We fear, we worry, we panic - needlessly, uselessly
What is built into our DNA (and what is not)
We, then, have the ability to not live "unsanely"
What we can control
Where do we draw the line between the body and the brain?
The core of the problem
There is more to it
Yes - it happens, but...
Exaggerate consequences and adjustability
But the real point is...
We are creating and using the script
Firing off the familiar sequence, over and over and over
So, let's do a better version this time
I accept the challenge or ...
Caution: This will repeat some things you've already heard, but its aim is to go deeper so that you can make better choices that will totally upgrade the quality of your life. You may wonder at first what this all has to do with fear and anxiety about "extremes" occurring in life, but you'll understant as you get to the latter part.
Sanity - Healthy "organized" thinking, rationally choosing what is in one's life
and what one does.
Highsanity - High, healthy thinking
Unsanity - Lacking sanity, but not the intensity of insanity; mild insanity?
WE FEAR, WE WORRY, WE PANIC - NEEDLESSLY, USELESSLY
We spend a great portion of our lives being "concerned" about what might happen and how bad of an experience it will be.
We are often very wrong on how bad it will be. So there is some "lack of reality" going on there, and normally a lot of (unintended) exaggeration.
But the greater problem is that we use these tools (fear, worry, panic, etc.) totally inappopriately and with great harm to ourselves (from the stress we induce and from the body reactions we cause over and over that cause things to get "out of whack" in our operating system).
Yes, it is absolutely true that something really bad and/or really extreme could happen. Something "pretty bad" will happen in most people's lives. We do survive most of them and most become a mere memory. But there are some things that could happen that we can't minimize. No question.
The question that is important here, however, is whether we should bother at all to feel bad now about something that could/might happen.
The solution to this all important problem lies in addressing the script that has some people panicking while others have virtually no concern and the same odds of something bad occurring.
Although addressed later in more detail, we write a play that ends in the middle at an erroneous, dysfunctional way of thinking, whereas we could complete a new script and have a new play with a new ending that is close to worry free, ending inappropriate fear and panic forever. (You'll link later into the playscript procedure we are talking about, but first you've got to see what it is, why the current version is causing what it causes, of course, and how to not continue doing that same thing. You might not like the conclusion on what to do, but it will work!)
But first we need to lay out some groundwork and make sure there are certain understandings, without which we could not reach the solution stage.
WHAT IS BUILT INTO OUR DNA (AND WHAT IS NOT)
Yes, it is built into our human DNA to be able to anticipate what could happen (so that we can prevent the event from happening so that we can then survive and procreate). And, when there is a real threat, it is built into our DNA to react to handle it, to fight, to flee or to freeze.
And it is built into our DNA to have our mind react to pictures of what could happen, to evaluate them as being threats or not or being a source of living. You give it a picture, it reacts. (That sounds so simple and maybe inane or unimportant. However, it is a vital realization, without which one can not move forward in life to "highsanity".)
And, further, it is built into our DNA to have a higher brain that can use rational thinking to screen things out and to logically determine what to do. The failure of our training is that we do not employ this higher brain as intentionally and as often or as deeply as we should or could.
WE, THEN, HAVE THE ABILITY TO NOT LIVE "UNSANELY"
If we don't apply higher thinking to what is irrational (= not rational) thinking we end up living life "unsanely."
If we live life "unsanely", we do not live it sanely - although we have the thinking ability, we do not rationally choose what is in our lives and what to do in alignment with what is for our best interest. Therefore, we suffer consequences we do not need to suffer.
It is important to make the distinction that "unsanely" does not refer to what the body does that is outside of what our conscious thought can control. That part is just the nonconscious part of our operating system and, for what it is designed, it is operating appropriately and effectively, essentially sanely. But it is not sophisticated enough to handle the more complex decisions. "Unsanely" does, however, apply to the thought process that is based on bad BS (irrational thinking, irrational and/or untrue beliefs). BS in this context refers to "belief systems", but it is true that we often believe in a bad belief without examining it and correcting it, which leaves one with the equivalent of unrefined bull excrement.
