imagining it doesn’t work.
Warning: Positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. Imagining yourself in negative situations is likely to associate with more than just the action you’re regretting at the time. It’ll likely also associate you, yourself (who will certainly be present) with those things. Try to avoid programming your brain into thinking you’re stupid, ugly and easily rejected. If you find yourself doing so, negate the image with an image of you being smart, pretty and desirable.
This month’s mediation will contain suggestions that you’ll use the technique of association more often. You will practice using the technique, and note it’s effects on your consciousness.