Posted in MoHow By Dr. MO
There are two aspects of thought that are very important to understand: The first is that thoughts are the product of the human function called thinking and that thinking is a process that occurs in our brains. We don’t simply have thoughts, we produce those thoughts. We are the thinkers who are responsible for our thoughts. The second aspect, the one that is more often discussed, is that in addition to the process of thinking, that there is content to our thoughts. The process is how we think; the content is what we think.
Each of us possesses a unique processing style or method. We have essentially the same processor (brain), however, we have our own individual process that results in different realities, and different “takes” for different people in what appears to be the same situation. Each “take” is a type of filter and editor that all information passes through on the way to becoming our understanding, opinion, or reality. The “take” is a complex mosaic of our thoughts linked together as concepts, beliefs, expectations, and more that influence what we perceive as our lives and the world.
These “takes” are self-validating personal biases. They tend to process, as right, only information that corroborates previously held beliefs. Our “takes” encourage us to continue to see things the same way we have seen them in the past. Understanding the concept of “takes” will help anyone understand that each of us is not necessarily seeing reality, or truth, through our personal thinking lens… what we are seeing is our unique interpretation of reality. When we accept that all people most times unwittingly interpret their own thoughts (beliefs) as if they were always objective reality, we can let go of the need to be right all the time, or be upset when someone else has a different “take”.
When we understand this phenomenon of “takes”, we can reduce the number of instances where we are bothered when our reality differs from someone else’s reality. Without this understanding, it is enormously difficult to accept another person’s different “take”. When we do understand the concept, and learn to let go of the need to classify what someone thinks as right or wrong, we are on the way to being able to relabel what we once reacted to as criticism, to another person’s opinion processed through their own unique thought lens.
As our level of awareness of what thinking actually is grows, we become more and more capable of understanding the relationship between our “takes”, objective reality, and what we feel in different situations. We come to realize that when our level of awareness is high, our suffering decreases, and that we can feel better by learning the skill of thinking better. We can break the hold of our previous narrow thinking habits and open up to embracing differing points of view and perspectives rather than reacting in the old absolute right/wrong way.