It is a pity that people still allow themselves to believe anything that has not been proven true. Here is some wisdom from the BuddhaKahuna:
"He who cannot see the difference between what is true and what is akin to bull excrement will not live the quality of life above that of a fool - for who but a fool would keep choosing to believe the bull excrement? It is my opinion, after much careful thought, that one should look at all unproven beliefs (especially those related to bad results) as potential bull excrement and proclaim 'I shall not be fool enough to believe that potential bull excrement is true, as the alternative is to be a fool.' Choose well - as your life is at stake."
WHAT WE CAN CONTROL
It is important to make a distinction between what we can control and what we cannot control, and then to choose to control what we can control - and choose to not spend any effort trying to control the uncontrollable (or looking for mystical, magical methods to do so. This is a major distinction of life and what that, if properly used, adds much power to one's life. See Control.
When someone says something like "I am giving away my power to what I eat" (or drink or...), they are being inaccurate. Physiologically, we have no choice but to eat; this is an unconscious process. However, what I choose to eat is a conscious process. Since power is the ability to choose and to cause something, it is never true that one can give one's power to an inanimate or unconscious process.
Our dominion is over that which we can control and that which we can choose. We can't choose to not have our heart respond to threats, for that is built into our DNA. We can't choose to not feel fear when there is a threat. We can't choose our bodily and primitive mind reactions.
However, we can choost to change the part that aren't wired in!
To help understand this more deeply, let's explore an age old question...
Where do we draw the line between body and brain?
This is a definitional, distinction item that one can skip over if one chooses, but which one should know:
Note that it is difficult to draw the line between where the body leaves off and the brain starts, especially since they are all in one unit.
We can, however, differentiate them on a common spectrum of functionlaity level on which they each perform, with lower cells at the bottom.
Note that the body does make decisions of sorts - if this, then that - if x happens, then it does y.
That is "wired in", like the hardware in a computer, but it is something that also could be programmed into software if we were smart enough to do so. Somehow evolution already did the "programming".
The brain stem is very primitive, but it sorts things out in a bit more sophisticated manner than the body below it. The "mammalian" mid brain we share with animals is even more sophisticated but still primitive.
Based on this, a convenient line to draw is one similar to the line drawn for years in "mind management":
I. Lower noncontrollable: Not directly consciously controllable is on this side of the line, unconscious, consisting of built-in wiring.
II. Higher, controllable: Conscious, able to think creatively and rationally far beyond the simplicity of the primitive minds, mostly what we call the "higher
brain" and the "subhigher brain".
The "subhigher brain" is conscious, notices things in the body, and one that can take over some higher brain functions that are trained into habits.
For instance, a person who meditates will find that his/her "sorting" part of the brain works much better - that is that part which sorts between irrational signals not worth noting [i.e. "complete nonsense"] and signals that should or should not be forwarded to the lower or the higher brain. A result of this is that those people are "calmer", naturally and automatically, because there are fewer potentially alarming signals allowed to go through to the automatic wiring of the reactivity system.
(End of this insert.)
As discussed above, there are things that we can't choose. However, we must choose to understand how those things operate if we want to be able to make the best choices of strategies employ and actions to take. We must learn what the wiring is, in sufficient detail, so that we can operate the system. It is totally illogical to not choose to learn how to operate the system, though many people seem to advocate "just living life and learning all one needs naturally as we go" - respectfully, I must say that that is, truly, "bull excrement".
So, logically, the power to affect our life lies in where we can control things. (Duh!)
So that is where we will focus all of our energy - on things we can control once we identify that they are controllable.
An example of one of the things we can control is our behavior with regard to meditating. So, we should control it. But is it sufficient unto itself to have us attain peace of mind?
No. Meditation helps the wiring, but poor content still overrules. Using meditation as the solution to anxiety or lack of peace is like using a hammer to build a house - it is useful, but we need to add other tools to do the whole job.
Note that meditation helped the screening process for non-sensical signals. It is non-sensical signals and our not correcting them that are at the core of the entire worry-fear-anxiety syndrome that we experience so excessively often.
Meditation deals with the "symptoms" (bad thoughts) and does teach one to discriminate and alter a bad thought to some extent, but it does not go to the core of the problem.
