This page is a QuikSummary of the piece titled How You And Your Brain/Body Operate, a 20 page discussion, which you must read if you are to understand better how to manage your mind and body.
This is one of the most vital key things to know in life, for truly understanding this will allow you to run the machinery for your greater benefit instead of unthinkingly letting it run (or ruin) your life and believing that somehow there are mysterious forces or some other things that are at cause here.
Knowing how something works and then how to work it is, obviously, the key for being able to do that particular something in such a way as to get the results you want (in life, in this case!).
In this case, the results you want are at the very core of living your life well. If you don't manage your mind (and your body, too), then you cannot live the great life you are capable of!!!!!! (Duh! Of course!)
YOUR MIND IS STRICTLY MECHANICAL
If anybody is overweight, unhealthy, stressed, unhappy, and/or not fulfilled and not highly happy (see test), they are violating the mechanical realities of life (the laws, the rules of how things work, etc.).
Everything in the universe run by systems/programs, which are sequences of causes and effects that yield a specific result.
If you violate that sequence, you are not likely to get the intended (hoped for) result.
The biggest error we make lies in treating the brain (which is a physical part of the body) and the body as if they had magical or mysterious forces inside them, instead of operating on this truth:
Your body and your mind/brain are strictly mechanical and operate on
Stimulus --> Perception --> Evaluation --> Action
(The body and your brain are support systems for what is the actual you. You MUST know who the real you is if you are to operate effectively in life!!!!!)
LET'S DEFINE THE TERMS HERE
Let's define the terms here, so that we can better see the mechanics, and therefore be better at managing the mechanics.
A stimulus is just something that occurs that we add meaning to - if we don't add meaning it is strictly something that happens and is neutral, just a happening and nothing more). It is strictly a factual happening (without any stories made up about it - those tales come in the next two parts of the sequence). These are often referred to as "triggers", but a happening is not a trigger in and of itself - it is the meaning that we add to it that creates the triggering effect
Perception = Physically matching "pictures" (recordings in the brain) through “seeing”/perceiving the "stimulus" and then filtering it through a series of beliefs (of what something "means" relative to survival). In a sense the brain is mechanically interpreting the potential impact of the stimulus or what it will cause. The lower brain is not that good at perceiving things correctly. To make sure we perceive things correctly we have to use the higher brain to discern what is true or not.
Evaluation = A continuation of the process of matching pictures (recording in brain), interpreting how impactful something could be, and then matching pictures as to what to do. Sometimes, but all too seldom, we use our higher brain to do more sophisticated analysis and rational valuation, but most often the (lower) brain uses the shortcut mechanical process that too often doesn't work to our benefit.
AT A "CELLULAR" LEVEL
At a "cellular level", this sequence is done very, very simply, and very "unthinkingly", strictly mechanically.
As we increase complexity to organs and other systems, it becomes more complicated, but the same process is engaged in.
At the higher brain levels we are mechanically capable of actually "thinking" rationally to come up to conclusions and solutions that seemingly are not strictly mechanical, but are just more complex and creative, which only the higher brain is capable of.
While we have little or no conscious awareness at the cellular level and have no, or minimal, power over that, we have more and more ability to affect the more complex processes and are often even able to correct them.
The primary process we engage in is taking on "beliefs" that help us run our lives, IF they are correct, which many of them are not. But we have, through our higher brain, the power to correct (change) those beliefs with our rational mind and to install them so that we can perceive and evaluate much more effectively, to produce much better actions and emotions that give us favorable results.
ALL FOR SURVIVAL, WITH SOME NEEDING "CORRECTING"
All of these recordings/records are for survival and/or for seeking balance that will support survival.
Our life's quality depends on the "recording"s that we allow to be played and/or choose to play.
The emotions are strictly biochemical sensations that are of varying strengths and of varying positive-negative values, but one must realize that they are not demands that need to be heeded nor are the contents of neural patterns (thoughts) actual reality. See Emotions, for a quick summary and Impulse Management, which teaches you that impulses are only impulses and not demands!
THE PROGRAMS ARE OFTEN BASED ON OUTDATED INFORMATION!!!!!
