We are all creative geniuses. You may not think of yourself as creative in the traditional sense, but every day you make a choice—consciously or unconsciously—you’re creating your life and the experiences that fill it. While many of these choices are based on familiar past experiences, when we sit down to meditate, our intention is to create a novel future.
Often times, however, when we’re trying to create something new in our life or solve a creative conundrum, we find ourselves coming up against the same walls and obstacles, and no matter what we do, we can’t seem to circumvent or pass through the barrier. The reality of the problem lies in our common thought.
The road well traveled
Imagine for a moment a caravan of covered wagons trailblazing their way across the Wild West. Without roads, they are forced to forge a path through rock and earth. As the lead wagon pushes forward, in its wake it lays down a set of tracks, and every proceeding wagon deepens those tracks.
Whereas the original member of the caravan took the road less traveled, every time a proceeding wagon travels those tracks once formed in mud and clay, now baked by the sun, that wagon is taking the road well traveled. On a microscopic level, this is what our thoughts do in our brains when we become mired in a problem or a consistent way of being—they continuously travel down the most commonly fired and neurologically wired set of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions. In doing so, the repetition of that particular set of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions becomes a hardwired pattern, essentially causing us to biologically become our habits.
This is what I call common thought. Think of it like this—if the brain is the hardware, then that well-formed, well-structured bundle of neural pathways becomes the software program. Like software, common thoughts run in the background, behind the scenes of our awareness, causing us to unconsciously think, act, and/or feel in the same way over and over.
As an example, brushing our teeth, driving our car, or typing on our computer are all things we don’t have to think about doing. They are basically automatic programs that have become common and familiar. By the same token, if you constantly complain about your life, judge others and yourself, feel sorry for yourself, repeatedly believe every thought you tell yourself about your financial situation—and so on and so on—you can see that the same law applies. Those habituations become engrained into your physical, neurochemical state of being causing you to literally become what you think.
The road less traveled
So it makes sense that common thoughts tend to manifest more than a thought you just randomly think. If our brain is a record of the past, when we get locked in these thought patterns, it’s as if this way of being has nested in our brain, and the only way to unseat it is to think, act, or feel differently.
So how do we shift out of that way of being without losing our minds? How do we create that paradigm shift? Here are several ways to leave the nest of common thought. By using these techniques to get outside of the familiar program, new inner experiences create new neural pathways, which cause our brain to begin to make a record of the future, instead of a record of the past.
- Learn and contemplate new information. By adding new knowledge, we add a new stitch and build a bigger or different nest.
- Change our energy via chemical and/or emotional adjustments within our inner world.
- Mentally rehearse new ways of being. This transforms our brain’s neurochemical architecture, priming it to look like the desired outcome has already happened. (To do this requires focus, staying present with our attention, and repetition. Once we do it enough times, the brain changes by thought alone.)
- Transcendental experiences where we actually find ourselves outside the metaphorical nest and in the unknown. This is moving into our deepest levels of consciousness to reprogram unconscious thoughts, and this is why we meditate.
When inward events or experiences occur with a high enough amplitude of energy, it causes our brain to believe our future has already happened, thereby changing our neuro-circuitry by thought alone. Then the problem or issue that we perceived from the same level of neuro-rigidity can be addressed with a new level of mind, a fresh awareness, and/or a new perception. What we discover in the process is that the answer we sought has always been there—but now we have the mind to see it.