The mind is where the alchemy of the universe comes together. If we harness this power, we can direct the “trajectory of our thinking.”
How To Avoid Confirmation Bias
The first thing we need to realize is that not every thought we have is valid or accurate. That’s because of the programming within our worldview. Our personalities and instincts play a role in our value judgments. But the most authoritative programming comes from the cultural narrative. This programming can override our default values. The primary sources of this are consumer advertising, political and religious propaganda. Here’s where we must begin asking questions. Please don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Always validate it.
A lot is going on inside the machinery of our psyche. It isn’t easy to sort out the influences, but we can do it if we use the right tools. Inner work is hard intellectually and emotionally. We are prone to the mind trap of confirmation bias.
This bias means we attempt to fit everything we experience within our existing worldview boundaries. It’s the default setting of our paradigm. It makes perception quicker and easier but not accurate. So, this default setting distorts our thinking and values by filtering everything.
Test First Approach to Life
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” ― Albert Einstein
These influential sources use proven self-hypnosis and group hypnosis systems, which tactics trigger our deepest fears. These propaganda tactics help them sell everything from deodorant to ideologies.
The more you expose yourself to the sources above, the more susceptible you are to “hypnotic suggestion.” So, they can program unsubstantiated and illogical ideas. That’s why we must learn to monitor our self-talk, our thinking, and our emotional triggers.
Some biases are not harmful. For instance, let’s say you like the color purple. You like purple clothes; this type of bias isn’t necessarily negative. It depends on where you get the dye. For centuries, the purple dye trade was in the ancient Phoenician city of Tyre.
Today this city is Lebanon. “Tyrian purple” comes from a sea snail species known as Bolinus brandaris. It was so rare that it became worth its weight in gold. It depends on where it comes from and what impact it may have. It’s why understanding our confirmation bias is so significant.
The goal is to become a freethinker. A freethinker is someone free of all unhealthy bias and prejudice. We may not reach this ideal goal. But we can strive to get closer. We do this by identifying and removing as much of the negative programming as possible. We should not just give up and say. I’ll never get there. Instead, we should continue to make incremental progress by expanding our awareness.
The best way to do this is to combine analytical tools and meditative practices. Sorry, but this will take some work. And it may raise some scary emotions of fear and anger, so be sure to use the strategy of conducting regular emotional checks. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you without testing the source because your emotions affect your thinking. So, using a structured research approach will help you avoid the distress of cognitive dissonance. It will make this research less stressful. And it will yield more accurate research results.
Always use the “test first approach” to anything that may affect your life long-term. How often should you check or test? We recommend you test before you use it each time. That’s a lot of testing, but it’s worth it. Here’s what you should test for and why.
Testing For Confirmation Bias
We can overcome the effects of our negative biases. It takes an honest appraisal of our worldview and plan of action. The goal is to correct thinking that supports any negative bias and prejudice.
“If you are thinking about buying a particular make of new car, you suddenly see people driving that car all over the roads. If you just ended a longtime relationship, every song you hear seems to be written about love. If you are having a baby, you start to see babies everywhere. Confirmation bias is seeing the world through a filter.” ― David McRaney
The above example shows two things. First, this biased filter is powerful and can influence our values and thinking. The second thing it tells us is that not all biases are negative. Some are neutral, some impartially, or predispositions are not harmful.
Our goal then is to find the programming that is harmful to ourselves and others. The test first approach will help us to identify those things which are detrimental. Confirmation bias has a range from harmless to destructive. A benign preference would be that you like the color purple. But, if you rule that everyone must wear purple all the time, your choice becomes negative. It becomes a harmful bias if you take a step further and punish those who don’t wear purple.
1) Identify Negative Programming
The first step is to identify and acknowledge any negative programming in your paradigm. Several tools are helpful for this task. It is often the most challenging step, so be sure to use emotional checks throughout your research. This process will minimize the biases triggered by confronting your sacred ground. It will make the process smoother, and it will keep you from slipping into cognitive dissonance. The results you get will be more accurate, and you’ll enjoy the research experience more.
These tools help us question the cultural narrative. We need to do it every day.
Comparative Analysis is a structured approach to comparative religious study. It’s a valuable process to guide our research, which provides consistent and accurate results.
An excellent way to start is to pick a topic of importance in your belief system. Then find this topic in other belief systems. You’ll be surprised at how many beliefs you have in common with other systems. You can find most religious concepts in earlier philosophies, mythologies, religions, and superstitions. Some of the most common topics are:
- How to approach the subject of Supreme Beings of God
- Afterlife beliefs
- The human spirit
Comparative Analysis shows us the similarities of our beliefs with others. This comparison provides us the perspective to question. Again, don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Remember, we can change what we think.
Logical Reasoning tools include Logical Reasoning, Spotting Logical Fallacy, and the Truth-Seekers Axioms. These tools will enhance critical thinking, enabling you to discern facts from fiction. Mark these articles in your favorites so you can return to them regularly to refresh your skills.
