It’s a funny thing isn’t it, the way we give inanimate objects or things mystical powers? Like lucky underwear, or a favourite shirt, or philosophy or religion, or even someone else. All completely inanimate, but with a seemingly mystical power over our lives.
And yet, for that to be true, everyone who wears the lucky underwear, wears the favourite shirt, or takes on a philosophy or religion, or meets the other person would have to receive the same mystical power every single time, and that would have to be true for everyone.
But we know that’s not true. And yet even though we know intuitively that’s not true, most people still believe it. And boy do we love to analyse why that is – yet always looking in the wrong direction for the answer!
Take a recent article in the Daily Mail of 5 women who went to the gym and received the following mystical powers, or the ‘positive emotional effects of exercise’ as the article puts it, of:
- Confidence and fulfilment
- Mental health
Oh, and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with any these, just that thinking that all these mystical powers are received from the gym is a little back to front that’s all. As I said above, for that to be true, then everyone who goes to a gym would receive all these mystical powers all of the time. And still we know that’s not true, yet want to believe it. After all, it must be true as that’s what the magazine tells me is true!
All these are consequences or effects, like happiness, excitement, creativity, or sadness, stress and anxiety. But they are never consequences of inanimate objects, like the gym.
So what’s really going on here?
Well, all these mystical powers are consequences of a neutral mind: impersonal, curious thoughts coming from a place of neutrality. And for these women their mind cleared for just a moment, they had a personal insight, which made sense for them to go to the gym (and by the way, the gym is not important here, though it’s easy to be distracted by this). It’s really that simple. And sadness, stress and anxiety are all consequences of the same place of neutrality, just in this case pursuing personal analytical thoughts. Same mind, same system, used in exactly the same way but with different consequences. Now, I’d get curious about that, wouldn’t you?
[The article above is an extract from my forthcoming book The Neutral Zone, published in October 2014]