Quieten Down in There and Stop all that Motivated Reasoning!
Updated, April 7th, 2020.
With our propensity to fool ourselves that what we want is always a good idea, when it comes to tuning into any form of ‘higher guidance’ it would appear the chances we might be kidding ourselves must be very high indeed!”
Welcome to this updated introduction to Inner Connections – Wisdom for Life Decisions.
The steps offered in this process will help you access brain states that will connect you with inner wisdom; improving your choices, planning and problem-solving, bringing meaning and direction to your life.
Despite being criticised for it sometimes, I don’t usually write about spiritual matters. I am also admonished at times for apologising when I do. I object to this criticism and today will share why.
As I feel it essential that everyone who needs our help here feels welcome, we do all that we can to present our message in a way that won’t ever alienate our audience. It is because of this that we usually don’t talk about our own beliefs and apologise and give an explanation if we do.
It has never been considered good manners to talk about religion or politics with people who see things differently and have not asked questions or shown themselves open to a debate. These are rules of basic etiquette that I believe should be remembered by all of us. Insisting that we have a right to express our ideas doesn’t always make doing so emotionally or socially intelligent.
Many religious folk might feel less persecuted if they remembered these rules. Salespeople are sometimes disliked for similar indiscretion without any religious prejudice involved.
I am explaining this now because conscience will be the central inner state we explore in this program and instead of focusing on belief, I would like to challenge my religious and non-religious fans alike to stick with me on this. I will keep mostly to my usual topics of neuroscience, emotional intelligence, psychology, etc. and hope you can do the same.
In this spirit, I will request that discussion in the online classrooms avoid people putting their religious views forward or political debate. We will never learn emotional intelligence from practising the opposite! Staying on topic with the work is essential so everyone can focus on improving their emotional intelligence.
I have posted an article here, where I give a clear picture of my own beliefs—for anyone interested—so that you can decide for yourself upfront if there is any reason that you may not feel personally aligned with this work.
Back to Inner connections:
So now you have heard my apology and explanation I am going to break my own rules for one moment but please bear with me—this is an important point.
Most people have heard the Lord’s Prayer, which towards the beginning, says, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The concept that ‘divine will’ is distinct from ‘our will’ is not merely a religious or spiritual idea. At some point, most of us come to understand that in one way or another, we are not the highest authority in our lives.
In a world full of corruption and cynicism, faith that the power ‘at the top’ is truly benevolent may seem naive. Yet this faith has been demonstrated to do positive things for a person’s life and state of mind.
But can we know what divine will is?
Humans are so prone to warped thinking which allows us to fool ourselves. Psychology has many terms for this; Motivated reasoning, wishful thinking, cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, projection, rationalisation, repression, denial, distortion, reaction formation, splitting, groupthink, idealisation, intellectualisation, displacement, sublimation and minimisation, just for starters!
With our propensity to fool ourselves that what we want is always a good idea, when it comes to tuning into any form of ‘higher guidance’ it would appear that the chances we might be kidding ourselves must be very high indeed!
Worse, despite all of the empirical data that we now have access to, considered alongside our considerable logical abilities. The fact remains that while we might be able to control some of the events in our lives, humans have proved to be hopeless at knowing how the plans we make are likely to make us feel.
Brain science theorists have described this as our brains being ‘faulty simulators’. If you are interested there is a science-based TED talk on the evidence for this here;
This fact is important because the Inner Connections process is all about how to resolve this internal conflict and connect with your true inner wisdom.
Faulty simulation is how most of us use our brain and advertisers just love it. They tell us “Stop and think how you will feel riding down the street in this brand new convertible [I want to sell you] with the wind in your hair. Just imagine how all of your friends in the street will envy you!”
But didn’t we just learn that our brains are hopeless at knowing how we will feel with any accuracy?
The result is that many of us end up buying things we don’t need and can’t afford and instead of these things making us happy, we end up miserable and worried slaves to our credit card repayments.
‘Our will’, in this sense, is when we push ahead with our plans, failing to see that most of what we plan just makes us unhappy.
‘Our will’, is also when our desires and plans push ahead without thought or concern for the wellbeing of those around us; putting unrealistic expectations on others; only seeking feedback from our peers while marginalising and dehumanising people our plans might hurt.
And this should be expected from humans who have been encouraged our whole life to use our brains in ways that do not serve our best interests. How many things will you see promoted to you today that are genuinely for the common good?
Understanding the limitation of ‘Our will’, however, should never allow someone else’s version of ‘Thy will’, blind authority over our lives.
These are some of the reasons why—for a long time—I have been working on reverse engineering all the essential data available to us in the social sciences to come up with a system to help us access our inner wisdom for decision making.
“Thy will be done,” in this process, constitutes putting down the rose coloured glasses that represent our faulty simulator and accessing the wisdom that loving and benevolent parents might share with us about our current plans if we had them to turn to.
I believe that the viewpoint of these divine and benevolent parents is always available to us if we learn how to access this ‘inner state’.
Understanding the limitation of ‘Our will’, should never allow someone else’s version of ‘Thy will’, blind authority over our lives.”
