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Models of the Mind

Models of the Mind

One way of looking at this is to think in terms of modes of functioning as opposed to parts of the mind. This is very consistent with a number of Eastern points of view. Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism don’t really have a model of the unconscious mind in the same way as we do in the West. What they have instead is the idea of the mind operating in different modalities. Perhaps the simplest way of looking at this for our purposes is the idea of the mind having a reactive and a creative mode.

The reactive mode is exactly what it says; reactive this is the unconscious behaviourist mind that responds automatically to an external or internal stimulus. Note that the reaction can be a thought or emotion or behaviour! The creative mind responds, in other words, the response isn’t automatic although it may be far from unconsidered and it may also be fast and effective. The response can come from the deeper self that is unconscious in terms of current experience but infra conscious in terms of content.

We all have experience of the reactive mind. The times, for example, when we say the thing that we promised ourselves we wouldn’t say. In fact the NLP concept of anchors shows us how to use the fact of the reactive mind to good effect. The creative mind can to paraphrase William Blake, build a Heaven in Hell’s despair The route to the creative mind is attention and non reactivity. When we are not caught up (i.e. identified) with the thinking mind, we can be in touch with a still and silent awareness which both thought and action can proceed from.

This may sound like an alien concept initially but think of golfers and other performers who talk about the need to be present and in the moment when taking a shot etc. Also composers and authors also often describe their creativity flowing from a place within themselves €œas if it has nothing to do with me €If our client’s story about themselves is causing them distress, you can be sure that they are responding to anchors i.e. reacting.

We all equally have at least some experience of the creative mind, for example a solution just becomes apparent, when we weren’t really thinking about the problem. In times of great stress like when facing a terminal illness some people speak of finding a wholly new sense of strength and calm.

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