As a creature more animal than plant you are a biological mean machine and you are reading this to see if it gives you any additional beneficial meanings to add to the meanings you already contain.
What is 'Meaning'?
Meaning is about sense of direction . When we look for the meaning of a thing we are asking what direction, if any, we should take in regard to how we deal with it
While all plants need to remain in a fixed position in order to stay alive adult animals die if they do not move.
To aid them in deciding what directions they should go in when they do plan to move nature provides animals with two major tools:
- emotional response systems.
Brains are cellular mapping devices that record landscapes traveled using the process of memory (our brains can also record imagined landscapes travelled).
Emotional response systems are designed to initiate emergency reactions; to move animals away from unexpected threats and towards reward opportunities whenever they are arise in the external world. They also provide map-connected alert systems by attaching emotional reflections to specific memories in our mental maps. They inform future decision making by raising up into our conscious whenever we move toward these external landscapes to remind us of our previous experiences.
Most of our decision making is made on the basis of these emotionally mapped alerts.
How do I think versus how should I think; how do I feel versus how should I feel; how do I behaving versus how should I have – these are all questions based around need for changes in direction.
When we ask 'what does this mean?' what we are asking is 'what direction do I now go in, having received this new information, and what can I expect to receive as a result?'.
When We Come Across a New Thing or a Known Thing Changes We Ask Meaningful Questions
- will it eat me or should I eat it?
- Is it controlling me or am I controlling it?
- Is it something I should not react to at all – should I stop seeing it?
- Do I move away from or towards it or do I just stay where I am?
Once we have taken a close enough look at the new or changed thing and decided our direction of thinking, feeling and physical behaviors we tend to just keep on traveling in the same direction decided until the pressure to change direction again dictates otherwise.
Meaningful cycles have a standard model for animals:
- we leave from a safe starting point
- we journey outwards into a generally well-mapped territory collecting resources and experiences
- we return to the safe starting point and discharge our 'excess to requirements' resources and experiences.
This is meaning in action – where am I going; what will I do; how do I get back home and what will I return with and offload when I get home?
We may not really notice the presence of one of these 'meaning cycle maps' until it is taken away from us or we are blocked from completing the full cycle in some way.
When we can not complete our meaning cycles we feel frustrated and uneasy. Take the external territory away and we react as if we are on the brink of starvation. Take the 'safe home' away and we lose our reason for being in the territory – we feel lost (this is the cause of an identity crisis, by he way – we temporarily believe we have lost us).
Fail to complete your meaning cycles for long enough and you start to feel disconnected from who you truly are.
Your emotional meaning cycle is biologically programmed into you. When you do not meet the needs of this cycle you can expect to get an income as reliable as if you did not eat food. If you do not pay attention to your emotional world you will become emotionally ill.
Society is lying to you when it tells you it is possible to remove strong emotional responses using thinking . Thinking can alter the rate you produce and build up energy levels but if you have already produced emotional energy in relation to an experience you must discharge it.
No amount of thinking can alter this without the thinking is designed to get itself out of the way so emotional release can take place.
You do not control your emotional cycle – it controls you. At least, it does until you discharge the energy contained.
I remember telling a counselor several years ago I had just that week realized nature had designed my emotional system and I had to surrender to this fact. It really hurts to know this! All you control here is when you will accept and allow yourself to be taken through the cycle. You have no say in whether or not the cycle affects you.
Just as if you do not eat you die of starvation, if you do not discharge the emotional reactions you produce and collect when dealing with 'out there' you become emotionally ill and this changes both your thinking and behaviors as a result.
Emotional Disorders Block Our Inner Return Home
Your Conscious Point of Focus goes out into the world. Its home is your brain. Your body is home to your brain – your brain never gets to go out.
For your Conscious mind to be at peace when it returns home your body must also be emotionally peaceful. A brain in an emotionally overcharged body is an unhappy home for your Conscious.
If your body is flooded with negative hormonal chemicals your brain is in turn also flooded with a different set of negative chemicals and these dominate your thinking 'mood'. A negative mood produces a negatively thinking mind.
Your brain consists of 'you and your brain family' with 'you' being an information processing point known as your 'Conscious Point of Focus' and your family consistent of the other minds living in your brain. Your You observes and processes information (thinks) at a rate of 4 to 11 bytes per second.
