A good friend, a caring parent, loyal, trustworthy, honest, fun, steadfast, talented, nice; all sound good, right? Labels, they’re all labels. Whether seemingly positive or negative the labels that we define ourselves and other by are a slippery slope on the quick road to judgement. The labels feel good for a variety of reason, so we can present ourselves to the world, feel good, quickly define and interact with others, and to avoid harm. Avoidance of anything, feelings, memories, or an awkward situation is a sure-fire way to come face to face with it.
Summarizing a person and situation quickly is what psychology calls the “adaptive unconscious”. The theory was influenced by Sigmund Freuds and Carl Jung’s view on the unconscious mind and the term was first coined by Daniel Wagner in 2002. It’s defined as a series of mental processes that affect quick decision making but are out of reach of the conscious mind. It can be described as a quick sizing up of the world which interprets information and decides how to act very quickly and outside the conscious view. It’s active in everyday activities such as learning new material, detecting patterns, and filtering information.
Many yogis associate this with judgement and that judging others is a bad thing. However, we need to make the associations; in Buddhism, it’s called an “omnipresent mental factor of discernment”. Otherwise we would have undifferentiated sense data that we weren’t able to make sense of at all. Snap judgements aren’t deemed useless; it’s the ability to discern whether they are useful or leading to isolating or dangerous behaviors. It’s the interpretation of this information which isn’t always correct that can be dangerous. Let’s take the moniker of good mom which can be an extremely tender subject. There isn’t a parent in the world that wants to be called a bad mom and even the slightest opinion of another alluding to that can throw a female into a fit. If you’re holding onto this label to deem yourself a “good person” you will do anything, especially publicly, to fit the bill. You will disassociate yourself so much from who you are and what you want that you don’t know who you are anymore. Anyone, especially non-parents, will be attacked when observing and commenting on a parental act.
Hyperarousal or a fear based state can be the culprit of misinterpreting the information. It’s through the process of self-observation and reflection that you find out who you are and how to act with authenticity. In turn if you are self-aware you may be more likely to be able to see and feel through not only the information your mind is processing but the false information provided by others. In homeopathic medicine the basic theory is like cures like. Apply this to people who attract each other and we can say that an authentic person attracts the like; in other words, cuts out the bullshit. Awareness of how our mind is processing information is the key to who we think we are, how we view and respond to others. The practice of yoga is not at all just the physical but the key to self-observation, awareness of ourselves and others.
Written by Kristen Carla Blogger/Acupuncture Physician www.facebook.com/kristencarla
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