With humans reason, we mull chunks of data around the mind to create novel solutions and astonishing accurate predictions. In an odd deviation, the human brain stumbled on consciousness. It’s not only a human quality; but humans have the most robust consciousness. The stumbling I refer to is not a happenstance of a generation, but the refining occurring over millions of years. This magical process of thinking, projecting into the future with episodic foresight, allows us to change predetermined destinations, escaping from the normal trajectory of our life.
We have a mind that thinks—and thinks a lot. We gather extensive data from experience, and tuck it away in memory, maintaining access to draw upon, mingling the past with the present. Markedly, we are capable of novel and logical solutions. Our capacity to reason creates freedom, providing an escape from automatic reactions. We, however, are not free from impulses to act. The body still pushes, often before we think.
Biological urges drive us to respond, emotions twist and turn, enslaving the will. We are inclined to act before thoughtful contemplation. We thoughtlessly respond when nature beckons, giving in to pressures that are indifferent to an improved future.
In the whirlwind of life, we don’t have the luxury of time, to carefully evaluate every word and every action. Many situations demand more immediacy than a thoughtful approach can offer. A flourishing life balances in the undefined greyness between impulse and thoughtful action.
“We all have default behaviors. And when we are in the moment, trying our best to perform well, how we handle these automatic reflexes can be the difference between success and failure.”~Lee Newman
New Predetermined Destinations From Healthy Habits
We refine this process by implementing healthy habits. Once responses are practiced and learned, we can turn over the reins to the unconscious direction of impulse. We must interrupt other inclinations that depart from our desired character and replace them with something better. This is the mindful project for growth. Implementing healthy habits changes trajectories, creating new predetermined destinations. Healthy changes have a reciprocal impact on futures, creating a new cascade of consequences.
Reasoning and logic aren’t necessarily the golden ticket. The conscious manipulations of perceptions have many pitfalls. We can reason ourselves into blindness, ignoring blaring faults, and nurturing destructive behaviors. We must refine our reasoning to benefit from its vast gifts.
“A flourishing life balances in the undefined greyness between impulse and thoughtful action.”~T. Franklin Murphy
When life isn’t going well, we must look at those underlying habits and examine dangerous emotions, motivating unhealthy behaviors. Often this requires outside help from a qualified therapist or insightful friends. Unless we change directions, we will arrive at those frightful predetermined destinations.
Habits and Conservation of Mental Resources
Our bodies (and brains) conserve energy through habitual reactions. Thought drains the reservoirs resources. We gladly just react, allowing emotions to direct behavior, and only then utilize intellect to justify, soothing the ego by softening our perception of any harmful and selfish behaviors. Selfishness flows easily. We naturally overlook ethical lapses and latch onto sophisticated explanations, excusing the meanness.
We’re not bound by the invisible chains of justification. We can free ourselves from these inhibiting patterns. But to reverse our direction, we must slow down. With attentive focus, we can mindfully evaluate impulses before another bout of carelessness, examining the proposed behaviors from a light of compassion, trustworthiness, and personal responsibility. We may, with a little help, elevate our lives, utilizing the gift of consciousness. A mind capable of examining itself. No more automatic stupidity but thoughtful advancement in a life of progression.