Whatever you consciously think about is 'you' at that time. This bit of 'you' likes to go outside of your body, collect little bits of electrical information, then return home with it intending to distribute the content so the rest of your brain and your body will benefit. We call this 'learning' and it contributions to our 'personal growth'.
We like personal growth. It feels good sometimes because we get external social acceptance when we do it and the occasional monetary reward. In most western cultures we are trained to see personal growth as something to be found out there .
But while your Conscious Point of Focus is out there your 'family at home', your other brain parts, are processing information your Conscious Point of Focus has made itself carefully unaware of.
'Moods' are emotional responses to our environment for which we can not immediately identify the trigger. We know we feel bad but we can not pinpoint why. Moods are the result of not paying conscious attention to the information entering the rest of our brain and body. When our body and our unconscious minds have been picking up information we could do with paying conscious attention to, but have not, they communicate it to us with moods.
While your Conscious Point of Focus processes information at 4 to 11 bytes a second, the rest of your brain receives it at 2'000'000 bytes (two million) per second – that information is going somewhere.
While your Conscious Point of Focus can be controlled in such a way as to ignore, for example, abusive environments, your other organic mechanisms do not have this ability. They absorb the information and then later try to tell your Conscious about it and the need for you to deal with it.
They need your Conscious Point of Focus to go into the mood itself in order to discharge the feelings involved and complete the meaning cycle. This will also result in ruling on any new directions needed to resolve the cause. Quite often the only thing needed is to observe the mood at close quarters for the whole thing to discharge and disappear.
You need to be returning to your inner world on a regular basis or, at some point, you are going to have a huge experiential backlog to catch up on.
Scenario – imagine you are an international salesperson
You leave your family at home while you travel abroad and what you expect to be paid in, and take home for your hard work at the end of your working period, are little boxes of electrical energy you think will make all the difference back home.
You have been away a while when you get a text from your partner at home, it says: 'honey, a really large box of energy has arrived, think you should come home to process it. We do not need those little boxes at the moment '.
You text back: 'Sorry honey, am too busy getting this little bit of energy out here for you, you know we talked about this.'
'Honey, another big box of energy has arrived. I really need you to come home; stop trying to get the little boxes of energy out there when we have got these big boxes to deal with! '.
'Honey, you are being silly. You know we need these little boxes of energy. Do you know how hard I have to work to get these little boxes of energy out here? '
'We now have ten very large boxes of energy needing your attention here. COME BACK HOME IMMEDIATELY OR I WILL MAKE YOUR LIFE SUCH A HELL YOU WILL NEVER WANT TO COME BACK HOME EVER !! DO YOU HEAR ME !! ''
Well, that one gets your attention. You go home – but as you get home what you find is a home so hostile with kids so mean you no longer want to go home again. It has become a really painful place to go – you are not ready for this. You turn and decide you are going to stay out there .
But if you are ever going to be happy again you have to turn and go home at some point because, like all the other meaning maps in our lives – the only way to complete this cycle is to return home.
Between you and your happy home though lie several layers of emotional pain to work your way through.
We Should Base Our Meaning Cycles on Our Own Inner World First in Order to Prevent This Problem Arising
Valuing your own internal emotional meaning cycle above everything else is the most important thing you can do in maintaining emotional well-being.
If you do not know you need to stick to a regular habit of returning to yourself you lose the ability to quickly return when a problem 'at home' arises.
Returning to yourself is essential for emotional well-being. You know that sense of being distanced from who you really are? It is not an illusion. In depression, for example, brain scientists tell us there is an actual withdrawal of thinking from the upper brain. We have the ability to physically cordon off our thinking and feeling centers.
How Do Emotional Disorders Develop?
Emotional disorders arise when we get so desperate not to return to our inner home we attempt to set up a secondary home outside. To keep us held in this new place we produce emotional responses designed to resist the continual call from our Unconscious reminding us we need to return to our true inner self in order to complete emotional release.
All we see now when we look back is emotional predators lurking in the shadows of our inner world, blocking the way. We do not really believe 'home' is there any more.
But, if we are lucky, one day the pull to return to our true selves gets so overwhelming we finally give in to our organic emotional process and start to tackle the internal predators, one by one, to get back there.
'OK, honey, you win. I'm coming home '. Now that means something.