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The words "Mind" and "Brain" represent two different realities.
There are many documented instances where people have died and
literally left the physical body where their brain was located — yet, they
continued to think and perceive in a spirit realm, before returning to mortal life.

Consider how mortal beings can die, and without a physical brain,
the immortal spirit continues to think and perceive and live. Therefore,
it is the immortal spirit that enables conscious awareness and thought, and
the brain connects consciousness to the physical senses and to body movements.

 

Why You Can't Train Your Brain using the
Same Brain that Needs Training
by Matt Moody, Ph.D. 

Among a myriad of Ideas and Images offered on the Internet, I came across this positive suggestion:
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
! And just to twist up your brain a bit, . . . think about this question:

A Wrong Assumption: You Can Train Your Mind Just Like a Muscle

If you set the goal to "train your brain," . . . what brain will you be using to accomplish this goal? Which brain will you use to
"train your brain"?

Answer: You will be using the only brain you've got!

So in reality, and ironically, your Brain is going to "train" itself. Now if your Brain were smart enough to train itself, why would such a competent, smart Brain need to be trained in the first place?

Thus to admit that your Brain needs training at all, is to admit to some deficiency or weakness in . . . the only Brain you've got.

The curious goal of having your own brain try to train itself, is a paradox I call: Einstein's Mind Bind. And here's how Albert E. ... expressed the irony:

"You can't use the same mind that created your problems, to solve your problems."
~ Albert Einstein  

Here's another way to describe the contradictory dilemma called Einstein's Mind Bind:

"You can't Fix Your Mind using the Same Mind that needs Fixing."
~ Changing Your Stripes, p. 175  

This subtle insight flies over the heads (and over the brains) of most people, especially those who are deeply committed to Positive Thinking. You see, Einstein's observation actually undercuts the premise of Positive Mental Attitude. Let me to explain why? In a nutshell, here's what advocates of Positive Thinking assume:

You can program your Brain because it functions like a computer; so as You "enter" positive thoughts and images into your Brain, these thoughts automatically create what You want.

According to the PMA Paradigm, as you reinforce a thought long enough, by repeating it over and over in your Head, that positive thought becomes a belief. Here's how Dr. Christiane Northrup says it:

"A thought held long enough and repeated often enough
becomes a belief. A belief then becomes your biology."

False Assumption that the Brain is Mechanical, and program-able like a Computer

In the 60's, a writer who greatly influenced the PMA Movement was Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon who wrote the book, "Psycho Cybernetics." In his book, Dr. Maltz made the mind-as-computer comparison with these words:

"your physical brain makes up a servo-mechanism which 'You' use, and which operates very much like an electronic computer, ... your mind, like an unstoppable servo-mechanism, propels you to success."

But here's where the PMA Paradigm falls apart, here's the flaw that foils all the fun: Your Brain does NOT really function like a computer — and neither does your Mind. Why so?

Clearly, if you could simply "train your brain" to attain the goals you focus upon, then many millions would be achieving wonderful success; yet, the reality for most mortals is that life is an ongoing struggle to survive inevitable obstacles and adversities.

To explain why millions are NOT getting what they want by chanting self-affirmations, defenders of the PMA Faith retort: "You're just not doing it right, you need to know The Secret, so buy my book and I'll teach you how." Or the PMA Salesman may say, "Attend my seminar entitled, 'How I Did It'."

But trying to convince yourself that You are amazingly successful and that You can accomplish anything, still does not change this fact: Certain mortal realities are beyond your control, and all the PMA in the world will not prevent them from happening. For example:

          * Accidents due to Human Error
          * Consequences of Mechanical Failure
          * Inconsiderate or Abusive Acts of Others
          * Untimely Movements of Mother Nature
          * Challenges due to Ailments of the Body

Job of the Old Testament found himself in a tragic circumstance where his family was killed, his home and his cattle were destroyed, and the health his body was momentarily taken away. Enduring his dire conditions was never a matter of chanting positive self-affirmations and programming his brain; instead, the way through his devastating adversity was to express faith in God, and pray for the Lord's healing and redemption.