Our two primitive brains are hardwired and "programmed" based on outdated information and functions that have not been updated for 10,000 years. To adjust to the new world, we are fortunately able to rely on the higher brain to intervene and manage it all. Unfortunately, we somehow fail to realize the reality and thus we fail to use that critical instrument that is the only one that will have us operate well in this world. Scan Using Your Higher Brain.
Otherwise we are "doomed", if we run our lives based on our unsuitable programs for today's world - such as worrying too much, overstressing our bodies and brains, and to leaving much of our lives up to the workings of primitive, "stupid" brains, which we somehow believe are more capable than they actually are.
THERE ARE LOTS OF "VARIATIONS" IN PERCEIVING/EVALUATING
A person can perceive a particular event in 100's of ways and then also, based on the chosen perception, a person can, in turn, evaluate that perception in a great number of ways.
But, we are not animals which strictly mechanically react, with no thinking, to a stimulus via a quick program/instinct. They do "stimulus → response".
THERE ARE NO MYTHICAL ENTITIES INSIDE YOU
As explained in the main piece, the brain is solely mechanical, except that we have a special part of it that can be used in unique creative ways, which is what makes us extraordinary among all creatures. And it is that latter part which is really YOU, as discussed in Who I Really Am.
It is very, very important that you understand who you really are and don't accept the common cultural definition If you "get it", you will be massively freed up from useless defensiveness and protection and stuck beliefs. It will help transform your life!
Other than that one unique part, the brain (mind) simply records "stuff" with a mechanical prioritization related to the survival value, then it uses those records to provide pictures and patterns that seem to be associated with a "match". These patterns are often nonsensical or not completely logical - which is part of the reason in Buddhism that you are taught that thoughts are just thoughts and not the truth.
YOU (the higher brain) can look at thoughts and evaluate whether they are the truth and it can also decide whether to continue the emotion that is built into the thought pattern/record. (The emotion expires within 90 seconds, unless the thought is repeated or perpetuated in some way.)
When you don't function well, it is because you are allowing thoughts that are not true, and in fact are just plain misbeliefs. It is not magical or mystical, just mechanical - there is no "ego", "dark shadow", "inner child", "self-saboteur", nor any wizard behind the curtain in Oz - these are strictly metaphors which can be useful but can be destructive in some cases, such as in abdicating power to them or wrestling with these non-existent "entities". (The reason we "make these up" is discussed in The Believing Brain, which you absolutely must know, if you are to be a master of your self and your life. Unless you can prove to an objective scientific observer that there are mystical entities that are running things, we will stick to reality as what is true even if we cannot yet explain or see all the details, )
(As you'll see if you go into more depth on this path of learning, people hate the idea of being mechanical beings, as it is to the primitive brain a sign of being less than we imagine ourselves to be - and thus a threat. But the saving grace is that our higher brain has the power to create meaning and value, which is real and feels very good, but is not "given" to us in any way shape or form - we create it!
HOW TO FIND UNTRUTHS
Virtually all negative feelings are based on untruths, since 99+% of all events are neutral or near neutral. The mechanical mind is overly signaling that there are threats, when there are actually only "associated patterns" - if you take it seriously then you're like a charioteer who lets his horses run wild with no reins believing they know where to go and what to do. However, you must rein them in and direct them, giving them the commands of what to do.
However, we add steps to the stimulus-action sequence.
Filtered Filtered Untrue Untrue Untrue Untrue
Stimulus --> Perception --> Evaluation --> Belief --> Belief --> Belief --> Action --> Belief...etc.
And in all these there are miscaused negative emotions.
UNTRUTHS CAN ONLY BE CHANGED BY…
We can only change those beliefs/records “manually”. All beliefs should be run through the “truth test” and then replaced and installed. And the untrue beliefs should never be reinforced by any repetition or reference to them ever again. Suffering is created by not seeing all there is and by thinking we need to have “more” in order to be happy. (Per Buddha and the wise men of history.) Replacing these with appreciation for what is there and seeing that happiness is not dependent on “more” will stop all suffering.
Happiness and fulfillment will then occur.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Now that you realize that everything is mechanical, you can now proceed to use the mechanics to upgrade your beliefs, which will then upgrade your life. This would be more difficult if we still believed that there were mysterious forces operating in our brain or body, determining what we do and how we feel - au contraire, there are specific, definable steps (thoughts/beliefs) that we can alter and correct so that they will lead to the desired intended result.