The Way We Think, A Fresh Look
Arnold Siegel. Thoughts on Autonomy and Life.
Arnold Siegel is the founder of Autonomy and Life and leader of the Retreat Workshops.
We tend to think that we're objective—that we see things as they really are. But, in fact, we don't. Let me tell you what I mean.
Especially in our youth, we think that the world we see and hear is exactly the way we see and hear it. How could it not be? However, as we learn, as we age, as we err, it may begin to dawn on us that we see things as WE are, not as they ARE.
When we know more, we may begin to suspect how subjective and prejudicial our knowledge is. After all, how we react to events and the demands made on us, as well as our responses to these events and demands, differs from person to person.
Our ability to envision and evaluate is remarkably and extensively shaped by our subjective "take" on the world. By our mindset. By our vocabulary and narrative. By the things that we talk to ourselves about.
Our grasp of what is going on is a comprehension—really fragmented snapshots—determined in large part by who we are. These snapshots are shaped by the reflexive grab of our biology and education and by our conditioning and experience. We are also shaped by our exposure to unfriendly or friendly persuasion and by the seductions of the Scoreboard.
We were inserted and seduced into the mix of things that exist interior or exterior to us. And this series of fragmented snapshots becomes a significant piece of the mind's "I" with which we interpret and engage life.
Here's a telling example. While parents and teachers were doing their best to shape us in a particular way, we were also being impressed and influenced by other factors. Our senses were connecting to color, sound, vibe and countless other phenomena. In fact, in virtually every social situation, even as children, we had a feeling for what was esteemed, for who had the power, for who rewarded and who punished.
Also, on much of the turf where we observed and played, we could sense that it was a mistake to appear clueless. As a result, the value of an inquisitive mind disappeared.
Odds are, we adopted a recklessly sure-of-ourselves way of being and, perhaps, a hard-to-deal-with willful cockiness or arrogance.
Indeed, children, by virtue of what they have sensed, already have a point of view and a convincing story about life. By the time that significant choices need to be made, this is their mindset. And it stays put. On and on and on—into adulthood. In fact, it stays put forever unless a conscientious effort to change it is made. We tend to put more attention on trying to get what we're supposed to want than on truly taking command of our lives.
However, as we begin to exercise our freedom to mediate this subjectivity, exciting new possibilities for happiness and for life emerge. This is what comes of taking a fresh look at the way we think, at the subjective and narrative manner in which we recognize ourselves.
Taking command of your life: a retreat workshop for the body, mind and spirit. Whether you're interested in the West Coast Retreat taking place in a beautifully landscaped setting overlooking the Back Bay of Newport Beach in Southern California, or the East Coast Retreat taking place in a beautifully appointed professional setting in New England, you'll find a respite from the digital, cellular and familial press of every day. And, of course, in addition to the enjoyable comforts of the hotel, you will find rich intellectual and emotional reward in the Retreat's subject matter.
A three-day intensive retreat workshop that will change your life. Arnold Siegel teaches classes that go broad and deep into the power, strength, meaning and joy that come from taking command of your life. He offers his blog as a way for you to engage with him in a unique discourse, which offers a new perspective and vocabulary for 21st century living. However, the work that will change your life is best obtained in the classroom. Here, over three intense days with him, you'll have an opportunity to engage seriously and intentionally and immerse yourself in the speaking and listening, reading and writing.