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Mindfulness At Work

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posted on Jul, 8 2014 @ 09:32 PM
Do you assess your own reactions to things?

If not, you should.

All interactions occur as a give and take between information. Two selves. Communicating. Explicit and Implicit information being passed. Explicit words and Implicit affects.

It's the affects which shape how we understand the words we hear. Therefore, do you keep in mind how you're responding to someone elses affects? It can make the difference between hating Israel or denying global warming or acknowledging evolution.

Affects matter THAT MUCH.

They are important if we want to live mindfully. Because living mindfully means being in control.

Mindful living creates personal cohesion within self. Where values function through a consciousness that is complexly ordered in it's interactions with external reality.

When we take in information, do we properly assess our motives? This is not easy, after all there are scientists who think that they can do science without their values getting involved. This is impossible. All thinking happens in a fulcrum of primary affect. And primary affect is the aggregate of early and prominent relational patterns of past experiences.

All the time I read posts or threads at this site that depress me. They depress me because the suppositions, ignorance and dissociation of thought embedded in the thinking of it's author promotes supposition, ignorance and dissociations in the readers. The dark side of positive feedback.

Positive Feedback is one of those ideas that should be considered when we look out at the world and reflect on our values. Positive feedback effects either support or undermine our values. And this is because human individuals are dynamic and complex systems.

Mindfulness means paying attention to the subtle things. Those bits and pieces of information which can influence our thought, influence our feeling and prevent us from achieving those goals we have for our lives.

Positive Feedback describes a dynamic that shapes the flow of information - so it should be paid attention to.

I suppose what should matter most is that we have good values. That we care about one another and acknowledge our inter-dependence.

Not understanding what another person is saying could be due to a lack of clarification of what is happening in the moment of communication - what his affect means and how it affects you, for example, did he hurt my feelings, and is this why I'm now championing this position? Exploration of how you respond could also tell you things about the other persons life history - what they've gone through, and how they've adapted to the trauma/stress by 'holding this opinion'.

Trauma and stress seems to be the most powerful force that organizes self-states and biases attention. The trauma could be an experience dependent event i.e being shamed by another person, or it could be an existential trauma i.e. the fear of death, of annihilation (religious views).

Our perceptions our organized by subtle unconscious behavioral patterns that are designed to keep consciousness from experiencing dysregulating affects that could threaten the organization (sanity) of consciousness. This is how evolution operates.

The reason we can be so stubborn is for the same reason that mammals are warm blooded: adaptations to an environment.

By becoming aware of all the factors that influence human judgement, we can exercise a fuller range of free will. We can more fully embody what it means to be human beings.

posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 12:10 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte
I read it twice.
Thank you.

posted on Jul, 9 2014 @ 01:31 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

The thing is, apparently the majority of us have a tendancy to be mentally lazy. To trust our intuitions and the quickest responses and interpretations our mind offers.

Our thought processes can be described as dual, the labels vary depending upon the researchers, but the descriptions vary less.

There is the side which has been called the associative, heuristic, peripheral, intuitive, impulsive, automatic. It is faster, it draws upon subconsciously stored information, and the associations between them. On one hand, it can sometimes provide valuable clues and intuitions, on the other hand, it can also make the biggest blunders. This is the process we use most often in everyday living. It is "flow" it is easy, it uses much less physical resourcess. It is also basically concerned with self preservation and survival of the physical vehicle.

Then there is the second, which has been called reasoning, analytic, central, Rule based, reflective. It steps in to try to correct and detect the mistakes of the first process. It is slower, takes much more energy from the body, can make it's own mistakes due to tight focus which fail to acknowledge unexpected, unfamiliar, or assumed irrelevant elements. It is mostly into goals and intents chosen by the individual will and the survival of ideas which make up the ego.

Daniel Kahneman called them System 1 and System 2. Before I went and found what others had named them, I personally called them the Prey mentality, and the Predator Mentality- for I work a lot with animals, and first recognized this difference in them. I recognized two different sorts of processes I flip back and forth between.
Alternatively, I also tend to consider them the Feminine and Masculine minds.

Not everyone uses them equally, not everyone has developed the habit of using them equally. Some get used to relying more on one than the other, trusting one more than the other.

