Monday, August 26, 2013

Why Our Thoughts Are Not Real...? An Article by Nancy Colier

Happy Monday everyone!

Check out this "mind-blowing" article to start your week off! It is one of the top-trending articles this week and I just love sharing interesting topics that really get people thinking! Check out the article below and see what you think:

Why Our Thoughts Are Not Real
One physical world, but billions of different internal worlds.
Published on August 23, 2013 by Nancy Colier, LCSW, Rev. in Inviting a Monkey to Tea


Did you ever realize that everything going on in your mind -- every thought, feeling, sensation, everything you are aware of -- is in fact happening only in your private internal world? Your thoughts appear only to you, and are not being heard by anyone else whatsoever. There is one physical world here on earth, but billions of different internal worlds. We are all in our own separate theaters, witnessing entirely different shows, and yet we behave as it we are in the same audience, watching the very same event we call life.

Why is it important to contemplate this truth? To meditate on this is liberating, because it implies that what we are personally living inside our heads is not real. We are aware of our thoughts, so in that sense they are real. And yet, our thoughts do not exist outside of our awareness. There is nowhere else where the thought that is appearing to you at this moment is actually occurring. Unlike the way we imagine it, our thoughts are not solid, like trees or rocks that exist outside of us in some tangible way. Certainly I have never seen a thought walk by me on the street. Where, how and if thoughts even exist within the body is not clear. That thoughts appear to our awareness, on a giant projection screen (to which we are the audience), is all we know.

Let's say that at this moment you are having a thought about a friend and something specific that she did, and what you want to say to her in response. That friend who you are thinking about is not experiencing your thought (about her) at this moment. If you don't engage with, or entertain that thought, it will literally not exist. The thought appears only within you. Your friend knows nothing of it. And making it even stranger, you did not even have the thought that you are calling "yours." Rather, it appeared to and within your awareness, without your ever choosing it or asking it to show up! If that thought is not fueled with your attention or interest, it will already have disappeared.

What makes a thought feel real is the attention we bring to it. We make a thought into a solid object by focusing on it and relating to it as if it is an event happening in the world somewhere. Usually in the world of the person or thing that we are thinking about. We link the two -- the thought and the object that the thought is about -- when in fact, the two are not actually connected. Our thought does not affect the object of that thought unless we believe it does. How freeing it is to know that if we do not attend to a thought, answer it, change it, identify with it and all the rest, it literally ceases to exist. If we let a thought be nothing, then that's what it will be... nothing.

It can be a bit frightening to realize that we are the only ones living the experience that we are living, that what we are calling our experience doesn't exist in any real sense, except for an instant inside our minds. So, too, it can be unsettling to consider that there really is no shared experience going on whatsoever. Furthermore, we do not choose the thoughts and feelings that appear before us -- they simply appear to our awareness and then disappear, like fireflies in the night. From what thoughts are made and from where do they come, we simply cannot know.

But the question then begs, if each one of us is hearing different thoughts (living an entirely different circus, if you will), none of which we actually script ourselves, then to whom or what are all these separate and individual performances appearing? Who or what is the larger audience -- the collective awareness within which all these individual events occur? This is a question to ponder rather than answer.

And so the next time that a thought appears before you, within your awareness, remember that it is not real in the sense that it has some solid form or exists somewhere outside of you. The contents of what you are thinking about are in no way affected by the fact that this thought is appearing within you, nor is he/she/it aware that such an event is happening in your internal world. The thought appears in front of and within only you. Without the juice of your attention, it simply disappears without a trace.


Copyright 2013 Nancy Colier

To check out the original article, click here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201308/weeks-top-posts-2/why-our-thoughts-are-not-real

Monday, August 19, 2013

Are U.S. News & World Report School Rankings Nonsense?

Good Morning everyone!! 


With most college kids getting ready to start back in the upcoming week, I wanted to briefly touch upon this great article about school rankings. We often hear so much about school rankings and where/where-not to send your child, but do they really mean something? Check out this article below from Psychology today and find out for yourself!!


Are U.S. News & World Report School Rankings Nonsense?

A school is much more than some number on a list.
Like many people, early on I fell prey to U.S. News & World Report (USN&WR) school rankings. My parents seemed to appreciate them up, too. Consequently, during my senior year of high school, when I garnered acceptance to Cornell University, my folks were fine with my attending this uber-expensive institution. Ultimately, I love my parents for their generosity and support. I also enjoyed my years at Cornell—especially my senior year during which I spent more time on the Ithaca Commons than I ever spent in fly lab.
But knowing what I know now, I wonder whether Cornell University or any other “top-tier” school really is all that much better than the local state school. After all, a university or college is so much more than some numerical rank computed from a list of arguably arbitrary indicators. Good professors and bad professors teach at every school; good students and bad students attend every school. I’ve gone to private schools, and I’ve gone to state schools, and all my experiences were idiosyncratic. I’ve had great educational experiences at unranked schools and crappy experiences at highly ranked ones. In the August 2013 issue of Academic Medicine, there’s a study titled “Short-Term Stability and Spread of the U.S. News & World Report Primary Care Medical School Rankings” that challenges the validity of such rankings. With respect to the primary care medical school, the authors of the study analyzed the ranking criteria used by USN&WR and found most components inadequate when figuring the quality of a training program. Among the worst criteria were ones that people probably put most stock in—student selectivity (GPAs, MCAT scores and acceptance rates) and faculty resources (faculty-student ratios). Furthermore, USN&WR ranked the primary care prowess of medical schools based on how many graduates trained in pediatrics and internal medicine without taking into consideration how many of these graduates eventually completed fellowship training and thus became specialists. In other words, just because a school sends a ton of graduates to primary care residency programs and gets a higher rank at USN&WR does not mean that these students end up practicing primary care medicine.
Although this study examines only the deficiencies of such rankings with respect to medical school, I bet that the rankings are equally inaccurate for a range of schools and programs. After all, how important are measures like alumni giving rate and faculty compensation when determining the quality of an undergraduate program?
I hope that any parent (or student) reading this post will realize what I and many of my peers never realized. Rankings doled out by publications like USN&WR are a lot more subjective than the folks at this publication would likely have us believe. Of course you love your kids, and of course you want your kids to partake of the best educational opportunities, but make sure that important decisions like where to go for college depend on factors much more important that some number on an ordinal list. More specifically, find a school that appeals to your pocket book and your kid’s personal preferences even if its name doesn’t carry “cachet.”

Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School, Back to Anxiety

With summer winding down, and the school year getting ready to start, children of all ages may experience some type of anxiety. This is completely normal for kids, and there are ways of handling it and helping them prepare for the beginning of the school year. This article from Psychology Today, 'Back to School Anxiety Solutions, a Q and A with Dr. Tamar Chansky,' addresses some of the common fears kids have before school, and how to deal with them. Check it out HERE.

If you are struggling, or looking for someone to talk to, please feel free to visit my website and contact me at: http://innerpassagestherapy.com/

Have a nice week,

Inner Passages Therapy
Gaithersburg, Maryland

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Profile on GoodTherapy.org!!

Hello everyone!

I have recently updated my profile page on Goodtherapy.org and would love to share it with you! Take some time to read over and really get to know me and what I do. Remember, even if you don't know where to begin, give me a call or email me and we can find a good place to start.

Pauliann Long on Good Therapy Website


Have a nice week,

Inner Passages