In last week’s blog, I introduced the concept of the visual language mind and contrasted it with the symbolic language mind. The symbolic mind is the rational thinking part of our brain that is powered by our neocortex and frontal lobe. This most recent addition to our complex brain system utilizes symbols to make and communicate meaning (language, mathematics, musical notes, etc.). This aspect of our mind is cold, calculating and logical, like Dr. Spock’s in Star Trek. It is responsible for the incredible western scientific and business progress we have experienced in the world, along with the correspondingly stunning violence, sense of separation and unsustainable industrial age systems.
The visual language mind is the non-rational thinking part of our brain powered by the mid-brain (aka mammalian brain). It utilizes imagery and sensations to find and make meaning. This part of our brain receives and transmits information to and from our non-conscious minds, including the heart and stomach regions (the “heart mind” and “little mind”). It also serves as our internal cloud computer to store memories. Note that a third major brain system, the reptilian brain at the brain stem, also communicates non-consciously with the body’s many systems to keep them running without us having to think much about them.
In addition to memory, the visual mind is responsible for those soft internal skills such as receiving vision of our primal self purpose, of the future or past, sensations that signal danger or knowledge of a non-local event (intuition – trusting our guts). It is that part of our minds that also fosters a deep sense of connection with others and with nature. The experience of indigenous tribe members (the small number still remaining is one of humanity’s greatest treasures) is to use this aspect of mind almost exclusively over the rational mind…leading to an experience of deep connection to the family or tribe, then to all of humanity and, at the more evolved level, to all sentient beings and even matter itself.
The visual mind can also be likened to the “heart centered” or Kokoro mind the Dali Lama referred to when he said that the world’s challenges would be solved when man learned again to act with heart. Integrating the power of the symbolic mind and the visual mind is one of my key objectives in the Unbeatable Mind training. We seek to train the symbolic, rational mind to act more judiciously and in alignment with universal principles, while simultaneously training the visual mind to bring it’s ancient skills to the forefront. To achieve even a small taste of this vision allows us to connect with our Kokoro “heart mind” and to live with more wisdom and humility. We can achieve our goals with abundance and optimism, while allowing ourselves a glimpse of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. (2)
Training Trans-Verbal Language
To begin training the “trans-verbal communications” of the visual mind we need a two-pronged approach. The first, and most urgent, is to get control over the symbolic mind. Traditional meditation is all about getting control of this part of our mind…aka the “monkey mind.” Slowing down to just sit and observe your mind in action is 90% of the battle for busy peeps (that is everyone I know). When we do carve out that time, the next challenge is to get control over a mind accustomed to non-stop stimulation. It seems to run all over the place, bounding and bouncing from one thought to another. Meditating on your breath, an object, or a profound truth will begin to tame this part of our mind so that we can concentrate for longer periods. When our mind is concentrated (as opposed to being out of control in a cause and effect loop triggered by stimuli from all directions) and directed willfully at a subject or object of interest – then in military terms – we can fire for effect! Easier said than done, as those of you who have engaged in meditation can attest to.
Control over the symbolic mind opens up the potential to activate and train the visual mind. However, when students begin visualization training they often note that the imagery and sensations that come up are fragmented and random. If correlated to its sister symbolic language it would be gibberish – unintelligible and garbled. Just like learning French, this new language takes time and effort to practice. Practicing alone without structure can be quite a challenge. Fortunately there is a tried and tested tool to aid us: Guided visualization. A well-conceived guided visualization session provides structure and a directionality that helps the student conjure and hold imagery longer. In person is most powerful but using a recorded training works well when alone. The guide’s spoken word gives a foundation for one’s imagination to build the visual language structure. Over time the trainee develops the capacity to hold the images in the mind, and to direct the imagery at will to the ends he or she desires. In addition the student is able to perceive imagery presented from the non-conscious and make more sense of it. Thus there is a distinct progression away from fantasy, into imaginative creation and finally, directed visualization.
In the next post I will share more on practical purposes for directed visualization and a powerful guided-visualization that can be used to get on the road to developing one’s trans-verbal communications. Until then, train hard, win in your mind, and envision the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.
Hooyah! –Mark Divine