People often use the words "Brain" and "Mind" interchangeably. Here's another positive suggestion that I found floating in cyber-space: Train Your Mind To See The Positive In Every Situation.

Again, the burning question arises: What Mind will you be using to "train" your Mind?

Answer: You will be using the only Mind you've got.

This means, You will be using your old mind, the one that has led you into your current condition, and you will be using that old mind to train the same old mind to have positive thoughts? So your old mind, the one that was somewhat blind to seeing the positive in every situation, this mangled mind will be training the same messed-up mind to . . . see the positive in every situation? How is this done? (Hint: "It's not!")

Think about the following experiment:
Leave someone alone in a room, and instruct him as follows:

Train Your Mind to Think Postive Thoughts

"You will be your own teacher and your own student at the same time. Your goal is to teach yourself to become smarter! And you will accomplish your goal solely by talking to yourself."

Let's assume that the person who will be training his own brain, while using that same lame brain to do the training, is presently lacking in maturity and experience — he's gullible. So how successful will Mr. Gullible be with trying to teach himself to be smarter? And remember, the method that Mr. Gullible will employ upon himself, to teach himself, will be to repeat Positive Self-Affirmations over and over, affirmations like:

* I'm getting smarter and smarter.
* I am a wise and very intelligent person.
* I love love love myself for how bright I am.
* I am fantastically perceptive and keenly insightful.
* Every day and in every way, I'm getting smarter and smarter.

Contrast the previous PMA approach with a practical approach to becoming smarter:

* Sign up for a class at school.
* Check out a book from the library and read it.
* Attend a lecture by a teacher who knows a lot about a topic.
* Find an opportunity to teach someone else what you know quite well, and in that interactive teacher-student process, you will inevitably learn more than the student — and thus, become smarter.

False Assumption: Train Your Mind to See the Good — Seeing Good Happens via the Heart, not the Head

PMA Believers will retort, "of course you do the practical things like signing up for a class; Positive Thinking is used to initiate and reinforce those practical actions!" But here's the burning question, which of the following two approaches do you deem to be more powerful?

* Repeating positive affirmations in your Head over and over to support doing practical things, OR
* Praying to the Father in the name of Christ to encourage and inspire you in doing practical things?

Compared to Positive Self-Talk and chanting Affirmations, sincere prayer can change your path in life much more profoundly. Why? Because prayer to the Father in the name of Christ is the very Source from which you and I are inspired to positive thoughts that have lasting impact. The Savior said:

"I am the True Vine ... abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit
of itself, except it abide in the vine ... I am the Vine, and ye are the branches:
He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit:
for without me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:1-5)

While many Americans say they "believe in Christ" ... ironically, they don't really Believe Him -- they don't fully realize and they don't literally believe the grand, all-inclusive magnitude of the Savior's statement:
"He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me, ye can do nothing." If they did realize the omniscient power of the Son of God as the creator of heaven and earth, then they would not be putting their faith in talking to themselves and repeating self-affirmation phrases — instead, they would be putting their Faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ and in mighty prayer to God the Father.

In the New Age Movement, positive self-talk and the practice of chanting self-affirmations to train your brain is Satan's secular substitute for the divine dialogue called "prayer." Simply consider some of the preachers of chanting self-affirmations, and where they stand in regard to the Son of God.

 

The Truth about the Mind

The words "Mind" and "Brain" represent two different realities. How so? There are many documented instances where people have died and literally left the mortal body — leaving behind the physical place where their brain was located — yet, they continued to think and perceive in a spirit realm before returning back to mortal life, and back to the body where the brain was located.

Out of Body Experience Near Death

Consider how mortal beings can die, and without a physical brain, the immortal spirit continues to think and perceive and live. Thus it is the immortal spirit that enables conscious awareness and thought, and the brain connects this consciousness to the physical senses and to body movements.

Because "Mind" is a noun-word In the English language, we tend to conceive of mind as a thing; the thing where thinking takes place, or even the thing that does the thinking. But "thinking" is really an activity of conscious awareness and perception; thus, a noun-word is not the best symbol to represent that reality.

