That sounds trite, I know, but I’m going to show you how you can empower yourself with this simple, yet profound tool. It’s a tool that you already have and use every day. And it has the power to change your life, or more specifically the way you understand your life. It’s your inner meaning-maker. And this meaning-maker is the key to creating healing, transformation and fulfillment in life.
First, a little about how your brain works. Every experience in your life gets encoded in your mind in a way that is unique to you. This encoding produces an image or video that is a representation of what you experience. Because your mind can’t handle the sheer volume of data that is available, it uses filters to reduce the incoming information into a manageable data set.
Your mental filtering system (or meaning-maker) is working 24/7 on all of the information you are taking in with all of your senses, all of the time. Each person has a unique set of filters based on their own memories, values, beliefs, choices, language etc.
This is why two people can have completely different recollections of the same event. Their filters are different, so the experience is encoded in each person’s mind differently.
Everything that happens to you in life is encoded into your neurology this way. It’s how you understand and attribute meaning to your life experience.
You can change the way your experiences are encoded.
You can change the meaning you attribute to what you experience. By changing one or more of your filters, you can change the representation of the experience which changes the meaning of the experience.
Wouldn’t it be useful to change the meaning you associate with an unpleasant memory from the past?
Let’s say a man experienced a minor car accident. Because of his unique filters, his meaning-maker encoded the experience as “yet another example of how life sucks and nothing ever works out for me.” Using compassionate inquiry and exploring options, we can identify a number of other meanings that might be much more empowering for him. Some examples are “It was pure chance that I would be a car accident statistic that day.” or “I’ve become complacent in my driving and this is a good reminder to be more alert.”
Some of the mind-body techniques that I use can make these changes deep in the meaning-maker a lot easier, but sometimes it can be done as simply as making a choice. In any case, you first have to be aware of the automatic meaning you want to change.
The best way to empower yourself is to consciously choose the meaning you attribute to significant events as you are experiencing them.
Use your knowledge of how the meaning-maker works and choose an empowering interpretation, even when the experience may be unpleasant or downright horrific.
Let’s say I get fired from my job. I can attribute a meaning to that experience that is discouraging (I’m such a failure), or I can attribute a meaning that is empowering (I can do anything I want now!). It takes conscious awareness and choice.
When we take this approach further, we can see how it can be directly tied to intention. If we align the meanings of our experiences with our intentions for our lives, we enter the realms of manifestation and alchemy.
The bottom line is that we’re making life up as we go, usually unconsciously. So, if we’re making it all up, let’s make it up consciously so that the meanings we encode in our minds are empowering, supportive and encouraging.
This is the stuff of personal mastery and evolving consciously.
I’d love to hear your experiences with this. How do you make empowering meaning of life?