Tag Archives: reality

New Pictures and New Developments

by Mona Dunkin

We think in pictures or symbols. If we don’t get the picture we don’t get the concept.

If I mention a car, your mind sees a car of some sort, even if it’s fuzzy. The longer we explore that subject, the clearer your mind-picture comes into focus.  More than likely, your own car would be your familiar point of reference or perhaps your dream car.

Unknowingly, we associate new stuff with familiar stuff. We also, unknowingly, self-assess whether to like, dislike or simply store it in our vast mind/body warehouse as additional information. For later recall.

Everything is created twice; first in the mind and then in reality. Your computer runs by an operating system and so does the mind. If you don’t like a TV program, you don’t even try to change the screen. Why not? The TV operating system is pre-programmed to bring in that program on that frequency.

Here is where reality sets in.  You cannot change what you do not have control over. You do not have control over the programming slated for that channel but you do have control over changing the channel. To change the picture on the TV screen you change the channel to another frequency.

Change is an Inside Job. Truth be told, we have limited ability to change anything outside our immediate scope. Goodness! It’s hard enough to change something within our self (i.e. attitudes, habits, prejudices).  When we work on self we have something we can work with. When working on someone or something outside our selves – especially without forethought and training – we may be jousting at windmills. Don Quixote’s selective vision of the real world contributed to his unhappy relationships and the fall from the rotor blade certainly curtailed his health.

Will Power = WALL. Even if you are using every ounce of will power that you can muster to change personal habits, attitudes or – alas – other people, it doesn’t compute. Why? Because the old operating system still has chocolate cake as the focal point.  You fall off the wagon and don’t understand why.

Adjust your mind-pictures and grow into them. This simple step promotes self from employee to Management.  From lackey to Taking Charge of Your Life™. And that is power. It’s real power because it’s empowering.  Once the light comes on, it is like a rogue grass seed pushing up through concrete to grow, blossom and bloom. That seed idea that seemed so impossible takes root and produces amazing results.

Yeah But!  I hear you; it’s the I-agree-but-I-don’t-agree-or-I-don’t-think-I-can.  Okay, here’s how:

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Stop whatever thought processes you have going through your head and – just for a minute – experience a different sort of reality. Get out of your head nonsense into a beautiful place. Through loving imagination, tune your TV-mind to your Discovery Channel. Tune in to pictures of adventures that you would love doing or being or creating. Whet an internal mental appetite for those things. Act on those new aptitudes and the old picture begins to fade as you become the new you.  You become energized by what you act like and feel like and look like and what life tastes like as you grow into the person living your dream.

What you think is what you become.  Picture it.

When a tree falls…

By Dr. Ken Larsen

If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear, does it make a sound? This question has been posed to countless students in Philosophy 101 through the years.

It points us to the distinction between what Dr. Glasser calls the “real world” and the “perceived world”.  Having a “sound” grasp of the difference between these two is a big part of mental health and happiness.

The real world is where the tree falls and generates a moving molecular wave through the air.

When that wave strikes the auditory apparatus of a person it is perceived as a sound.  If there is no person to hear, the wave still happens.  So the question is answered by how we define “sound”.  Is it the wave or the perception of the wave?  This is the way that I suggest we think about the often repeated statement that “perception is reality.”

Let’s say that we agree that what we call “sound” is the perception of the wave moving through the air.  The person does not respond to the sound wave, but to the way that sound wave is interpreted by the brain as a perception.    This is what is “real” to the person.  The recognition of that sensory stimulus as a sound is the reality that enables the person to choose what to do about the sound of a falling tree.

Let’s use another sensory example.

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We know that our visual perceptions are an adapted interpretation of what our eye registers.  The lens of the eye follows the laws of optics and inverts the image of what the eye is seeing.   We don’t “see” the inverted image do we?  The wonderful apparatus we carry in our skulls adapts the sensory data to a perception that more closely represents the image in the real world.  We “see” the candle upright as it is.

A perception is what our brain tells us about the information gathered through our senses.  It is an interpretation of the real world.  It is a constructed representation of what the senses pick up.  If we remember that my perception is a different interpreted construction than what your brain has constructed, we might take a step toward overcoming the conflicts that lessen our mental health and happiness.  It’s good to understand that many of these conflicts arise from assuming that we all experience the world in the same way.

Celebrate you at your best today!

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Too often when I attempt to open an app on my iPad or get my phone camera set to take a picture of one of my grandchildren I inadvertently hit the wrong button. What comes up on screen is a close up, real time image of me. I hurry to make the correction and remove it but not before I catch a glimpse of what I actually look like compared to the picture I have in my head of what I look like.

This is a horrifying experience!

Is this what I look like? Could my hair look worse? The angle brings out every line and wrinkle I’m pretending doesn’t exist. And yet here is reality staring back at me.