THE CORE OF THE PROBLEM
The core of the problem lies in the recordings/patterns that are built into the memory system in the brain. Old "rote" recordings are all that the primitive brain has to offer to help us solve problems and try to live. If the recordings/patterns are erroneous, then it is a bad idea to keep them, to tolerate them - tolerating them is as nonsensical as keeping your foot on the brake pedal just in case there is a potential accident and then trying to proceed smoothly and rapidly through life - we've got to discriminate on when to use the brake pedal and when not to keep using it - or we'll just be stopped in life, making little progress and living a poor quality "start and stop" life, one with unnecessary ups and downs!!!!!
(OK, you've heard this before and can see where it is heading, to something you've heard over and over - but somethng you've never fully heeded. It is my intention to make a complete clear case for why you should be doing what follows - andto have you do it!)
THERE IS MORE TO IT
Now, for a bit of what might seem like an aside but which is extremely relevant and useful.
Whenever we state that something is out of our control, we need to be careful about what we are assuming and saying. Whenever we don't notice what is going on, we need to stop assuming that we cannot notice or learn to distinguish what is going on.
"I was just talking to this person and I started to hyperventilate. There was nothing in between that occurred."
This is as if the event caused the reaction, which is an impossibility. Basic logic clearly would note that there must be something occurring between the event and the reaction, as different people have different reactions to the same event. There must have been some thinking that occurred that created such a seeming threat that the body and the primitive mind responded to it as if it was an extreme emergency.
(If we study the basics of the body and the primitive mind, we would quickly understand how there is different "programming" for each level of threat. And if there is a big reaction, there, therefore, MUST be a "big seeming" threat. It is an absolute necessity for being able to create a better life that you see that this is true! We cannot proceed to your being effective in life without your knowing this fact is an absolute truth, something wired into the body.)
I bring up all this in order to hype the fact that we must notice and/or derive each bit of what is going on, as if we were using The Playscript Procedure that is used to find solutions to consulting problems in business and any area of life - the basic idea is that, until there are sufficient details, one cannot distinguish what is going on.
If we use techniques to get a complete enough picture of reality, we will see that there is no need to have fear of extremes happening, even though they could happen. Yes, it is true that they could happen. But what is not true is the belief that it is necessary to fear something in order to have one do something to cause it not to happen, to prevent it.
If there is something extreme that we can do something about, we would, of course, do it. (Duh!) Dying early from smoking, living a shorter and lower quality of life from poor diet and no exercise and/or overstressing oneself and wreaking havoc on our bodies and psyches, lacking earning power, etc. - surely even a fool would not do something about those! (Oops, alot of people aren't doing anything about those, but that is a part of what we are dealing with on the site in the health areas - motivation and seeing clearly that the bad end result is something we want to avoid and that the good end result is what we want to bring about. We deal on this site with working with one's moods, chemicals, etc., and motivation. Put the subject you are interested in, into the Search Engine on the main pages.)
YES, --IT HAPPENS, BUT...
Perhaps Forrest Gump is the philosopher to go to in this area. After stepping in something while running, he proclaimed "Sh-- happens!"
But the rest of the story is to live life wonderfully, doing what one should that will affect outcomes, and then live with the convictiong that, in most cases, you have the ability to adjust to whatever occurs and to create happiness. (See Fearlessness.)
EXAGGERATED CONSEQUENCES AND ADJUSTABILITY
Let's deal with one part quickly here: That we exaggerate how badly we will be affected by a negative outcome. We probably do that to "motivate" ourselves in the same dysfunctional family as "creating suffering" to motivate or "criticizing oneself" to motivate oneself - which, of course, you should stop doing because they don't work. (Sometimes people see this more clearly when they use the idea behind the Breakdowns/Breakthroughs forms.) The truth is that we do deal with things much better than our poor primitive brains mispredict. And things most often do turn out better, with the human mind automatically adjusting for pain and/or other negative occurrences. See Actual Consequences Aren't As Bad As We Predict.
(Note that exaggeration is a habit. It is a way of thinking. It is just as changeable as anything, requiring much persistence also. We need to fully detail out what the thinking process is and then to fully script a new, rational way of thinking - there is no other way out!)
BUT THE REAL POINT IS...
