The mind is where the alchemy of the universe comes together. If we learn to harness this power, we can direct the trajectory of our lives.
Everything Your Mind Says
A lot is going on inside the machinery of our psyche. It is difficult 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 the boundaries of our existing worldview. 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.
The first we need to realize is that not everything your mind says is true. That’s because of the programming within our worldview. Our personalities and instincts play a role in our value judgments. But the most influential programming comes from the cultural narrative. This overrides all of our default values and thinking. This programming takes many forms in the modern world. But the primary tools are consumer advertising, political, and religious propaganda.
These influential sources of programming all use tactics built on groupthink manipulation. This tactic is simple but effective, it’s based on triggering our deepest fears. This is how they sell everything from deodorant to ideologies.
The more you expose yourself to the sources above, the more susceptible you are to suggestion. This makes it possible to program harmful ideas. That’s why we must learn to monitor our self-talk, our thinking, and our emotional triggers.
Some biases are not negative. For instance, let’s say you like the color purple. You like purple clothes. This 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 species of sea snail now known as Bolinus brandaris. It was so rare that it became worth its weight in gold. So, it depends on where come from and what impact it may have. This is why understanding our confirmation bias is so important.
The goal is to become a freethinker. This 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 with a combination of 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. That’s because everything your mind says is connected to your emotions. This will help you avoid the distress of cognitive dissonance. This will make this research less stressful. And it will yield more accurate research results.
Conquering 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.
1) Identify Negative Programming
The first step is to identify and acknowledge any negative programming. Several tools are effective at this task. It is often the most difficult step. So, be sure to use emotional checks throughout your research. This 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. And, the results you get will be more accurate.
These tools are designed to help us question the cultural narrative. This is something we need to do every day.
Comparative Analysis is a scientific model for religious research. It is like a comparative religious study only more structured. It reflects the six steps of the scientific process. These steps guide our study, which provides consistent and accurate results.
A good 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. Most of the common are found in earlier philosophies, mythologies, religions, and superstitions. Some of the most common topics are:
- How to approach the subject of Supreme Beings or God
- Afterlife beliefs
- The human spirit
- Typologies of transformation like rebirth, resurrection, and reincarnation
The suite of Logical Reasoning tools. These tools include Logical Reasoning, Spotting Logical Fallacy, and The logical 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. Once you learn how arguments are used to sell and persuade then you will 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. Also, this system is deep enough to satisfy the desired details for clinicians. Yet, it uses language, almost everyone can use it. This makes it 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 sub-tools here is the “repeating question.” This is an excellent way to get below the superficial to the intrinsic programming of the mind. 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. Almost everything your mind says comes from this early period. You are most susceptible to groupthink manipulation at this age.
Remember, you are not responsible for prejudices installed when you were a child. But, you are responsible for correcting the negative programming. Our thinking has an impact on everyone in our sphere of influence. If you are making a negative impact, then you are creating negative bias and prejudice.
Reprogramming your negative bias and prejudice is serious inner work. It involves two major concepts. Stop doing things that are harmful and start doing healthy things. This 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 exposure to the sources of negative programming. The most common source of this is religion. Religious bias and prejudice infiltrate our cultural narrative. Religious bigotry finds its way into our cultural narrative. Politics plays a key role in installing negative prejudice.
Some people like to start with replacing those things that are easiest. This is an excellent strategy. It gives you momentum as you build a record of success. Other people like to go for the programming that is the most destructive. This will yield the most dramatic shift in perception. If you chose this route, it is best to work with at least one other 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. This would include religious prejudice for or against anyone, racial, or ethnic prejudice. It also includes discrimination of any kind, gender, or economic.
Second, remove or break the negative patterns of thought. These create values that become behaviors. Breaking old patterns of behavior isn’t easy, but it is a critical step. You can’t create 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 two steps but they are hard because habitual thinking is at the core of our psyche.
3) Replace with Positive Programming
Focus on Consciousness Development
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process. It is the process at the core of this model. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia