"Writing my life story showed me what I valued and just how much more my mind could do."

My Need for a New Way of Thinking

“As I looked at the different parts of my life story, “The Magical Years, 3-7 years old” stood out because of its many discrepancies of what I had learned as I saw that this phase affected almost every part of my life later on as experiential events contradicted my learned memories.  Since one of my art forms is making connections between seemingly unrelated things, I realized that the depth of my current knowledge would be challenged to the utmost, which will give me no end to enjoyment and probably frustration. I know I will have to explore new dimensions in my thinking to understand the investigation process looking inward; traditional thinking will only result in the same conclusions others have already reached.”


Opening my Thinking


By far the lesson "How does this work?" has had a great influence on my life.


From my father I learned to take it apart, see how it functioned, put it back together, and then tell him what I found; a great way of learning. In my philosophy class in collage I learned logical thinking. In my chemistry classes I learned scientific thinking, cause and effect. On my job as a chemist I learned about working in a synergetic  group. In my work as a computer consultant I found out that many mental models that were used in business were never applied to life and how sleep thinking is possible. Life taught me experiential thinking, or putting seemingly unrelated information together. Writing my life story showed me what I valued. What would my learning to look inward show me?

I was getting more impressed just how much my mind could do.


A hernia did the trick

It wasn’t until my time living alone in “El Nido” at 72 that life taught me that I couldn’t do all the things I used to do when I was younger, like moving heavy furniture that gave me a hernia. I had to learn to live without doing more damage to my body and needed spend much of my time lying on my back in bed waiting my turn for my operation. I could do my everyday chores if I didn’t put much effort into it.


This changed my life style so much since I have always been involved in so many adventures. While I was on the waiting list I decided to make it a positive experience and use the time to reflect on my life. I learned that the Spanish verb "tumbar", to lie on your back, was so much like the English word tomb; I laughed since I didn’t think I was ready for that experience yet. After only one day of boredom and a good nights sleep, I thought, OK, I'll pretend I am in my coffin waiting to be buried. I put my arms across my chest and started breathing very slowly and slipped into a fantasy state.


At first I was very frightened, and my thoughts went to, “This is forever!”; is this my Moment of Truth? I stayed this way for a few minutes until I let my eyes wander around the room and I realized I was still in control; however I needed a few moments before I could accepte it and allow myself to become more at peace. Fantasies can appear to be very real especially when supported by some truths or memories. It was then that I realized how little I knew what I really believed or I understood how important faith is.


It didn’t take long before I began to see the possibility of creatively using the time on my back. One thing I found out very quickly, that there was more room in my lower abdomen do to the hernia. So I started some deep breathing exercises: slowly and deeply with my hands on my lower stomach to feel the rise and fall as the air entered and left. Sure enough, my breathing was much deeper and I felt more relaxed with each breath. I found that I enjoyed the experience enough that I decided to try other things that depended on deep breathing. I love to sing even if my voice isn’t that great was a good place to start. I started to make sounds that rode up on my breath from deep down and as they came up, they were fuller and richer in tone. I started singing and playing around with sounds to see where I felt the sound coming from. I found lower sounds came from deep down and higher pitches came from higher up inside my body; great. Now I continued experimenting by I started sitting up straighter and moving my neck around to noticed the differences in the quality of the sound. I practiced singing, even recorded a few songs that I remembered singing with my sister when we were young, surprised that I still remembered the words. So I had at least found that I really could sing and even enjoy my voice. I was going to join an opera choir a week or so later and surprised myself as they tested me for I found my range had increased so much I could sing parts from a base to a soprano with a clear, full sound (I didn’t join because they were too serious; I love to sing for fun).


The biggest thing was when using my hearing aids at different volumes, the quality changed, and not for the better. When I took my hearing aids out, the volume was quite less of course but the tone much truer. I found that  as I traced the sounds, my inner sounds were traveling out through my mouth to my ears to be processed. Since I didn't hear well, I tried putting my hands over my ears to see if it blocked the sounds, but the sounds were magnified in volume but deteriorated the harder I pressed with my hands. One thing I did find out was the purity of the sounds let me hear the correct sounds of words that were blocked by my poor hearing. Interesting but not very useful; I didn't want to go around with my hands over my ears.



Ok, I then tried meditating and realized I was breathing deeper and relaxing more due to the hernia. Yet, even using several of my mantras, I still had not let go of my thinking, the main purpose of meditation. I was a little disappointed, so I my tried to  imagined energy flow up my body and into my mind. As I allowed it flowing thru my body, I felt the pleasurable feelings all over yet it still didn’t help me let go of my thinking for a meditative experience. I had never spent this much time in just looking what was going on inside of me but it was getting interesting and fun. One thing I realized was that most of what was going on inside me I preserved in my mind (thinking), the opposite of what I wanted for a new mediation form.


Not to be deterred, I thought, maybe, I could to learn to communicate with my mind. I lied on my back and started my deep breathing. As I relaxed more and my breathing slowed down, I tried thinking of early memories from my life and memories came flooding back from when I was young and wanted my breathing to be as if I were sleeping so I wouldn’t get spanked and also mentally setting my internal alarm clock and being able to wake up within a minute of the time I set so I would be ready to go fishing with my father. What it meant though, that there maybe was a way I could communicate with my mind.


So I slowed down my breathing  and relaxed again and second memory came back to me from while a chemist. I was in a discussion with some colleges about some researchers who wanted to get paid for sleeping. We all laughed when they claimed that they solved many problems at night; I don’t think they got paid extra but I must have stored that discussion in my long term memory, as you will see later.


A third memory came from a few years later, when a special event happened in my life. My consulting group was on a large case to evaluate computer usage on a multi-campus university. My task was to collect data on the uses of all their computers. There was a lot of data and I didn’t have an idea how I could present my findings. I fell asleep that night thinking about how to present what I had found. I woke up in the morning with the idea that had come to me that I felt would be good for the presentation. I presented it to my colleges and they all agreed it was a really good solution.


For me, it was a lot more than the solution for it got me understanding what might have happened; maybe could it work for me again. I tried it on and other case before I had started collecting data to see if it was some futuristic experience or not. There was no answer waiting for me in the morning but I was aware of a thought, that my mind needed good data to work on. At the end of my part of the analysis, I thought about my part of the presentation, went to sleep; sure enough, there was a good presentation idea ready for me. 


I didn’t yet understand what was happening, but I sure do know that something was there. My mind was capable of doing so much more that I could have imagined. So I decided to continue following this new thinking process and see where it went.