This kind of realization and self-evaluation does nothing to improve my Mental Health & Happiness.

Amazingly I’ve had an equal and opposite experience, and I bet you have too. I come across an old photo of me taken ten, or fifteen or more years ago. I almost can’t believe the photo is of me. I look wonderful! And I remember viewing the photo at the time, yet again feeling horrified at how I looked. But I was wrong. I looked good.

I hope you will please confirm for me that you too have had this experience. I’m not the only vain person on the planet, am I? And I can’t be the only person who was at one point dissatisfied with a photo only to realize later how great I actually looked, am I?

canstockphoto13450488I’ll make a deal with you. Let’s take a step to improve our Mental Health & Happiness. How about today we each celebrate who we are and what we look like today. Just remember ten years from now we will look back at ourselves amazed at our beauty. Let’s not wait ten years to celebrate. Let’s celebrate today.

Perception is Reality….really???

Dr. Ken Larsen

A friend of mine is the news anchor for a Midwest TV station.  She was interviewing me about how our brain processes our sensory experience.  At one point she reported that it is a common understanding that perception is reality.  I think many of us believe that that is true.

A firm grasp on reality is kind of important to be mentally healthy.  However, there was something unsettled in me about simply accepting that “perception is reality.”  What came to mind is the old Philosophy 101 question, “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, is there a sound?”  The answer of course depends on how you define sound.  That same answer can apply to how we define “reality”.

How much strife and conflict have come to us because of not understanding what this picture illustrates?

Many if not most disagreements are simply the result of “missed understanding.”   See how that applies to this picture.  Each of them is clear on “reality”.  It is the same thing for both of them.  Here’s the rub.  If perception is reality, then there are two “realities” which is clearly nonsense.

perception1What happens when they realize their only difference is point of view.  I can imagine them sharing a laugh together and instead of a conflict, they would come to a deeper understanding of each other.

This is a two minute video I did with some friends a couple of years ago.  It illustrates this point in a light hearted manner.  I have heard reports from people all over our country and from as far away as India and South Africa who have enjoyed this video.

How are you making yourself feel?

by Dr. Barnes Boffey

Although it seems incredible and almost incomprehensible, the reality is that “we create both the emotions we love and those we hate.” Our emotions do not happen to us, they are the result of an experience coupled with the story we tell ourselves about that experience.

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Suppose, for example, you are writing a greeting card, and your child runs by, hits your arm, and you end up scribbling on the card. How would that make you feel? The answer is that it wouldn’t make you feel anything. What would create your emotion is the story you begin to tell yourself about what happened. If you say “How can he be so clumsy,” you would feel frustrated and maybe angry. If you tell yourself “Oh, man, I just spent 10 minutes on this card. Not cool,” you might feel disappointed and frustrated. If you told yourself, “No big deal, he’s a kid and he didn’t mean to do it,” you might feel forgiving and calm. The emotion you “have” is a result of the story you create.

This is both good news and bad news. Good news because we now have a great deal of control over the story we tell ourselves and bad news because we can no longer blame everyone else in our lives for “making us” feel bad (or good). We have to give up the victim role, even knowing the power of being a victim and its many attendant assets. But in the long run, as emotional victims we are at the mercy of the world in which they live, a terrible place from which to try to meet our basic needs.

Helping each other tell different stories about our lives is the purview of a good friend, a parent, a counselor and a spouse/partner. Same story. . . same emotion. But knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. Some stories are very, very hard to change, especially once they become part of the fabric of who we are and how we present ourselves to the world.

Victimhood is a sad and ineffective perspective from which to our lives. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The Universe is Generous

By Dr. Barnes Boffey

Good mental health means always growing and changing to meet the reality of the world in front of us. To do that, we have to bolster those qualities of character which comprise who we are. If, for example, we hope to be strong, patient, courageous and honest, we must tend to these qualities as one would a garden. They must be weeded and fed and watered. One way to do that is to ask the spirit in the universe for help in being more of each of these things.

The dilemma comes in the fact that when we pray or wish for more courage, for example, we are coincidentally asking to be put in a situation where we will experience fear so that the courage can grow. When we ask for patience, we are unwittingly asking to be put in a situation where we feel stressed and impatient – in that stress and impatience is the opportunity for our patience to grow in strength and quality.

The universe tends to give ushandsholdingworld what we ask for, and if we are unaware of what comes next when asking for positive characteristics, we may become discouraged and think we have been abandoned. Many people feel financially insecure, and it is not unusual for people to ask to feel more financially secure. In the paradoxical universe as it exists, that request may lead to a time of even more financial worry; in that state of worry, we are offered the opportunity to face it head on and become more hopeful and at peace about our financial worries.

The universe is a generous in so many ways, even with unseen opportunities. And, what I ask for is so much less than the universe is willing to give me.