I'd like to begin with the fact that none of us ever feels as if we're in our right mind. The reason may well be that we have three brains and, at any moment, we don't know which one we're in. Each brain has been shaped by evolution to improve our abilities at many tasks, from swinging on trees to getting a prenuptial. At times, each brain isn't aware of what the other two are up to. This triple-decker reflects our evolutionary development from the earliest model (single-celled bacteria) to the latest (George Clooney). First, we will examine the nature of this self-created character from a broader perspective, and then we'll take a closer look at what must be done to drop it. Imagine that we feel an angry flash pass through us for any of a hundred reasons. As this conflict-born heat makes its way through our psychic system, there is a natural registration of this disturbance within us. But at this early stage, in that surge of a heated sensation, there is just the mind's faint but growing awareness of a turbulent state. Milliseconds later, as the mind becomes more cognizant of this turmoil passing through its matrix, it says I to this reaction and assigns it a familiar name. It is given a label drawn from the conditioned content of our own past experience of similar states. For instance, have you ever heard within you, not necessarily in words, something to the effect of Oh no, not this again! Perhaps we're looking at the latest flame of our heart and we see a fire in his or her eyes, but it's not because they are looking at us. In that moment we no longer see the moment unfold as it is, but rather we stand there transfixed--experiencing the moment as we are; We are back in our past, caught up in waves of emotional pain born of having become identified with other unhappy moments in our lives like the one unraveling before us. In the same manner as investing in a company, we should look at the best available evidence in order to work out where you will get the most bang for your buck. When they had started investigating charities, they found that the best ones were hundreds of times more effective than good ones. most effective charities, I learned, were often rather unsexy, like deworming kids in Africa or buying malaria nets. Later in the afternoon, as we were having dinner at my parents' place, I was asked what I wanted for a birthday present. I already have everything I need, so you could donate the money you'd otherwise spend on gifts to the malaria foundation.

Well, that's just not going to happen, my mother said. I want to buy presents for you. In that case, I'll have to sell all of the stuff you give me, and then donate the money myself. That sounds like a lot of fun, my wife said. I was just getting into my new role as moral Carl, and I had already alienated my family. Just let them float away and gently return to focusing on your breath. Maintain a centered state of calm by continuing to follow the movement of your breath. Breathe in calm, breathe out stress. Let yourself feel the sensuality of inhaling and exhaling as air passes through your nostrils and chest like a cool breeze. Take pleasure in the breath's hypnotic rhythm, what the Buddha described as breathing in and out sensitive to rapture. With each slow, deep breath, feel yourself inhaling calm, sweet as the scent of summer jasmine, then exhaling stress. Inhale calm, then exhale fear. Inhale calm, then exhale frustration. All negativity is released. Your body unwinds, lulling your biology. When she raises her arm, I see that she, too, has the grid of numbers written on it. Also on her hand is a script tattoo that reads Trust No Man, Fear No Bitch, and I cannot help but wonder about the hurt in her life that led her to make that message indelible on her skin. I was at work. My niece was supposed to be watching my girls, she tells us as she cries, describing how she has ended up in jail, but I don't know what happened. The police found my kids walking in the street by themselves.

