What does the mirror show
Feedback is a mirror in which your brain can see and practice changing itself.
Experience is a very powerful form of feedback, but it is inconsistent. Last night my wife laughed at my joke; this morning she got mad. The mirror is reflecting many things beside my inner state. It’s often hard to understand what it means.
Brain training can give the brain an accurate, responsive mirror in which to view itself alone. Training is a process of repeating some desired action or state till it becomes a natural response—a new brain habit. The mirror tells our brains when they are getting closer—or further away—from what you want.
Feedback can show a brain how it operates when “resting”, how it “activates” at task and many other things. Properly used, feedback, can encourage a brain toward greater levels of stillness/ resting. It can enable the brain to sustain higher energy levels at task. It can guide the brain to a deeper awareness of the deeper self.
What are we training
There’s really very little in our universe we can control. What “happens to” us, how others think or feel or act toward us, are simply beyond our control. The more we try to control things we cannot, the more energy we waste, the more negative our emotional states become, the less well we do our “job”.
However, I can increase control of my own inner state—how I experience and respond to what is happening around me. Changing that lies at the foundation of nearly all training objectives. As a trainee discovers and gets comfortable in more efficient, flexible activation patterns, the training goals defined—and many not even considered—just happen.
The Inside controls the Outside. We can control the inside. Change the way you act and think and feel, and you change everything. That’s what brain training is all about.
Practicing Inner States
What we look for controls what we find. The more positive, relaxed and focused a brain and mind are, the less stressed and anxious. The more motivated, organized and controlled the brain/mind are, more gets done, less gets wasted. The greater the brain/mind’s access to deep states, memories and feelings, the greater self-knowledge and connectedness with the world around us.
A mirror is often most useful when reflecting our efforts to change. You can train your brain just “watching the movie” or “listening to the music”. That’s like just wandering around in a game of hide-and-seek rather than actively searching.
Ideally though the ballerina doesn’t just watch the mirror; she tries positions and exercises and watches how they come out—makes adjustments to them—then tries them again. Ideally the brain trainee is also seeking the inner state the training is designed to reflect. That way the feedback has greater meaning and power.
The exercises and games listed in the appendix can be done without a feedback mirror, but they are all tasks that can be done while training. Practicing them between sessions and trying them in front of the “mirror” during training can greatly increase the power of the training process.
Defining the Goal State
So right now at the beginning, if you are thinking of training your brain, start by doing one of the most important steps. Start re-imagining yourself in detail. Create the image in your head of how you will appear—and feel—in a few months when you have reached a stable point in training.
Often very simple routine things are a good place to start. Driving your car. Visualize yourself in a situation where your lack of ability to control would likely upset you. Driving in traffic. Driving when you are “late” . Driving with distractions in the car with you. You can imagine yourself in those situations now and see how you have responded. Then write a new script: visualize yourself in the same situation but in a bubble of calm energy and good humor. If you know someone who is a good model for the state you want, use what you notice about him or her, but make it your own.
You may want to visualize yourself as more aware of what’s going on around you, better able to start a task, finish it, do it well but without wasting energy. You may want to visualize yourself dealing with a frustrated child in a new way. Begin to see yourself, at least in your imagination, in a new way..
When training, aim to get yourself into that state, that bubble of calm or of focus or of patience your brain can create for you. Use the feedback to see when you are there, when you are not. Imagine the person you want to be and train your brain to respond as that person does. It won’t make you a different person; it will just make you a better you.