Just as we hope our children will sometimes ask for our perspective on their lives and consider our point of view, this same wise choice of action is available to us through the process I offer here.
But how do we know—when considered in the solitude of our internal environment—that this perspective is genuine? How do we know we are not tricking ourselves and inventing these voices in our mind to rationalise behaviour which is not a higher perspective at all?
This question, of course, is nearly impossible to answer, but once you have mastered accessing the Five inner states offered, I trust you will feel confident about the quality of guidance you receive.
You can always continue tricking yourself if you wish—the question is really if you want a genuine answer from your conscience or not?
Just as we hope our children will sometimes ask for our perspective on their lives and consider our point of view, this same wise choice of action is available to us through what I offer here.”
To learn more about this process, which also constitutes Unit Four in my Emotional Intelligence Master Class, please continue here – Calm and Clear. If you are interested in joining our online classroom you can join either Steve or my group here.
This Post Has 8 Comments
I really like this post. I have spent most of my life thinking we should always make others happy, comfortable, etc. and put ourselves last. That concept is not found in the Bible but in man’s mind. God loves us so much and wants us to find peace and joy more than we do. The fact that we can CHOOSE to have those two qualities is something only God could have thought up for the human mind. Great post.
I am sure that I will learn alot from this series. You know so much and I am glad to not hear you apologising as much as clarifying your stance. This is a timely post for me.
Many thanks and keep up your good work(s)!
Kim I just want to start out by saying I was so glad when I ran across you while I was desperately trying to figure out how and why a person could act like my husband did/does. I never in my entire life knew that people could act like he does until I researched and found what narcissiim really meant. Now knowing his mother and more of how he was raised and grew up it was like he was destined to be exactly how he is. Sometimes I can deal and just go day by day w my life but overall other than my kids I’m not a happy person. I’m so tired of crying, being sad, being treated SO badly, continuely going online to find out why he’s doing whatever it is at that moment, etc.
I too grew up in a christian home I’ve veered from time to time but it is my saving grace. I said above except for my children I wouldn’t have happiness but I misspoke also having God and the bible. These are the ONLY things I have in my life that make me happy. I have NO family or friends I can talk to about my husband and what it’s like on a nearly daily basis. I only have online mostly you bc anywhere else you read the answer is pretty much run 🙁
I truly have no one to b able to talk to and I’m going thru some really hard times right now please let me know if you have any suggestions. Please
Hi Julie and welcome 🙂 I wonder if you are working through the steps in Back from the Looking Glass and the exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook?
Kim–Every time I come to your website I find something timely for me. I first identified my husband’s issues (which had been confounding me for 9 years!) from your website a few months ago, and I have been trying to work through the Love Safety Net workbook ever since. I am in a marriage with a man who has narcissistic tendencies, but only sees narcissism in everyone else (dad, ex, even his own daughter) and since I found out about his infidelities 8 months ago, I have been “contemplating” whether to stay or go. It has made it hard to commit to the programme, but today, it feels like there is hope. I didn’t want to leave my two teenage step daughters, who I feel need me more than ever, as I think I am the only healthy (ish) adult in their lives, but sometimes, I think, I would be so much happier if I were living a different life. I think that there is hope for him, but I often think, why should I have to work so hard to make this work, when I could have a better life if I had all the control to live where I want, how I want, etc? Yet every time I venture down that path (i.e. have a look at a flat online that I could let, or think about moving closer to home) I realise how much I would lose. I will subscribe to the rest of the series and hope to learn how to get out of this contemplative torture that I have been putting myself through everyday. Your website and advice are invaluable.
Hang in there H – I am sure the things you learn here will be valuable to you whether you end up leaving or staying 🙂
For many years after my daughter’s death, I raged at a God I no longer believed in. But when deep in despair about my marriage and at my wit’s end about what to do, I gave up one night and prayed, “Thy will be done.”
That one act of yielding to wisdom beyond my own, began a step-by-step guidance process as I asked, listened, followed through on suggestions that came to mind. This simple prayer has become the motto for my life.
My goodness, Kim. This is a life-changing movie. Thank you for taking the trouble to make sure you were communicating it to us in a way we could truly hear.
In these troubled times, it is so easy to find ourselves in a silo of beliefs, thinking everyone outside that is wrong. Listening to you brought home to me just how many times in recent weeks have I insensitively shared my point of view (un-asked) instead of listening and opening myself up to others thoughts, or my own true wisdom. I felt waves of shame as you outlined what is right. Deep down, we have a compass. My shame is justified. I am resolving to use it as a force to reshape my behaviour.
With all this isolated time, I am noticing some of the more obvious places in my life where I have been avoiding growing up, where I have been running childlike patterns of complaint and lack of responsibility. It is inspiring to hear from you how opening up our connection with ourselves and our conscience – the inner higher authority we all carry – can create those small but powerful day-to-day changes we need to live our best lives. Both inspiring and calming.
I am in awe of the intensive process you have been through to gain these insights and bring these ideas to us. Much love and appreciation to you.