Sunday, August 27, 2017

Taking credit for the cruise

I was interested in David Eagleman's "Incognito", a book about the unconscious part of our minds.  Eagleman is a neuroscientist at Stanford and elsewhere.  

My own favorite reminder of my own unconscious is when I turn and toss a ball of scrap paper at the place where the trash can used to be but isn't now. I have only read 2% of Eagleman's book but I did see up ahead to his example of the driver finding his own foot on the brake before he quite recognizes there is a car up ahead backing out of a driveway.  

The first book on the mind I trace in my learning about meditation was The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey.  Gallwey makes lots of use of giving the conscious mind something to keep it busy.  He has the student call out "Bounce" as the ball meets the court and meanwhile the rest of the student's mind and body can relax and give the ball a nice, coordinated, accurate hit..

I have a suspicion that my initial, quick glimpse of my internal reaction to a person or a subject is my primitive primate mind and body's uncensored and basically unconsidered opinion, probably based on very little evidence.  Eagleman mentions that programs in my head, in my cells have me liking symmetrical faces, feminine voices, the scent of roasting meat and friendly people way before I have had a chance to think about what I feel and why.

He has an excellent picture of a cocky passenger on a large, complex ship taking credit for the journey, despite the facts of the captain, the crew, the engines, the pilot, the navigational charts that are the actual forces and skills that make up the journey.  

It is frustrating to think that I don't always know what drives and impulses are in me.  I do think that steady practice of meditation helps me get some clues sometimes.

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby