THE mind, like a parachute, functions best when fully open. Our brain is a filter that deletes, distorts and generalises the mass of data we are constantly bombarded with from both our external and internal environments.
It is said that there are about a quarter of a million bits of information clamouring for our attention at any one time and that that is distilled down to seven (plus or minus two) bits of data from which we make sense of our world.
As a sense-making machine the brain does this instantly and constantly, seeking familiar patterns to fit what we see into the beliefs that we have created and giving us the comfort that those beliefs are right.
As our language developed our personal world view developed, as our world view developed our ability to explain it developed, and as our language develops to explain it we become locked on to our confirmed beliefs because we have constantly reinforced them. This places limitations on how we explain our experiences, and how they affect us, to others.
You can understand that we live in a world of strong personal bias and that we see what we expect to see - in fact, we see what we want to see. You'll then acknowledge the incredible challenge we have when effectively communicating with other people.
For most of the time it is done with little effort or concentration because we are certain that what we are saying, seeing, experiencing is understood in the same way by others - until we are challenged. The challenge creates uncertainty, which creates confusion and an initial threat response or away response in the brain.
The fascinating thing about our brain is that it craves certainty and yet only in uncertainty can we have an open mind allowing the mental flexibility and opportunity to engage with alternative ideas.
How do we manage this dilemma?
The answer is as simple as it is challenging and that is to focus on being fully present in the moment we actually exist in. Stop projecting out and creating anxiety about a desired future - that way leads to depression.
Be here now. It's a great place to be and it's the only place we are certain we exist in.
Nick Bennett is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned
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