When we experience a setback, the last thing that we want to hear from others is: ‘move on’. Why is this, the single hardest ‘move’ to make? Why is leaving an unsatisfactory state so binding?
Well, as corporeal humans, we perceive time as linear; but our brain does not. As far as the brain is concerned, there is no past present or future. The brain responds to the state you are in ‘right now’. For example, when you recall a painful past memory, you are living it repeatedly and the brain reacts to it as though it is happening right now. Effectively you are re-affirming to yourself that you are a victim of the past.
To your brain, you are stuck in a loop. ‘Past-participle’ will perpetuate ‘future-imperfect’. As a result you continue to feel demoralised, and therefore you do not perceive a way forward. The brain does not differentiate between what has actually happened, what you think has happened; nor between what you think will happen or what you want to happen. It reacts and responds to thoughts and perceptions you have right now. That can be a blessing visualisation works because to the brain it is ‘real’.
The difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘thought’
Dr David Bohm*, a respected physicist who was also interested in the nature of thought, questioned, “What is the source of all this trouble?” in the world. In his analysis thought is at the root of all problems. Bohm noted the distinction between “thinking” and “thought” – thinking implies the present tense, and thought is the past participle. “Thinking goes into the brain and leaves a trace which becomes thought, and thought then acts automatically.”
As you think about moving on, please remember the following about your brain:
- Thoughts you experience in the present are what count. The brain reacts to what you perceive right now.
- You can re-write the past by changing your perception of it.
- Your linear mind is more likely to move forward once it perceives a different past. So,
- Don’t analyse, visualise.
‘Re-writing The Past’
- Find a quiet corner where you can sit relaxed.
- Close your eyes, take three deep breaths. Try to hold your breath, and then exhale all your worries.
- Imagine next that you are sitting on a tree trunk, warm yellow-orange sun shining above. Get a sense of the bottom of your spine and look down mentally following the roots of the trunk, deep into the centre of the earth.
- As you breathe out, allow your body to feel increasingly heavier and more comfortable; knowing you are protected and grounded.
- Focus your attention at the centre of your head, clearing your mind. Then ask it, what situation you need to rewrite in order to move forward. Allow an answer to effortlessly pops up in your mind it might not be what you expect!
- This is your second chance. Start re-writing the situation; by visualising it happening the way you wished it did, creating new a script and feelings. See and hear other people who were involved responding positively to what is happening now.
- Take your time. The success of re-writing depends on how real you make it. Include details, senses, sounds and smells and repeat visualisation technique as often as necessary. These are the new memories.
- Try to see yourself at ease as you and others involved come to mutual understanding. As your visualisation comes to conclusion, see yourselves smiling and content.
- Focus now on the trunk you are sitting on, the room you are in; wiggle your toes, open your eyes and stand up slowly. Feel excited about the new future that is possible now!
“Until thought is understood – better yet, more than understood, perceived – it will actually control us; but it will create the impression that it is our servant, that it is just doing what we want it to do.”*
*Thought as a System – David Bohm, pub. Routledge 1992 (Amazon UK, Amazon USA) This book is a transcription of a seminar held in Ojai, California in 1990. Bohm’s work is an important analysis of the way in which “thought” controls us and determines our behaviour and actions. Bohm sees the nature of thought as being the cause of many human problems.