Take a few minutes out of your day and try this out…
You might find closing your eyes helpful. You might also find being prompted by a friend useful, unless you’ve mastered reading with your eyes closed 🙂
Imagine yourself, in your mind’s eye (as the saying goes), having a coffee or tea with a friend. It might be a real, past experience or an imagined future one – it doesn’t matter.
Now, as you have that experience ‘in your head’, try to remove any sounds from the experience (any dialogue, coffee shop background noise etc.), so that there is no sound at all. Total silence.
Now, as you have that experience, remove any smells or tastes from the experience (any smell of coffee, taste of tea etc.)
Now, as you have that experience, remove any sensation of touch or feeling (any sense of being seated, resting arms on the table, holding the cup etc.)
Now, finally, remove the image you have. If the image is a video, you might find it helpful to freeze frame and make it a still. You might also find it useful to make that still image black and white or smaller to help you remove it from your experience.
What’s left of your experience in your head?
Most people, at this point, say “nothing”, or “blackness”, or “a dot in the distance”, or something similar.
The point here is that we create experience through our senses. Without them there is no experience. We do this for past experiences – memories – and also for imagined future experiences.
Pay attention to which senses you use to do this – this is how you think.
How do you imagine that meeting will go? How do you recall that great weekend a while back? How do you think about that difficult time in your life?
If you think predominantly in images, say, that means you can change the structure of your thinking, by changing the image. Changing the image will change your experience. Similarly if you think through feeling, or sound. You may use two senses, or notice, say, that sound is present more in negative experiences. The first step is to notice your patterns.