Monday, August 4, 2008

Reticular Activating System - Azara Feroz Sayed

The excitement for knowing about NLP was created by the many references to the NLP material in Tony Robins books.
Below are some interesting ideas on "Why goal setting/visualizing/empowering beliefs and values are important". We need to provide information to our brain - to know what to focus on - to know what to filter in and what not to filter out - what is important and what is mundane - to avoid losing the crucial information being filtered out by the brain. Goal Setting/ Visualization/ Empowering Beliefs and Values provide the focus and direction necessary for our mind to know what is important/"moral". The ideas below are from "NLP for Dummies" book by Romilla Ready and Kate Burton.

Interesting ideas about our Unconscious Mind
1. We know that Conscious mind is that part of the mind which has awareness of things around and within us at any given point of time. The conscious mind is the short-term memory which can hold thoughts from minutes to hours. The rest of our memory is unconscious or subconscious mind.
2. We also know that Conscious mind excels at logic, analysis, processing sequentially etc while unconscious is better at creativity, strong memory, intuition, emotion etc
3. Our unconscious can't process negatives making it very important to have positive goals. It interprets everything we think as a positive thought so if we think, "I don't want to be poor", our unconscious mind focuses on 'poor' and because it doesn't processes negative, the thought becomes, "I want to be poor". Being poor then becomes the goal in your unconscious mind and like a yound child, desperate to please, it helps to behave in a way that will keep us poor!
4. Our unconscious mind needs direction - what next to work on, necessitating meditation to connect the conscious and unconscious mind
5. Unconscious mind stores all our experiences, including all the repressed memories (unresolved negative emotions), which are presented to us for examination to release trapped emotions - e.g. childhood memories of hurt being presented in our mid life etc - the timing for surfacing the trapped emotions to us by the unconscious is a surprise!
6. Unconscious mind needs to be fed with new experiences all the time. Lest it gets busy with unconstructive addictions, we can engage it in activities which will keep us mentally fit like reading, puzzles etc which cause our brain cells to grow more physical dendrites (branches of brain cell)
7. Unconscious behaves like a highly moral being. Our unconscious mind will keep us on the straight and narrow path of whatever morality it has learnt (our beliefs - our version of truth - not necessarily the "truth") - by enforcing its morality on us - even if society judges that morality wrong. A terrorist will kill and destroy without qualms because his moral code teaches him to be a freedom fighter. He is made to believe by the unconscious that he is actually being a moral person in fighting against a criminal society. On the other hand, if our unconscious mind decides that we need to be punished for some of our actions, which doesn't fits its moral code - even though there are no specific social laws for those - we will be wrecked with guilt and exihibit behaviour to punish ourselves. This necessiates feeding the right content to our unconscious to build the right moral code of conduct for our unconscious - a good self image, goals. At the same time it is important to understand and work with guilt emotions presented to us by the unconscious.

Reticular Activating System (RAS)
There are approximatey 2 billion pieces of data comin in throught our five senses every second. Only miniscule of the information we receive through our five senses is filtered and lodged in the brain. Our antenna RAS recieves the information that is of interest to us. The information filtering critirea for RAS is
1. If the information is important to our survival. For e.g. if we are jay walking and in a day dream, we will be alerted to traffic bearing down on us
2. If the information has novelty value. When we decorate our house, we start noticing the changes we made but slowly we start ignoring those changes as the novelty value reduces.
3. If the information has high emotional content. A mother will be alert when the baby's breathing changes but will sleep throught husband's snoring.
4. If the information is above RAS's threshold of observation. Anything below this threshold is mundane, routine. Novelty value (visualizing goals everyday), our empowering beliefs (believing "I am lucky and an oppurtunity will come by soon" helps us see oppurtunities and achieve goals) and values determine RAS's threshold of observation - determines the information captured and not filtered out and lost.

Goal setting/Visualizing/Empowering Beliefs and Values help us set the right focus for RAS which in turns provides us the info needed to achieve success. Is RAS the reason for the success of "Law of Attraction" (refer earlier post "The Secret") has examples of RAS specifically for the sales person is the tip wherein if a customer says "not interested" they mean to say "not interested at this time"

This article links the ideas mentioned in "Luck Factor" to RAS - apart from importance of action - the people with Midas touch know what to focus on - putting the RAS to work View the short video by James Ray which introduces how our beliefs and RAS are connected is a 9 part posting on how the working of subconsciou with lot and lot of examples
- How we perceive the world based on "our version of truth" our beliefs and how our beliefs in turn influence the filtering mechanism of RAS
- The blindspots created by our mind (missing on counting 'F' is a very good example of this) . Count Fs in
read article for answer. How many other such blind spots would be stopping us from achieving success by not focussing on the right things (by not having goals). Our RAS would be junking stuff that would be important to us.
- The thermostat of our mind that measures every experience and kicks on the heater or cooler based on the picture or "beliefs" or "our version of truth" that we have set as thresholds. If we "know" that we are not good in math, then if we do well on a math exam, we will suffer anxiety because doing well is "not like us." Our Censor then will correct for the error of success and we will do poorly on the next exam. We can program our subconscious by changing the pictures or "beliefs" or "our version of truth". Tony Robins refers beliefs as lies as they can be changed.
- Each time we come upon an experience, our conscious mind perceives, associates, evaluates, and decides what to do. If we perceive something slithering in the grass and we hear a rattle. We associate that with our experience and memory--a rattlesnake. We evaluate it. This is not good. A rattlesnake can bite and poison us and so we decide to run away.
- Subconcious mind is the repository of habits(e.g. driving or typing in auto mode without thinking about driving or typing) , attitudes (e.g. our continous like or dislike of something) created based on our beliefs or "our version of truths" and values
- The blind spots are created by our subconscious mind to reject information that doesn't fits "in our version of truth" i.e. when we declare "My keys are nowhere to be found." Immediately, our Censor builds a blindspot against our actually seeing the keys. Why? Because we would appear foolish (insane) after having made our statement. So then someone else finds them (in an obvious place where we had looked several times). The knowledge of blindspots applies when we judge others too. We judge others based on "our version of truth" - ignoring all their talents and good work they are doing.
- Subconscious minds will help us solve problems by providing the necessary drive, creativity - which is what we do when we set our goals - we give our subconscious mind a problem to work on
- You don't get what you want in life; you get what you picture i.e. we get what we focus on. When we learn to ride a bicycle as a child we learn a simple fact very quickly. If there is a rock in the road, we don't focus on it. If we do, we end of hitting it. The harder we try to avoid the rock, the more we are drawn to it. To avoid the rock, rather than focusing on the rock we focus on the path around the rock. This is why in disaster training, airplane pilots do not practice crashes, they practice recoveries.

Some interesting facts
- Women have thicker corpus collosum than men, which enables them to multi task better


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