However, regardless of whether it is as bad as we think it will be, the real point here lies in adjusting the way we waste so much effort in targeting something that is untargettable and uncontrollable. After we've used our brain to plan and to take the appropriately effective preemptive action, there is nothing we can do about diseases striking us, accidents, the forces of nature, people leaving our lives deliberately or by death, looking the fool, failing at times, losing money in the market, etc. and etc. and etc. (See also Worry main page, and, perhaps, Worry As A Tool - Upgrading It.) I'm not trying to convince you that bad things won't happen. What I am trying to convince you of is that having a recording/pattern that keeps on generating bad feelings is not such a good idea. A good idea is to go through all of what your thinking is in a particular process that leads to extreme feelings and to correct the thinking - essentially to re-write it completely - and I mean completely just as you would in using The Playscript Procedure.
WE ARE CREATING AND USING THE SCRIPT
If we continue to experience panic or any extreme fears, we are creating a picture of some future event happening such that we are already experiencing the feeling that we don't want to feel. Ironic, huh?!!!
Nothing else will explain the resultant bad effect! We have got to be using a full script to create that picture and we need to create a full script to correct it. If we have no clear prototype of good thinking, how the hell can we create good thinking? Impossible! Also, how can one create being a great person, without knowing what one looks like, acts like, and how such a person is "being"? How can one create something one cannot see?
We must create something we can see.
FIRING OFF THE FAMILIAR SEQUENCE, OVER AND OVER
The person who experience panic over and over is simply firing off the same sequence every time. It is a programming sequence, often known as a habit. The panicky person often says he/she has a "phobia" (an irrational, intense and persistent fear of ...). And the phobia is seemingly classified as almost something mystical, something that just came upon us and overtook us. But that isn't the way the brain works. A phobia is nothing more than a pieced together sequence of stories and beliefs leading to a falsely created threat that something severe will happen and one will suffer greatly. Now there's a story for ya!
Just as that story was created, we can create another story that parallels it and takes each piece of the phobia story and rewrites it. Without that rewrite, the fear will have no chance of not staying in place. Yes, we can use "desensitization" techniques by gradually exposing someone to the feared stimulus and that often works - well, guess what?! - that is a way of changing the story - and, guess what, it works!
SO, LET'S DO A BETTER VERSION THIS TIME
So, let's do what we originally did, but a better version of it. Let's write a new script. It is the script that is having us react to hypothetical extreme threats.
I can't talk you out of your worrying about those. I can't talk you out of using the strategy of worry to magically fend off what could happen in the future. I might be able to convince you that in order to use worry you must believe that it is effective and fulfilling some need - but that it doesn't actually work. And I hope I have made it clear that you are merely replaying an illogical recording/pattern that contains a falsely created, illogical threat.
And you must see that the only way out is to take what created you being stuck in whichever mess is causing you such stress and to stop using it - perhaps sometimes by "stopping" the thought, which is essentially dealing with the "symptom" - but most definitely to use the same programming method but this time doing a "do over" of the unsane into one that is correct and highsane.
Essential, the key point is that we can choose to control the inputs that cause the brain to see a 'threat'. And we can create a new script that works. And we can only solve the problem if we address it completely and rewrite the script with highsane stuff that is correct.
It is solvable, but will you do it? Will you just go through the doable steps in the process and not stop until this is solved? (See the completion discussion in The Playscript Procedure.)
I ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE OR ...
____ I accept this challenge and will do what is necessary to solve any key item that
has me feeling bad.
____ No, I decline, as it is easier to keep what I have, and besides I am not
convinced enough to try this. I'll just keep repeating what I am experiencing.
From another write-up:
The ultimate projection, which is often implicit in any hyperreaction, is that death or extreme suffering is coming. In panic, the idea is actually more verbalized, such as in "I thought I was going to die!".
In normal fears that are made up in humans there is a chain of thinking that ends in some believed consequences about survivability – though most of those drop from consciousness and exist implicitly. The logic is that no big effect (big emotional or physical reaction) will occur without a big cause. Therefore, we must look for what would be a big cause. Asking “what is a big threat to humans?”, we find that it is a loss of limb or life. The loss of life itself is an irrational fear (see You Will Die), but the loss of the quality of life and fear of suffering such that life isn’t worth it is a fairly rational fear object. What is irrational is that we experience the “death” when nothing has really occurred, when we are not either dead literally or in our life experience. Somehow, we believe that creating the intensity of the possible future experience will motivate us to ward it off – and there is where thinking goes awry.
The Site: www.thelifemanagementalliance.com.