They took them into DCFS [Department of Children and Family Services] custody, and now I don't even know where my daughters is at. Montgomery asks her gently again whether she is suicidal. Right now I have nothing to live for, the woman says. We can put you on suicide watch if we need to, Montgomery says. I wonder whether the woman knows what this entails in most correctional facilities--a smock with no undergarments, a cell with no sheets, round-the-clock observation by correctional officers, all until she is seen by a psychiatrist to be cleared--but she demurs. When we were young, we carried little responsibility for our growth and maturity. As we had very little ability, we also had very little account-ability. Our degree of responsibility increased gradually until we became our own person as an adult. This is why we say that our childhood is determined by both mom and our response to mom. It is never just mom's fault. As adults, the picture shifts even more toward our own responsibility. As grown-ups, when we enter remothering relationships, we don't allow someone else to take over responsibility for our life. That part of the parenting process is truly over and must be grieved and left behind. Our life is our own now, and we alone are accountable for its outcome: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Some counselors blur this important difference in their attempts to reparent people. So take a moment to get clear about (or simply to reconnect with) what you want your life to stand for. Write it down (it makes a difference! Include the impact you want to make on those you live with, work with and encounter throughout the course of your life. Mahatma Ghandi said, My life is my message'. <a href='http://www.86lawyer.com/go.aspx?url=http://ejectorseat.co.uk/'>What</a> message do you want your life to say between now and the day you die? <br /><br /><a href='http://www2.irm.org/js/feed2js/feed2js.php?src=http://ejectorseat.co.uk'>Interrogate</a> your reality <a href='http://www.makbiz.net/adv.aspx?nurl=http://ejectorseat.co.uk/'>A</a> squadron of soldiers was marching through the local town. <a href='http://www.factory-outlet-shop.de/jumpto.php?url=http://ejectorseat.co.uk/'>All</a> the parents and families had come out to wave and cheer them on. <a href='http://after.orz.hm/line/ne55_jump.asp?EID=34058&url=http://ejectorseat.co.uk/'>One</a> particular soldier was marching completely out of step and as he passed his mother she turned to her neighbour and said,Look, my son is the only one marching in step! While no-one likes to think they're being as one-eyed as the woman in this parable, all of us can become a victim of our own biases, blinkered thinking, and misperceptions. You don't question where you are in life or how you're going to get to the next level. You don't push yourself; You do the same things, go to the same restaurants, have the same conversations and stay in the same job. Put simply, you put your blindfold on. In her article Wilful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan discusses how as human beings we naturally associate with like-minded people. Our challenge is that we are deeply influenced by the norms and standards of those around us, such that our brain edits out facts that aren't in line with that world view. Heffernan explains, `When we are wilfully blind there is information we could know and should know but don't because it makes us feel better not to. At its extreme this attitude leads to groupthink, a term originally coined by social psychologist Irving Janis in 1972. Evidence of this tendency can be seen everywhere, from political parties and sporting teams to schoolyards and the media. Sticking with the same people, with the same in-group, is safe and boring. Interact with people who support my vision. Learn to cook. Study the creative arts. Participate in a photography course. Attend a wine appreciation course.

Learn reiki and involve myself in yoga. Complete a weekend course that involves my passion. Research nutrition to better look after myself. Attend a personal growth seminar once every quarter. Discover the job that I'm best suited to. Each brain refused to be replaced by the other, each stood its ground, so they're all just crammed together in a cerebral car crash. Each brain isn't actually independent, they're linked, in complicated and poorly understood ways, but I'm saying they're separate to make it easier for you - and me - to follow. Here is my drawing. The Reptilian Brain Five hundred million years or so ago we began with the oldest part of our brain, known as the reptilian brain, or archipallium (fancy name: you won't need to remember it). This very archaic area (our brain stem and the layers around and above it) is in charge of the basics: breathing, heart rate, sleep, sex and strong emotion (my type of guy). The Limbic System Then, 200 million or so years ago we developed the paleopallium, or limbic, brain, which moved in right on top and around the reptilian model and set up shop. The limbic emotionally translates the deep drives and signals from the older brain, which helps us remember our feelings, who caused them and where we were when we had them. With this later brain on the block, we also began to care for our young. So, we are not really so much alive in the Now as we are reliving who we once were; In this state of Self all sorts of runaway reactions rule us. Who hasn't wished there were some way to take back the angry words or cruel actions of this false self that literally sets itself on fire as it blames another for its pain? What we want to learn from ongoing dramas such as this is that no false sense of I can run its self-compromising game on us without there being a reason for it--a reason our own mind provides by unconsciously calling up, and then identifying with, old negative images taken from some darkened closet of the past. If we can see that any step this false I takes to protect itself from the pain it feels only serves to make it, and the pain it is experiencing, seem more real, then we can see why this fictitious self has to go.