Overcoming the Amygdala Part 99
When we are overwhelmed by our amygdalas, we are unable to conceive of valid reasons for things or to trace patterns of cause and effect. We are so bludgeoned by our own parasympathetic nervous systems that we are often incapable of recognising that most of our woes are directly caused by things that we ourselves can control.
This inability to observe and find real, underlying reasons is our downfall, perhaps as a species. Instead of establishing correct causes, we fall back on concepts like fate and fatalism, superstition and astrology, luck and chance, and the actions of the ‘gods’.
This often takes the form of assigning the cause of something ‘over there’, out of one’s zone of responsibility. ‘The reason for our terrible working conditions,’ goes this argument, ‘is the fault of the bosses.’ Or ‘The reason I don’t get attention from men is because of my genetics’. Or ‘The reason why society is going downhill is because of the such-and-such party.’
By believing that departures from ideals around us are all someone else’s fault, we never look to our own zones of responsibility or action. It’s a pattern of lazy, easy thinking which dooms us to always be the effect of situations rather than the cause.
If you come up with a reason why something is the way it is in your life which belongs ‘over there’, outside your own area of control, you automatically abdicate any power over it or ability to improve it. You will complain about it all the time, but remain powerless before it. So it never changes for the better, and often gets worse.
This can be as simple as ‘The reason I am ill is because the doctors messed up with me.’ Maybe they did — but to continue to regard them as the reason for one’s illness removes any power one might develop of recovering. A more rational reason might be discernible if questions are asked along the lines of ‘The doctors messed up with me, so what exactly happened medically and why has it had the effects that it has had?’
Another example: ‘My business is declining because customers are going elsewhere.’ No doubt this causes endless worry and is a source of constant complaint — but it doesn’t help you do anything about it. Asking ‘Why are they going elsewhere?’ and questions of that nature will undoubtedly open up several avenues of fruitful research, resulting in at least a chance to salvage the business.
If you find yourself descending into apathy over your apparent inability to get your job done, it is certain that you have swallowed ‘explanations’ and ‘over there reasons’ which assign cause elsewhere and in places you cannot ever hope to control.
It might be an idea to right now make a list of all those areas in your life where you feel apathetic and overwhelmed. There might be quite a few. In each one, you will have bought into a wrong reason for why things have to be the way they are. Sometimes those wrong reasons can be so big and obvious and you’ve believed them for so long that it’s hard to give them up — but as you build up your ‘correct thinking muscles’, you will gradually come to see them as incorrect reasons and use them and the departures around them to find the right reasons and to achieve improvement.
This applies to any field of life.
Stay tuned for more.