THIS ‘PAYING ATTENTION’ THING
is a lot of work!
PREVIOUS: Info & the brain (#3)
OUR BRAIN – Gathering Info (cont.)
5. ALL ALIKE
6. BROAD TOPICS
8. OLD is still VALID
a. EXPECTATIONS: The brain will continue to ‘understand’ & interpret the present – based on the way things were when it got the last piece of information about something familiar, no matter how long ago that was.
Therefore, it won’t know if that info is still viable, or obsolete.
✓ Think about going to a school reunion. We may unconsciously assume classmates will look the same as they did when we last saw them (10, 20 + years ago), OR to act the same, especially towards us, & may be shocked at the changes in them. Of course this isn’t logical, but….
Obsolescence has 3 main sources – THINGS :
• that often change, like prices & styles
• that change more slowly, but steadily – like aging
• learned a long time ago, as in childhood. The further back the input, the more likely it’s not valid in the present, ✶altho’ this doesn’t apply to everything, like moral values or spiritual truths
b. ACTIONS: The mechanical brain can’t alert us to which memories (experiences) are still valid – to be used as a basis for present behavior – & which ones are out-dated. So, our current reactions to circumstances are often founded on useless, maybe even dangerous, info.
Types of Memory
a. Sensory – When our senses are triggered by a stimulus, our brain briefly stores the information for few seconds before it’s gone. It then has the option to process it through the memory banks or forget it.
When registering sensory input, it gathers info passively through visual & auditory cues – “iconic” & “echoic”.
b. Short-term – the brain temporarily stores information when it is triggered by stimuli. It can only hold a maximum of 7 items at a time, & also has a time limit for each, which is usually between 10 seconds to a minute.
“Working memory” – info stored for the purpose of using it, such as remembering a set of numbers while working on a math problem.
c. Long-term – After passing through short-term brain areas, relevant info is moved to long-term storage. Now we’re less likely to forget important details, but they can fade over time if we don’t refresh them.
When these memories form, they stay as long as they’re in use. The hippocampus retrieves info from working memory & starts changing the brain’s physical neural wiring – between neurons & synapses.
SOURCES of distorted info
▪︎ Parents, community, school, religious leaders, who may be well-meaning & want to be helpful, but more often are damaging
▪︎ Experienced manipulators : advertisers, politicians, investment promoters, sales people….
▪︎ Popular Culture: books, TV, internet, news media ….
➼ IRONY: Since the only criterion the brain has for identifying good or bad info is IF it’s consistent with what’s already stored, based on first impressions, then:
• for accurate input, the brain can protect us from accepting anything new that’s useless or harmful, BUT
• any bad info we started out with will stop us from believing new, correct info.
✶ That’s why we’re told that FIRST IMPRESSIONS are so important.
a. Sometimes we hear or read something ‘healthy’ & our head says it’s true, makes sense, the speaker / writer knows what they’re talking about… BUT we don’t feel it. This usually means we have a layer of defense against taking it in all the way – because the mechanical brain says it doesn’t fit,
AND the unconscious knows it’s going to be painful, & will go against the family’s messages.
b. Other times we hear or read something & it ‘rings a bell’, not just in our head but also in our gut. We know it’s RIGHT. It may be quite contradictory to our earliest training, but it’s right for us – down to our toes!
This is likely because the healthy info we’re receiving now is something we (secretly) knew in our hearts a long time ago, & had to suppress but is finally being validated.
Sometimes the healthy info is so clear & relevant to our True Self that all we can do is cry in relief at finally getting what we need!
NEXT: BOUNDARIES DEFINED – #1