Sunday, April 24, 2016

Thinking Disease

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy dictates that what we feel is a product of your thinking.  Depression and anxiety are therefore a consequence of negative thinking.
Free Association was a therapy technique of psychoanalysis.  It encouraged people to express whatever came to mind without the usual mental censorship.  Eventually the analysis could see the patterns of thinking, obsessions, and resistances that the analysand struggled with.  When they were explored together the analysand could root out what were usually once useful thoughts but had outlived their value.
I have shared my own thoughts as a ‘writer’s journal’.  This was the teaching of Julia Cameron in Artist’s Way.  She recommended writer’s daily do ‘morning pages’ to free up their creativity.
“Journalling’ is a recognized therapy technique to help people in my words ’squeeze the pus out of their brains’.  When I journal in the morning I record those things that are uppermost in my mind.  In this way I tell my mind that I have acknowledged its concerns and recorded those matters most important to it.  And just as when I make a list I don’t have to keep returning to remember it but can get on with other things till I need to review the list again, so with journalling I can quiet my mind.  My mind no longer has to repeat the same concerns.
Fear and resentment are the major negative emotions and daily these primal emotions are triggered by recurrent negative thoughts.
Mostly fear and resentment resolve around security or money.  Next they’re a response to interference with ambition or expectation. Something blocks our mental plan or interferes with our intention. Finally fear and resentment revolve around status, how we see ourselves in relationship to other, all the issues that are involved with shame.
Cognitive distortions are recurrent negative patterns of thinking like ‘catastrophizing’,  jumping to conclusions and believing the worst.  Black and white thinking is the ignoring of the possibilities of grey.  Such binary thinking leads to paranoia and persecution delusions.  Grandiose thinking is believing it’s all about you when it fact the play might not even have you as a lead.  Not every theatre has you as the lead.
Logic is the study of thinking and the basis of philosophy.  Rhetoric is the study of ‘sales’ thinking and politicking. Logic endeavours to reach the ‘truth’ whereas rhetoric endeavours to manipulate and ‘win arguments’.  The fallacies are well recognized false arguments.
The one I notice most these days is the ‘ad hominem.  When I say Justin Trudeau needs to be randomly drug tested others respond attempt to ‘kill the messenger’ and attack the arguer rather than address the thesis.  Hence the standard ‘Facebook’ argument, “you’re an asshole to question Justin Trudeau’.  This may be true but it’s quite irrelevant and ‘begging the question’.
Sadly most advertising a series of ‘fallacies’.  Laboissiere teaches fallacy and sadly given the marketing and political nature of the world today it’s a topic that should be the basis of grade school just as scientific method should be taught that early.  However the profound ignorance in the Canadian population reflects the propagandistic nature of the school system which fails to teach children ‘how to think’ by instead teaching them ‘what to think’.
Cognitive behavioural therapy with it’s tools of psychoeducation and logic includes journalling especially free association journalling as a means to allow us to review alone or with another what exactly is going on in our minds.  If we can see and understand that then we can root out negative memes that are no longer useful or simply correct the fallacies and cognitive distortions that make life less joyful.
St. Paul taught us to ‘pray unceasingly’.  My psychiatrist minister friend Dr. Willi Gutowski used to described the brain as a ‘radio’ which picked up all manner of stray frequencies from the world around us.  He recommended taking two hands and turning the dial to the ‘god channel’ and holding it there.
Practicing the ‘presence of the Lord’ requires one to focus on being in the now.  God is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipotential so to know God and all Joy is to be in the present.  As my army friend used to tell me when I talked to him, “Bill you have one foot in the future and one foot in the past and you’re pissing and shitting on the day. Get your head in the same room as your ass is.”
Mostly our mind is ranging out into the past where we have resentments or ranging out into the future where we have fears.  Meditation is a means of focusing on the present.  Mindfulness meditation as taught by Buddha is the means where by we see the thoughts as ‘creatures’.  One identifies with the Self of Kohut’s “Self Psychology’.  This has also been called the ‘Observer’.  C.S. Lewis, the great Christian philosopher encouranged us to join with God and see that God was permanent and infinite and all else was finite and transient.  This expression ‘this too shall pass’ refers to all but the essence of the flow, i.e. God.
Emmett Fox, author of Sermon on the Mount teaches that as we address the thinking disease we will find the underlying ‘spiritual laws’ of creation and be better able to live by them.
Selfishness and self centeredness is closed minded and fear based.  It’s all the response to hurt.  A child is like a fool all trusting until it learns from trial and error the dangers of the world around it.  These leads to ruts of thinking, behaviour and attitudes. These had a value at the time and may be held onto for that very survival aspect but later may indeed impede further learning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that is quite a bit to think about
thank you for sharing this with us