We have this really cool part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which basically works to filter out what isn’t relevant to our lives and what is. It focuses our attention on the things we think about the most and the things that are important to us.
I’ve been reading my boys an awesome series of books called the Guardians of Ga’Hoole which is a fantasy story about owls.
I started reading them about a month ago and since then I have stumbled across several documentaries on owls at youtube, get at least one owl photo or video per week on Facebook, discovered a “Boobook” (owl) sitting in a branch just above where I had parked my car and notice owls symbols on websites and advertising everywhere!
Last night I took a photo of the moon and cloud pattern because it just looked unusual and I wanted to show the kids the next day. When I looked at it later I was surprised to see that my reticular activating system had been at work again because there in the clouds was an owl with the characteristic heart shape face of a barn owl who happens to be the main character in the story we are reading.
(just in case you haven't seen it yet the owl is the bottom part of the cloud formation :-)
Coincidence? Not really, my (RAS) was just doing what it does best and bringing to my attention something that is relevant to my current life.
This is all interesting but what does it have to do with
understanding our mind’s eye? Well, our (RAS) or mind’s eye can also be used deliberately
to help us to learn, to achieve goals, to create better habits and to enjoy
life. But How?
Here is a simple idea to get your (RAS) mind’s eye working for you…
1. Think of a goal or situation you want to improve.
2. Consider what it would be like if you already had the desired outcome now.
3. Create a mental movie of yourself experiencing that optimal future situation as if you have achieved what you wanted now. What are you saying or what are others saying? What do you see? How do you feel? While creating this movie, imagine, pretend and act as if it has all worked out how you wanted.
Repeat the exercise 2-3 times a day and you will be telling your (RAS) mind’s eye what to look out for. Soon you’ll find that you notice things that are relevant to your goal. Maybe you’ll hear other people talking about the subject, maybe you’ll read something helpful, maybe you’ll notice an owl in the sky J.
Your brain does this process naturally anyway. Spending a little time on the suggested exercise simply helps focus and speed up the process. In fact I believe it’s one of the reasons hypnosis works so well. When the subconscious mind is directed to find a solution to a problem or create better habits and behaviours, it utilises the (RAS) to help point the way.
Remember that this also works in reverse in terms that it can bring your attention to more of what you don’t want. So choose wisely about what you think about most as it will be reflected in what you see in your world.