Here's the thing about using System 2 (the reasoning, calculating, strong focus and awareness). When you are using it, your nervous system sucks up your glucose to burn. Your blood sugar drops. Your heart rate speeds up, your blood pressure rises. If you are using it for long periods you can get what some researchers dubbed "ego depletion", for your will puts in over time to repress all the other info coming from your System 1, and all your automatic reflexes. Self control is being exercised.

We can become burned out, so that the System 2 quits on us at a certain point, and System 1 sort of floods in, even though System 2 will continue to want to believe it is in control and still effectively restraining it. Sometimes, a bit of sugar can strengthen the System 2 process again. I suspect that often cravings for alcohol are due to this need for glucose- while an especially grueling and intense mental work will stimulate the desire for a drink after work, for example.

This is my point (yeah, I actually have one
We cannot be using that System 2 all the time. Many people use it at work, or school, but slip into System 1 at the end of the day- in front of the TV, the lap top......

At that point, we have all kinds of emotional build up to get out, we are susceptible to all kinds of subconscious influence- cues, framing, the list is long. We are thinking associatively.

I suspect that explains a lot of the extreme, and sometimes highly irrational opinions that can be found up here.

People who burn their glucose at other activities, sometimes have little left once online. People who are in situations which have enabled them to get used to using System 1 more often (like remaining within familiar environments and situations, with well conditioned behaviors and skills.) have their quicker automatic process serving them fine in everyday actions and exchanges, so they continue to rely on it- even when it comes to examining things, people, situations, subjects of which they know little or nothing about, and have not direct experience with.

Okay. There's my screwy and biased explanation. Humans- we are prone to being less than perfect. Being able to use the gifts of these different processes of mind together effectively, all the time, is pretty difficult. The Eye of the Needle.
Probably a constructive thing to remind us to try, though!

Edited to add: Though the Op meant (if I understood correctly) to champion the gifts of the mindful effort to be aware of our biases, I would just want to balance that with the other side- those more used to using that (often refered to as "intellectuals" by those who are different, can also suffer "mental" bias which trips them up in life. They often the are the "clumsy professors", or socially handicapped writers- they don't rely upon their social instincts and "common sense" when it is appropriate to do so, and their slower reflective process gets in the way.
edit on 9-7-2014 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 10 2014 @ 10:21 PM
This is such an intriguing post that I have to read, sleep on it, and let it sink in. Thank you!!
a reply to: Bluesma

posted on Jul, 11 2014 @ 01:03 AM
a reply to: Bluesma

Good post.

Daniel Kahneman is a great cognitive psychologist, but he's also a presumptuous idiot - thats how I emotionally feel about it.

I remember when I read in "thinking, fast and slow" that 'flow', what mihaly csikszentmihalyi has systematically studied, is an 'illusion of the mind'. That is. It isn't real. Statistics prove it. You can't doubt statistics.

Well, you can, Daniel. This just shows that math can't properly model human experiences. Flow is real. Anyone who has ever played a sport or a game knows it when they're in it, and they know that they are OBJECTIVELY PERFORMING BETTER BECAUSE of it.

Another problem with Kahnemans thesis is his reliance on behaviorism. I remember reading some essays of Robert Sapolsky where he argued in a few of them that people who believe in telepathy have a schizotypal personality disorder. Basically, the argument is, is that people who believe in telepathy share a gene with people with schizophrenia. Hmm. I don't know, how, on earth this idea seemed plausible to him, since everyday there are people who fall in and out of belief of something: whats happening to them? Is there a gene for this too? Of course not. This was the nonsense dogma that prevailed up until the human genome projects completion in the 2000s. Now we know much better that genes alone can't do it. It's a process involving effects effecting causes, proteins triggering genes, the environment regulating cell events, turning 'on' or 'off'' gene function via membrane-cell nucleus interactions.

I'm mentioning this to point out that we can't yet explain how mind or consciousness works, and there is much we still don't understand. Consciousness when it grows and expands within a mind is essentially a process of complexification. Making the mind more complex. Making "maps" of the maps within yourself. Having a mental representation - symbol - for every affect. Basic structure of your interactions held in mind, etc.

The mind can grow by leaps and bounds beyond from where it started out. When I look at myself now, at 29, at how I was at 19. I am astonished at what I see. The massive change in cognition, in it how it relates and organizes the processes of its own affects. Of course - I wouldn't call myself a "master", but I definitely feel a sense of "mastery" over how I feel. Not all the time, but It's a process of accelerated growth, jerky, but still forward going.

