When I talk about the use of mind-models for training, I often get that puzzled, blank look from people. Yet most people actually learn using mind models. For example, using the images of inflating and deflating balls in your abdomen for simple abdominal breathing.
They are great tools for learning common approaches to different situations. The Mindfully Connected, Threnergy mind-models apply the same principles to any of the 10 Primary Threnergy Lines in your body. Are they 100% accurate – no. But then no mind-models are. They are a necessary simplification of reality that your mind uses to simplify its understanding of the world you see, hear, or otherwise sense.
Here is a great little test for people that are not used to drawing. Take a picture of a car, a piece of paper and a pencil – now draw a quick picture of that car. See how alike the picture and the drawing is.
If you are not trained to draw, the chances are that it looks like a child’s drawing of a car. The reason for this is the mind-model you hold of a car is likely to be the one you had as a child — the last time you really attempted drawing one. Even if you try hard to draw a freehand copy of the picture of the car, it will probably look nothing like it.
Now turn the picture of the car upside down and try and draw a copy of the picture again. You might surprise yourself — turn your drawing the other way up and … voila — it looks like a car!
There are a couple of mind-model attributes at play here: your body chunks information about familiar objects. If you have learned to draw well, your mind shifts into a different mode when you draw that lets you look objectively at something. If you haven’t, you will compare what you see and adapt it to your preconceived mind-model – and the mind-model wins. Only by shifting your brain mode can you replace the existing mind-model. What you can also do, is use a work around to trick your brain into thinking it is a new object – by turning the picture upside down.
So if you are trying to learn something familiar but with new nuances, you have two new tools to use: either you shift your brain mode or you look at familiar things in a different way. Guess what a state of Mindfulness does for you? Yep – shifts your brain mode.
And how do you look at familiar things in a different way without turning them on their head? By looking at the shapes around objects rather than the shapes of the objects. i.e. the gaps!
The Cup is Full
Mind-models are one reason people don’t learn easily. In eastern arts parlance, “the cup needs to be emptied before it can be refilled”.
But mind-models are also very powerful aids for learning. They provide a level of simplification for your brain, and allow you to imagine something happening before it happens – which is a form of intent. The secret is to know how to use them and adapt them to help you learn old things in a new way!