Mind is better represented with an action word like "Minding" — again, the word "Mind" literally refers to the mental activities of conscious awareness. So Minding and Thinking are the same. Minding is Conscious Awareness of your world; it is an awareness that continue uninterrupted after the mortal body dies.

But how does a person acquire a Mind-Set, a Way of Thinking, that is oriented towards seeing the good in everything? How does a person acquire a Mind that is perpetually positive?

State of the wicked when they die.

Repentance after death?

Mind-Set Emerges from an Earthly Context of Opposition

What it means to be human is to see life from particular perspectives that are not just positive or negative. Instead, the more fundamental question is whether you will see Life with eyes of Light, or with eyes of Darkness. So the crucial question, and choice, is about Light or Darkness, Good or Evil, and the degree to which you choose to embrace one, or the other.

"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is
become as one of us, to know good and evil"
(Genesis 3:22)

Within an earthly context of good and evil, mortal life is a time of testing, learning, and proving:

"Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven ...
that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no."
(Exodus 16:4)

"And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years
in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart,
whether thou would keep his commandments, or no. ... that he might humble thee,
and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end."
(Deut. 8:2,16)

"That through them I may prove Israel,
whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein,
as their fathers did keep it, or not."
(Judges 2:22)

"For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried." (Exodus 16:4)

Heavenly Father has a purpose for "proving" His children: those who choose to be faithful, God will make them as precious jewels (Malachi 3:17), as "silver" and "gold."

"My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept,
Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips;
I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me,
I shall come forth as gold."
(Job 23:10-14)

Coming forth as "gold," is the same divine purpose that Paul described in this verse:

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;
if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also
glorified together."
(Romans 8:16-17)

"Mind" and "Mind-Set," or the way one thinks and perceives and chooses, is understood and developed within a moral context of opposition: where evil opposes good, and man stands between bitter and better, with a God-given will to choose one, or the other. Thus, "Mind" is subject to the limitations that God has put in place. And one of those limitations is spiritual blindness.

"O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not;
which have ears, and hear not: ... Neither say they in their heart,
Let us now fear the Lord our God ... But this people hath
a revolting and a rebellious heart."
(Jeremiah 5:21-23)

 

Instead of Chanting Positive Self Affirmations Over and Over,
How Do I Come to Continuously See the Good in Life?

It is YOU who is trying to program your own Brain (or Mind) with positive affirmations; yet, YOU cannot escape YOU. This means, YOU will think and perceive and choose according to Who You Are in the present moment:

“You don't see the world as it is, but as You are.
Thus You can't change the fruit without changing the root."
(~ Stephen R. Covey

In Covey's analogy, the "fruit" is the way You see the world, and the "root" is You! And you can't change You, using the Same Mind that led You to being who You are, today. This means, people who embrace the Light will tend to choose more Light; in contrast, people who dwell in darkness, will tend to choose more darkness.

For this reason, a person who dwells in darkness cannot become a different person, a Being of Light and Love, simply by chanting certain words over and over. Truth is, the Talking-To-Youself approach to Self-Improvement is also called Fake-It-Till-You-Make-It, and faking-it, pretending to be someone you are not, is fundamentally dishonest. Stephen R. Covey taught:

Stephen Covey: Motivation Is A Fire Within

"You can't talk your way out of a
problem, that you behaved
your way into."

In order to change a problem that you "behaved your way into," you must make a humble and contrite decision to behave yourself back out of that problem. The Bible calls this process: Repentance.

Admitting one's mistakes and humbly repairing them is an essential part of living in the Light. And this life of integrity is the most fruitful source of your personal happiness, your joyful optimism, and your inner motivation.

In contrast, the literature of popular psychology says that optimism and motivation is primarily a matter of attitude, a matter of self-programmed positive mind-set — that you can simply psych yourself into a motivated state of optimism, is an assumption that is simply wrong.

One huge reason why you and I can't "psych" ourselves into positive thoughts, and more importantly "psych" ourselves into peace of mind, is explained by another truth taught by Stephen R. Covey:

"while you are free to choose your actions,
you are not free to choose the consequences of those actions."

A person who is perpetually choosing to do dark deeds, a person with "a revolting and a rebellious heart" will feel the consequences that come with doing those dark deeds.

