Before you start reading this article , I want you to go through this video https://tinyurl.com/2p93ztfn
I want you to close your eyes for 30 seconds.
Hard wasn’t it, all the thoughts and emotions, images might have kept popping up.
Now try closing your eyes again and this time , take note of what you have been thinking try to stop the images coming to your mind and understand what you feel.
I’m sure you might have thought about your day, the task that you remembered you have to complete, the friend who you met or what you had for lunch/dinner. Apart from this I am also sure you might have tried so hard to even shut your brain so that you don’t experience stress, feelings of hunger or see any visuals
If you feel that you have been thinking a lot lately and experiencing emotions that are negative then this article is for you to take charge and master your thoughts.
“To control your life, control your mind. To control your mind, control your breath”
- Stephen Richards
Everyone in this world lives a different reality and along with a different reality there comes an enormous perception. The world is vast and unlimited and tends to make us as human beings create a filter system which is purely created unconsciously in our minds wherein we absorb what is required from our surroundings and dismantle the rest.
Perception to be precise is the ability to see, hear or become aware of something through our senses.
we perceive our world through five senses - Visual (Images), Auditory (Sounds), Kinesthetics (Touch & internal feeling), Olfactory (Smell) and Gustatory (taste). We create our reality through imagination and imagination transfers into our senses transforming into feelings. Every element we seek whether we feel it on an internal level or exterior level is through our senses.Thoughts have NO feeling, they are randomly chained to the ongoing continuous mental activity or external environmental triggers.Feelings can be accessed only through the synesthetic crossover from either visual, or auditory OR both. What we see, we believe and that is how our mind functions, we are blinded by our thoughts, our imagination. Imagining is not always in an external surroundings but through senses, we tend to perceive our inner world through imagination. While perceiving this magnificent world, we are caught in this loop of grasping every significant material from our reality and while doing so we remember and store them in our minds in form of images or a sound either one of the following or both, perception does differ on an individual, this process is completely based on our brain being wired in a pattern and how comfortably we as humans get accustomed to it.
Synesthesia is a neurological condition.The term has been derived from a Greek word that is “synth” meaning “together” and “esthesia” means “perception”. Synesthesia occurs when a visual or a sound which brings a single feeling into multiple feeling touches various modalities, activating them in form of emotions. In simple words synesthesia is a vision that brings colors or an object that brings shapes or words having their own very voice. It is when one sense has turned into multiple senses causing an activation of multiple emotions.
Understanding synesthesia through various modalities
Emotions – colours
Grey – sadness, Happiness – yellow
Emotion - image
Feeling anxious – illusions of circles, Feeling excited – Image of sparkles
Emotion – Smell
Calmness – Smell of the sea, Adventure – Smell of the woods
Emotion – Sound
Hearing a song- Seeing circles, colour, feeling it through textures.
In the film Ratatouille (2007), there’s a scene where Gusto, a famous chef describes food through his imagination.
Gusto - “How can I describe it, good food is like music you can taste colour, you can smell, there is excellence all around you, you need only be aware to stop and savour”
Remy the rat tried teaching his brother Emile how to cook but unfortunately Emile couldn’t make great food and the reason why Remy was such a passionate cook in the film is because he had the skills but these skills came from food, he would close his eyes, think about cheese or strawberry and a music merged with sparkles bouncing in the air would make him cook the best dish in the restaurant that is ratatouille. A pure case of synesthesia.
SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF SYNESTHESIA
In the 19th century synesthesia was a study that grabbed a lot of attention but later in the 20th century it was a long - lost topic. In the 1970s a scientific study was carried out by two psychologists and it ultimately emerged as a subject. First is the Yale University psychologist Larry Marks, Phd who authored a review of the early history of synesthesia research in the Journal psychological bulletin (Vol. 82, No. 3), which was the first research after a 30 year drought on the subject and the other psychologist was neurologist Richard E. Cytowic, MD, who in the early 1980s published several case reports about synesthesia although his case reports didn’t receive much support but his book “The man who tasted shapes” introduced the topic of synesthesia back to the limelight. Later in 1987, a team lead by Baren cohen found the first evidence of synesthetes. They established in their research that synesthesia is not only consistent across time but also concretely measurable in the brain, the researchers found that for synesthetes who report coloured hearing, visual areas of the brain show increased activation in response to sound. Over the years there had been various studies that were conducted by researchers, and together all these research indicated that "something is going on in the sensory areas of the brain."
THE ART OF SYNESTHESIA
Synesthesia is a neurological condition but for some this is the formation of art. Art in the form of music, books, poetry, artistry and many more.
Kanye west has been very vocal about his life throughout his stardom and he wasn’t shy to hide the fact that he was to a victim of synesthesia. He mentioned in an interview how it has brought some meaning to his life and others as well. He mentioned how every artistic note leads to a manifestation of colour.
“I have a condition called synesthesia where I see sounds,everything I sonically make is a painting. I see it. I see the importance and the value of everyone being able to experience a more beautiful life.”
VINCENT VAN GOGH
Vincent Van Goah is known for his amazing art work with vibrant and radiating colours, there’s a reason why his paintings have been so unique. There’s a background where Van goah’s synesthesia was misunderstood for insanity. When he took piano lessons as a child, his teacher noticed that he had been associating the key notes of the piano with colours, unfortunately he was thrown out of his class, but on the brighter side he ended up becoming the most influential figures in western art history.
PICTURE CREDITS - VINCENT VAN GOUGH GALLERY
t’s not clearly known whether Arthur Rimbaud had synesthesia, but a poem named “Vowel” written by him sums up synesthesia in a very poetic manner.
Black A, white E, red I, green U, blue O - vowels,
Some day I will open your silent pregnancies:
A, black belt, hairy with burst flies,
Bumbling and buzzing over stinking cruelties,
Pits of night; E, candour of sand pavilions,
High glacial spears, white kings, trembling Queen
1, bloody spittle, laughter dribbling from a face
In wild denial or in anger, vermilions;
U,...divine movement of viridian seas,
Peace of pastures animal-strewn, peace of calm lines
Drawn on foreheads worn with heavy alchemies;
O, supreme Trumpet, harsh with strange stridencies,
Silences traced in angels and astral designs:
O...Omega……the violet light of His Eyes!
- Arthur Rimbaud
KINESTHETICS AND SYNTHESIS
Kinesthetic meaning “I put in motion” this simple meaning gives us a simple definition is that actions are put first into consideration, When an individual is acquainted with kinesthetics, feelings are in the form of breathing or language, communication is through body movements. There’s an absence of thoughts which cannot further create a visual representation. Kinesthetics is more connected to body movement and so cannot access any feelings, feelings are formed in a different method as mentioned about it. It is more based on physical movement and sensations. When we go through external triggers and trauma, we are bound to first react with the sensation of fear, fear being a powerful emotion leads to the response of flight or fight both of which are associated with a physical response with this the presence of a vision or the presence of a sound is absent. If the same situation arises with a feeling of sadness that’s when we can take into consideration that the feeling of sadness was triggered by the modalities and the information in form of visual or auditory crossed over in the kinesthetic cap forming synesthesia.
THE UNCONCIOUS MIND
The movie “Dear Zindagi” (2016) directed by Gauri Shinde gave some insight into how life has Should be lived to the fullest, it started to make us all think when the protagonist of the film Dr Jehangir khan said that life is easy but we always end up taking the hard toughen path thinking it will make life easy, there’s an easy way but we just refuse to take it. Another scene from this movie got me thinking about how we can make our life a bit easier.
Dr Jehangir Khan - “Kiara, have you ever bought a chair?”
Kaira - “WHAT?”
Dr Jehangir Khan - “Chair. Bought? One?”
Kaira - “Yes”
Dr Jehangir Khan - “Did you go to the store and buy the first chair you liked?”
