Understanding Your Mind
There have been many metaphors used to explain the human mind and its workings. The simplest one is that of the stage in a theater. Picture a theater stage. There is a curtain in the front. When the curtain is opened, the audience sees the furnishing and backdrop that are to illustrate the story. Lighting is used to call attention to various features as the story unfolds. The actors enter on cue with a spotlight focused on the lead character. As dialogue is exchanged between the different characters, the lighting directs the eyes of the audience to speaker. The story centers on a lead character played by the starring actor or actress. All others in the cast have roles to support the star or the narrative of the play.
Much activity takes place on unseen parts of the stage. Backstage is a very busy place that the audience need sees. It is where actors and actresses change clothes in preparation then wait for their cue to enter. The Backstage is a very busy place where scenery is prepared for changes in the various acts.
Below stage is the trap room that serves numerous purposes. Trapdoors in the stage floor allows players and furnishings to be brought up onto the stage. It serves numerous purposes: storage, a crossover from on side of the stage to the other, There may be a prompter’s box that is a low hooded opening in the foremost part of the stage from where an actor might be reminded of forgotten lines.
In front of the stage are two more features that may be important components of the production. Directly in front is the Orchestra Pit where the musicians are located to perform as directed by the script. The final, and some would say, the most important part of the theater is the audience seating. What good is a performance without an audience to witness the production?
The theater model describes the internal and external dimensions of the mind. The Audience and the Orchestra represent the external world that we observe around us. In Greek theater, the audience was often very active in its response to the play and the players shouting praise or criticism. Our external world is quite vocal in its opinion about who we should be and how we should act.
The internal world of the mind is all that takes place on the stage of the mind. When you first awaken in the morning, you are Core present. The eyelids open like the stage curtains being drawn back. Then as you become more present in your body you step onto the stage and into the spotlight. You in your Core being are the star of the show. It is your mind, body soul, and spirit that is awake. To just exist in that moment with relaxed breathing, becoming aware of the external world, and thinking on your Creator is to be Core conscious.
Jeremiah wrote of his waking thoughts in Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
However that Core present moment may be short-lived. As we start our day, the many things expected from the day begin to intrude. In that moment our Relational self takes charge. The “shoulds” come to mind. You know those, I am sure. I should get moving, there is not enough time to have morning meditation. I must get the kids up and on the school bus. I have to finish my work project by noon even though it will probably require my whole day.
Our Relation self has been conditioned to do rather than just be in the moment. Yet in reality, if you and I allow time to just exist, intentionally breathing in a relaxed way, expressing praise and gratitude to our Creator for His creation and His provision for us, our day can be centered on and lived from our Core identity.
The best analogy would be as if the spotlight was on the star of the show when suddenly all the supporting actors step into the spotlight, vie for attention from the audience, and push the star into the background. All these voices would be speaking their lines but the performance would be chaotic.
One young man described this very thing by thinking of how much better his day is if he spends time meditating on his Creator. But when he does, the relational selves speak the messages each hears.
- “You are just being lazy when sit and meditate.”
- “You are being selfish to do something like that for yourself.”
- “You have these reports to finish at work. When those are done the you can take time for ourself.”
- “Look at your house. It is so messy and cluttered. No wonder you feel so confused. Get things picked up, then you will be able to find what you need. You know what you were taught–a place for everything and everything in its place.”
As we express our Core desires and allow them to exist in our actions. The stage of the mind becomes quiet, the Core expression takes center stage, and life becomes filled with joy, peace, gratitude, and so on.
Be come conscious of this analogy at the beginning of your day. Don’t judge yourself if you find it difficult at first. Stop in that moment and intentionally breath, noticing each breath as you inhale for four second, hold it for 2 second, and exhale for four seconds. Pay attention to the one thing in that moment you can take control of, your breathing. Any other thoughts like the “shoulds” that come, just let them go. Give them to your Creator who will take care of you.
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