Does "ego depletion" occur? Yes. Thats unavoidable. It'll happen. It can be facilitated by external or internal events: stress from the outside impinging on the minds organization. Not eating properly. Not sleeping properly, will deeply affect the quality of consciousness.

That said, growth or the possibility for growth exists in the spaces. It's not "there' or "here', but something that is earned by DOING. Mystics starve themselves and put their bodies through all sorts of strain, all for what? To strengthen the core of their consciousness: their ability to focus their own attention. And in fact, fMRI scans consistently show massive left frontal activity in the minds of experienced meditators.

Consciousness does chant, quite massively, when we decided to be more mindful of how our lives our organized by inner experiences.

One more note. You mentioned 'biases'. I'm not talking about the types of biases, framing, etc that Kahneman discusses in his book. These are likely unavoidable. What I am referring to is a process called dissociation. Dissociation is really beyond being a bias system, although it does direct consciousness deliberately. It's purpose is far more deeper: to protect the self from overwhelming affect. If something happens to us which traumatizes us, which hurts our minds by pouring emotions and truly shocking consciousness. The mind responds immeditately. Endorphins are released (such as dynorphin) that seriously stuns consciousness: the hypo-aroused dissociative state. It allows some reprieve from the experience.

The shock of trauma always organizes consciousness in someway, and for everyone it is different, Narcissism, Anger, Rage, Self Harm, Obsessiveness, Reclusion, the list goes on, the mind adapts however it can to keep those affects - the shock and fear the trauma evoked - from being something that is thought about in consciousness.

I would argue that it is morally more important to pay attention to these 'biases' on consciousness than whether a situation is framed a certain way or whether a particular color is causing me to be more aggressive. These effects, btw, are much smaller than the emotional cyclonic forces of unconscious dissociated self states. These actually prompt strong reactions and organize mind to attend to the world in 'this' way, as an adaptive behavior.

Truly, I think it would be wise of us to train children to come into the world with this type of psychological knowledge, but I don't imagine that they would be able to capture the abstract conceptual quality of 'dissociation', but I do think a highschool kid could understand it. And so, maybe, one day, understanding how our minds work and organize themselves in our relationships with others (all mind states are co-constructions between self and other), it would great if we could explain these concepts in a way that made it interesting and fun for them. In a sense, its exercising the power of empathy: to attune and feel whats being said emotively, and see how it displaces consciousness within yourself and in others. When we do this, when we see how facial features, tone of voice, etc are unconsciously and concomitantly taken in by our right brain while our left brain is involved in the substance and content of speech, we begin to see that, oh my lord, It's not just me perceiving, but WE, are perceiving, together, the two of us are creating and at the same time being regulated by an interpersonal force field.

This is important stuff to learn, to train your consciousness to be aware of. It'll expand your sense of free will when you realize that the elements of any interaction are partly within your control, and so you carry responsibility for how things go and whether you did good or did bad. Helped or break down someone else.

posted on Jul, 11 2014 @ 01:38 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

I agree flow is real.

Great thread by the way!!

Understanding how our minds work and especially the unconscious intrigues me very much and have read many books on the subject.

Just started catching up on the whole mindfullness and my son (11 years old) shares my interest. When explaining the conscious mind I explained it to him with a subject he understands....Lego.

Every experience you have is like a piece of Lego that eventually shapes the way you perceive reality. How you put those pieces together makes you who you are.

Maybe you can give some suggestions on books with help give insight into the subject in easy to understand terms?


posted on Jul, 11 2014 @ 07:10 AM

originally posted by: Astrocyte
By becoming aware of all the factors that influence human judgement, we can exercise a fuller range of free will. We can more fully embody what it means to be human beings.

The factors that influence behaviour are reactions/responses to the stimuli. Most react to what is 'happening to them', believing that it 'shouldn't' be happening', which is conflictual and divided. When it is realized that 'what is happening' is just happening and not happening 'to you' then it just passes and causes no conflict.
There is no freewill for the individual because 'what is happening' is just happening by the 'will of god' and no one has any control over what is presently arising. The present arises as the perceived and the perceiver - they are not two.