"It is commonly assumed that with willpower and positive choice, a person can
change anything. But this is not true. If, with your willpower, you choose to abuse
others — lie to them, steal from them, or harm them physically or emotionally — you cannot
use that same willpower to erase the consequences of your abuse. Willpower alone
cannot renew the impact of abusive choices. To overcome the consequences
of all abuse, a divine Redeemer is required."

(~ Changing Your Stripes 

The person who dwells in darkness by doing dark deeds, or by failing to do good deeds, cannot SEE the Light and cannot SEE the Love and the Goodness of Life. This Darkened Perspective tends to perpetuate itself; which explains why people get trapped in addictive thinking and behavior.

When you cannot control your thoughts or your behaviors, and habitually fall into obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors — this means you're addicted in some form or fashion. And how does a person become free from this Prison of Addiction, free from this Jail of Obsessive Compulsive Thinking? Jesus taught:

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32)

Our minds are limited by our ignorance of the Truth. Freedom comes only by knowing the Truth. We are not free to choose options of which we are unaware; thus, we cannot choose a Truth that we do not yet know. For example: There were many who observed the miracles of Jesus, yet some sought to crucify Him anyway; these souls were not free to SEE and KNOW the Truth — they were blinded by the darkness in their own eyes.

And why were they blinded? The Apostle Paul explains:

"Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; . . . But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
((
1 Cor. 2:13-14)

Here is a Truth that Jesus taught that will make you Free:

"how can you, being evil, speak good things?
for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

((Matt. 12:34)

Since the mouth speaks according to the thoughts of the Mind; thus, applying the same line of logic, Jesus could have also said:

how can you, being evil, THINK good things?
for out of the abundance of the heart the MIND THINKS.

Because of James Allen's book, "As A Man ," some assume the Bible contains a Proverb that states: "As a man thinketh, so is he." But the Bible Proverb actually contains a vital element that is often omitted:

“For as he thinks IN HIS HEART, so is he" (Proverb 23: 7)

As a Man thinks in his Heart, so is he. For out of the abundance of the Heart, the Mind Thinks!

Truth is, when we do not have "good treasures" within our Hearts, we are not free to THINK or SPEAK or SEE good things. So the KEY to fixing the old mind that was blind to seeing the beauties of Life, is to receive a New Heart, which will in turn naturally create a New Mind capable of joyful optimism.

"A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh"

((Ezekiel 36:26) 

Contrary to what "The Secret" asserts, it is impossible for You to fix your thinking, with your thinking — especially if your thinking flows from an old mind that spawned your bad habits in the first place.

The Change of Heart IS the solution. A Change that You do not control, nor can you create with your positive thinking or determined will power; instead, the Change of Heart only happens by humbly yielding to the redeeming power of Heaven. It happens as you release yourself from your own willful wisdom, and trust in the Lord:

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Be not wise in thine own eyes"

((Proverbs 3:5-7)  

We cannot cause this profound Change to happen directly, we can only make ourselves eligible to be Changed; we do this by believing in Christ and faithfully following His ways; thus, we are Changed:

"Old things pass away, and all things become new;
you become a new creature in Christ."
((2 Cor. 5:17)  

"With every conscious choice to draw near to God's Light and Love,
self-control is gradually acquired; the desire to indulge in darkness diminishes
in direct proportion to the Light that shines in you and the Love that comes from you.
As Divine Love and Light grow brighter and brighter with each conscious choice
to draw nearer to Light and Love, the desire to do dark deeds disappears.
The dark deeds that brought blindness to your eyes in the first place,
so you could not continuously See the Good in Life."

(~ Changing Your Stripes.

Matt Moody, Ph.D.
Social Psychologist

Related Article: Why You Can't Think Yourself Out of An Addiction
Do I Really Have a Choice NOT to Be Stressed Out?

Why You Cannot Directly Think Yourself into Being Happy
As A Man Thinks So Is He: Clarifying A Misinterpreted Proverb

 

* * * * * * *

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The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)
 

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the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim), and
the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

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If these principles resonate and ring true,
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