These tools are self-illuminating. They show us how people and organizations use arguments to sell and persuade. That’s how you see their misuse. Our modern culture is ripe with propaganda. You will spot fallacies in everything from product advertising to religious programming.
The Enneagram is a system of cognitive science. It’s a blend of both science and spiritual tradition. So, it draws on several sources for its psychometric knowledge. The development of this process is ongoing. Scientific testing verifies the underlying theory and outcomes of this system. This system is deep enough to satisfy the clinician, yet, it is written in plain language so that everyone can use it. The Enneagram Personality Profile is a practical tool for self-discovery and inner wisdom.
This tool will reveal your default settings of personality and instinct. You will discover you are not your Ego. It is a tool to connect us with the Observer of our experience. One of the tools we use with this process is the “repeating question.” This method is a powerful tool to get to the subconscious mind’s programming. It will help you explore your memories and the programming of your self-talk, and it is also a tool we can use in the next step to remove negative programming.
2) Remove Negative Programming
After you identify the programming, it’s time to repair it. Many people find these negative values scripts come from your childhood. That’s when most of the programming of the cultural narrative takes place. Our fundamental values come from this early period when we are most susceptible to self-hypnosis and group hypnosis manipulation. If we learn to question things early in life, it becomes a natural skill. Otherwise, we must learn this skill.
Our mantra becomes, don’t believe thoughts and emotions. The “test first approach” will minimize errors of thinking.
Remember, you are not responsible for prejudices installed when you were a child but, you are responsible for correcting the negative programming. Our thinking impacts everyone in our sphere of influence.
Reprogramming your negative bias and prejudice is serious “inner work.” It involves two significant concepts. Stop doing things that are harmful and start doing healthy things. It will challenge your confirmation bias. So, be sure to use emotional checks at least every 15 minutes.
The first thing to do is limit or remove your exposure to negative programming. The most common source of this is religion. Religious bias and prejudice infiltrate our cultural narrative, which enables the justification of bigotry and discrimination. Politics also plays a crucial role in installing harmful thought scripts and values.
Some people like to replace those things that are easiest, which is an excellent strategy. It gives you momentum as you build a record of success. Other people go for the programming that is the most destructive. This approach will yield the most dramatic shift in perception. If you choose this route, it is best to work with at least one person. That way, you have someone to help keep you on track and encourage you through the change.
The simple route to begin small with daily habits that we know we need to change. For example, eat the right foods and avoid those that are unhealthy. Almost any compulsive behavior is a good starting place. The more ambitious track is to go directly for the negative bias and prejudice, including religious, racial, or ethnic prejudice. It also includes discrimination of any kind, gender, or economic.
Second, remove or break the negative patterns of thought. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you. Learn to examine your ideas because these create values that become behaviors. Breaking old behavior patterns isn’t easy, but it is critical. You can’t make a better future without breaking the shakes of negative thinking. It requires removing negative self-talk. Again, the repeating question is an excellent tool for this task.
That’s it. It only takes a few steps to remove, but they are often difficult to root out because habitual thinking is at the core of our psyche.
3) Replace with Positive Programming
It’s important not to skip steps. Don’t try to overlay positive programming over negative. It doesn’t work. So, be sure you identify and do what’s necessary to repair negative programming first.
Once you have repaired your programming, affirmations help redirect the trajectory of your thought life. They work best in good soil. Your mind is like a garden. Repair the ground, then plant good seeds. If you have completed the first two steps, you are ready to reprogram. Good for you. Now is the time affirmations will make a difference.
Focus on Consciousness Development
The dimensions of time and space are not barriers to our consciousness. We do not exist between our ears; the real you, the person you talk to inside your head, has no limits. Our consciousness has a foundation of pure awareness, enabling us to access higher states of consciousness. All we need are the keys to open our understanding. The tools that can do this we call spiritual technologies.
Everyone has their particular way of awakening their spiritual gifts sleeping in their DNA. Awakening is a process. When we open them, it sets our spiritual walk into motion. It opens our minds to new potentials.
The research of consciousness and learning to access these spiritual gifts was the central goal of many ancient cultures. The investigation of consciousness is something many ancient cultures thought was necessary, and we enjoy the benefits of generations of research. These early pioneers give us several tools for exploring consciousness.
We call the processes of these early explorers spiritual technologies. These processes stand up to science’s rigorous examinations; they produce repeatable physiological changes. These tools enable us to reach higher states of awareness that differ from waking, sleeping, and dreaming.
We use a blended learning model incorporating those processes which are safe and reliable. We are not the first to use this eclectic approach. For example, Gurdjieff’s method was to adopt techniques proven effective. The research of these early pioneers stands the test of time.
Several Spiritual technologies enable us to expand awareness and explore higher states of consciousness.
Don’t Believe Everything Your Mind Tells You — Test it!
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
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