Mind Games

Written by Randy Patterson

Originally osted August 24, 2009

Re-Posted With Major Revisions August 21, 2022

Mind Games CoverClick Above To Order Your CopyDoing The Mind Guerilla . . .”
From “Mind Games” recorded by John Lennon

Our minds are fascinating things . . . if we really think about it.

Among the mind's many attributes is the ability to trick itself. For instance, I look in the bathroom mirror and I see the thin-as-a-rake body of my youth. The rest of the world sees the Michelin Tire Man. I'll leave it to you to wonder who is more self-deceived.

It's been wisely written that we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" and we can look no further than our minds to see divine evidence of that.

Our minds, like computers, come with a bundle of "software" that is pretty much universal in every human being. Then there are “apps” that make us the unique individuals we are. If we keep the software and apps updated by downloading the upgrades recommended by the vendors, our home computers stay current and run well. Also, when browsing the internet, our web browsers keep a history of where all we visit. Little "cookies" embed into our computer and track where all we visit, remembering things like passwords and how we fill in certain fields on forms and then completing future forms for us. Heck, some people swear that computers these days know what we think and place ads in front of us based on thoughts “thunk” without an online search made or a website visited.

I have experienced something similar, but I chalk it up to artificial intelligence knowing us better than we give it credit for. I do know that, if we're not careful, we can create all sorts of problems with our computers by not being careful of the sites we visit, the e-mail we open, or not having a secure network.

It's the same way with our minds. Staying with the computer analogy, our mental computers can be smooth, high-powered machines if we keep them properly maintained and watch what they connect to. When we were young and impressionable, all sorts of people influenced our thinking and perceptions. Events, both good and bad, molded and shaped our thinking and view of people, places, events, and things.

If our influences were good, then we grew up to be well-adjusted and functioning human beings. However, if our minds were hacked and corrupted, it affected how we function until the "virus" is dealt with properly. Some of the "viruses" are minor and can be easily corrected. Things like bad manners or grammar. Other viruses are the 800-pound gorilla in the spaces of our minds like overinflated egos, poor self-esteem, prejudice, or fear.

I wish it was as easy as dragging and clicking those kinds of problems away. Unfortunately, our minds just don't work that way. However, by acknowledging the problems and identifying their root cause, we are well on our way to fixing the matter.
Notice that I said, "fixing the matter." Our society is pretty good at helping us identify problems but then encourages us to take on a victim mentality instead of taking ownership of our problems and fixing them. Sure, we can continue to be a victim. Heck, I think a lot of people actually enjoy playing that role. But most Americans are made of sterner stuff and want to fix problems - especially their own.

How do we fix the stinkin' thinkin' we've learned to think? It might help to forgive those who have wronged us. Maybe they're dead. Maybe you don't know how to reach them. That's okay. Forgive them in your heart.

There are other things we can do. We can begin to watch what we put into our minds. We need to begin to be careful of the T.V. and movies we watch, the material we read, and the people we hang with and listen to. These are all sources of input into our brains that affect how we think. We may as well make it good input.

As John Lennon sang in "Mind Games", "We all been playing those mind games forever". It will take us a while to wrestle the 800-pound "mind gorilla" out of the rooms of our minds. We may as well start now.