The 'I' idea just makes believe it has control (over other times, when there is no other times). It is the idea that there is control which causes the frustration - if one realizes that the present is arising and that is not separate from that which is knowing the present arising and it is all just doing itself then all suffering will cease.

What you are is the space in which all arises and subsides. Thought and sensation and perception all take place in you as you - it cannot be proved that there is anything outside of you.
edit on 11-7-2014 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 12 2014 @ 01:22 AM
a reply to: Astrocyte

You have your right to your opinion about Kahneman, of course. I don’t like to jump to extremes like “idiot” very quickly- he strikes me as being quite intelligent, whether would agree with his views and conclusions or not. I haven’t heard from or read anyone that has absolutely NOTHING of value or that I can agree with. It is not because certain aspects of his thought differ from mine that I would reject all the rest.

About flow being real- I guess I didn’t take away from him that he thought flow wasn’t real- what I read was that it was a creative process going on in the mind

« In a state of flow, maintaining focused attention on these absorbing activities requires no exertion of self-control, thereby freeing resources to be directed to the task at hand. »
(Thinking Fast and Slow, D. Kahneman )

That describes pretty well what I experience when in flow- I would add that I experience that the skills and knowledge for the task at hand have been collected and made subconscious, automatic systems, so that my conscious process (system 2 if you will) can focus on the main goal, without having to use up energy on the tiny details.

For example, I know how to write english fairly well, and to use a keypad, so that my mind can go into a train of thought and follow it, without having to focus on how to spell words, how to use punctuation, how to form my sentences. Everything goes faster and more efficiently, freeing my creative juices.

When I try to write the same train of thought in french, it gets lost and broken up as I must also pay very focused attention on the act of expressing it in writing or speech. There is so much exertion that goes on, my creative thought is stunted, slower and less well constructed, eventually.

I once could not experience flow when riding or training a horse- I had not integrated or « mastered » the base system for communication yet- my mind was overloaded with control of all the details of my movement. Now I can flow in that activity.

I think Kahneman described that sort of experience similarly.

I have not read his thoughts on schizotypal personality and telepathy belief. So I will not make any judgement on that until I have.

« Consciousness when it grows and expands within a mind is essentially a process of complexification. Making the mind more complex. Making "maps" of the maps within yourself. Having a mental representation - symbol - for every affect. Basic structure of your interactions held in mind, etc. «

Well, yeah, I won’t argue there, and I don’t think Kahneman did either. The growing complexity of association as life experience continues is easy to observe.
(personally I can’t help but wonder if that isn’t observable in the synapses between neurons, and their growing complexity, but won’t make any claims to knowledge on it)

Dissociation, I think we could call an experience- when we feel like we are observing something “objectively”- completely free of our subconscious associations influencing our judgment.
I personally do not believe that is as we think. I think that often even when we think we are being objective, flaws can happen in judgement, and the influence of that system 1 sneaks in. Philosophically speaking, I am not at all sure any of us is capable of accurately observing the truly objective world.

Although, we might be able to say that on a continuum, perhaps we can move further into subjectivity, or objectivity, at any given moment, or even as a habit of personality.

If you will, that could be said to be part of MY point back there- I don’t believe the “ideal” is to become completely objective, or dissociated from our affect, and the complex associations formed in the subconscious from our experiences. I think that is just as problematic in life as being completely subjective, relying only on that intuitive, affective mind process. I feel drawn to balance, or creative cooperation of the two, when possible.

Bias- there can be emotional biases (something can be associated with certain feelings or experience; connections that were born during a past experience- those arise in response to perceiving that thing again)

But also, there are all sorts of cognitive biases that you can make, even when using that focused “objective” analysis (system 2). “Bias blindspot” can trip us all up!

Very strong emotional biases are not hard to become aware of (traces left by traumas and such), but the very subtle ones are more difficult, and although I would agree, it might be good for people to learn to be mindful of that,
I think also it would be in vain to believe they can ever be all controlled and disassociated. Like I said, I don’t think we can completely exit subjectivity. I also do not think that is a particularly desirable state- our subjectivity, is our personality, our individuality! It is the difference that one has to bring to the table to share with another individual.

I also feel that much of our social instincts are in that subjective affective part of mind, and that most our experience of relation memory is there (for often not easily grasped by the other conscious, analytic, system 2- it likes objects more than relations).

edit on 12-7-2014 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)

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