Mind Palace or Mind Prison?

Many people are familiar with the concept of a mind palace– a mental space where one can go to get in touch with the subconscious and to store and retrieve important information. Unfortunately, many of us have a mind-prison instead. We haven’t consciously created our inner space, and so we are locked out of our own self.

Additionally, we are so locked in to old patterns and mind-sets that we are unable to see what is true, and what is helpful to us.  I’m going to ask you to engage in a practice that is not your normal way of being. This practice is called bracketing. Bracketing is deciding to temporarily engage with what you read, see, hear, taste, and experience in the moment completely, without judgement. Often our normal state of mind wants to place labels on experience, to categorize, and so to essentially refuse to engage.  The mind is a great one for snap judgments. It uses a filing system that helps us to engage in a complex world without getting overwhelmed– which is good—but this filing system also stops us from receiving crucial information.

Pay attention to how this works next time you are walking down a busy street. You see a homeless person; what does your mind say about that person that causes you to not really see the complex human being that they are? Do you even the sound of the wind in the leaves of the tree that you pass by; or does your mind dismiss it as irrelevant information? When you observe people’s clothes and hairstyles, does your mind quickly shuffle them into a category and dismiss them? Instead of really seeing the multitude of people, objects, and sensations, your mind names what you see, and thus places all of it into the seemingly appropriate file.

The same is true when we try to take in new information. The information may be useful, it may be something you are searching for, but if it contradicts your current way of seeing the world, your mind quickly shuffles it into a file so you can’t engage with it. Often these files have names such as Fantasy, Wishful Thinking, BS, or Not For Me. By using this filing system, your mind can keep you from moving forward in the direction you really want to go, because it quickly judges and files anything new.

To avoid this automatic effect, you must decide to experience life and new information without judgement. You also do not need to believe what you read here, or anywhere, or what you see—there is must be no pressure either way. Right now you are just taking in the information, seeing where it leads you, and discovering if anything helps you along your journey.

when you find yourself challenged by someone or something, or even by life itself, take a moment and close your eyes. Picture yourself in the basement vault that belongs to your mind’s filing system. What does it look like? Is it a concrete bunker? Wood-paneled office? Titanium and steel? Look around at your filing cabinets. What are they made of? What labels are on the drawers?  Notice if they have locks. What kind of locks are they? If any drawers are open, take a minute to go around and close them. Then, turn your back on them, and walk out of that storage room. Close the door behind you and lock it. State to yourself your intention today to be judgment-free and open to new information. In front of you is a flight of nine stairs. Walk up those stairs, counting each one as you step on it. As you reach the top step into the sunlight. Take a moment to feel how good it feels to be in the light, then open your eyes.

Allow the information that you receive from inside yourself to emerge as well. You know you best. So, listen to you as well as reading  and listening to others. Your entire being has a voice that is waiting to be heard. Create for yourself a mind palace with many windows and doors, and large, airy rooms that hold as much as you want. As you experience life, let it flow through you, instead of shutting it out. It’s a palace, not a prison.

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