Overcoming the Amygdala Part 98


Overwhelmed as many of us are by the signals coming from our amygdalas, it’s often hard to grasp that we can pilot a logical way out of it all into a better life. Still less feasible, it seems, is the idea that there might be a reason for our worries and difficulties in life — that is, that it’s possible to trace a single cause for most of what bothers us.

But it can be done.

I’ve used these procedures time and time again to solve problems in people’s health, relationships and businesses. It’s possible to solve most of society’s problems, at least on paper, using the same techniques.

What’s involved is a different mode of thinking. A person has to ease out of the ‘departure-react-panic-cope’ mode of operating and get into using what is happening to them and around them as a set of tools for finding out the reasons why it is happening.

The reason why will be a basic departure, underlying all or most of the other departures, which, when addressed, leads to a recovery of sanity and a motion towards the ideal.

Get this wrong, and you end up with an ‘unsolvable problem’. Like ‘staff absenteeism is caused by staff feeling overwhelmed.’ Or ‘My marriage is suffering because I feel stressed.’ Or ‘I am feeling unwell because there’s a bug going round.’ These wrong reasons all sound fairly acceptable at first, but they are simply explanations, not reasons.

Staff absenteeism may seem to be being caused by staff feeling overwhelmed, but that doesn’t help solve the problem, does it? ‘Feeling overwhelmed’ is too vague and general, and may apply differently person to person. It doesn’t really explain staff absenteeism as much as excuse it. The real cause for the absenteeism would immediately open the door to less absenteeism. As long as you can ask the question ‘Why?’ as, in this case ‘Why do staff feel overwhelmed?’, you know that you haven’t gotten to the bottom of things yet.

A marriage suffering because of stress sounds plausible. There may indeed be a great deal of stress in the relationship. But what’s causing it? If you can ask ‘Why is there stress in this relationship?’ you can make progress to discovering the real reason why the marriage is in trouble.

Similarly, there may well be a ‘bug going round’ which ‘explains' why someone is sick — but why did that individual fall sick and not another? Is that person more vulnerable to the bug? If so, why?

The real reason, when found and fixed, leads straight back to the ideal. A wrong reason, even if you manage to fix it somehow, will not lead to any improvement.