Kaira - “No”
Dr Jehangir Khan - “Exacly my point, we see so many chairs before buying a chair, we try out
so many chairs. And yes, some chairs are comfortable but look bad. Others look nice, but are
hard on the surface, so the process starts. Chairs after chairs, and after. How many chairs do
we check out before we find that one chair. So, my point being, if we look at so many chairs
before buying that one chair. Then shouldn’t we consider our options before we choose our life
[ Dr. Jehangir’s sit on his chair]
Kaira - “Be careful that chair creaks”
Dr Jehangir Khan - “It doesn’t creak with me”
Even though he was talking about relationships, this metaphor can be used in real life as well,
chairs are different thoughts we have, we keep switching them like a process and we become
comfortable thinking in that way.Switching thoughts attaching it to feelings and continuously doing this, We can choose our thoughts and if not our thoughts then our feelings.
Thoughts have no feelings - As stated that we perceive the world through our senses,perception
can differ from individual to individual. Every event has two elements that are information being
the former and feelings being the latter. Information is processed through visual, auditory,
olfactory, kinesthetic and gustatory. It can be a different experience for different individuals.
Feeling and emotions develop because kinesthetics are activated only through visual or auditory
and this crossover between the two leads to synesthesia. The role of the mind in processing
thoughts to become into feelings is mainly unconscious that is having a thought usually makes
us wonder about the visual or sound and develops a bunch of mixed emotions within us, all this
process takes place within seconds without even being conscious or alert of what we have been
thinking. The key is to be alert when thoughts crossover only to reject the idea of feelings.
WHY THOUGHTS HAVE NO FEELINGS
Living in a society is where expectations arise but altogether living in a society is following the norms, the patterns and refusing to do the unusual that could tarnish the norm. Same way with our thoughts, we follow a certain pattern they process and lose the power to think out of the box. Thoughts have no feelings, I repeat thoughts have no feelings - this statement could be quite complex to make sense of but the answer to this statement is quite simple, When we think, we have thoughts and thoughts then become visuals or sound playing in our mind, we experience great feelings seeing those visual or sounds or both usually. This is a norm we follow, it is an unconscious thinking process.
In simple words, as mentioned earlier we perceive our reality through our senses and when we speak about information from our reality being perceived, this is perceived in three different ways that are - Visual (image), Auditory (sound) and kinesthetic (Touch & internal feeling). Although there are modalities like olfactory and gustatory which contribute to the senses but eventually get elicited into visual and auditory. Thoughts are formed when there’s a crossover of visual and auditory.
“There’s always a silver lining” - A thought
On hearing this thought, an image might appear in front of your vision, it could be a dull, hazy sky and the sudden appearance of crepuscular rays rising and maybe for dramatic effect, a high-pitched godly voice narration could be apt for this thought. This thought could have just been a mere thought but the visual or the sound effect could give us the feeling of goosebumps or hope. Thoughts and feelings are detached yet attached. The presence of visual and auditory or either can be felt, the only difference is that thoughts are not responsible for creating feelings. The senses of the vision fall on the auditory senses creating these feelings.
REALISING OUR INTERNAL WORLD
“ Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.”
We as humans might learn and grow daily, some aspects we learn are important for our growth and some aspects have to be unlearnt. “Ignorance is the root cause of difficulties” – the reason we grow feeling powerless and sometimes we may not have a grip on our inner reality is due to ignorance. The reason being thoughts that create chaos and complexity makes one feel conflicted and lost in the hurdles of sad energy, and life gets monotonous when we let our thoughts hold us responsible for what we feel. Feelings are complex but what makes feelings complex lies in our thoughts. Our senses are unconscious in functioning; it’s programmed to function in a way that might be step by step. Unlearning this function is when we come to grips
With our reality. Ignorance is when our understanding is limited to our thoughts being the cause of our reality but knowledge is taking charge rewiring the brain to process, thinking and controlling the feelings that belittle one’s own ability. Understanding that the power lies within us to control our inner world is the real key to the treasure.
EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS IN THE WORLD OF THERAPY
Has this ever happened to you, where you just can’t explain what your feeling, life seems to be having an emotional crisis and no matter how hard you try you just can’t deny the feeling and explain it. When there’s an emotional crisis, and when life seems to fall apart, there is obviously a thought, a purpose behind this situation and along with them are visuals or sounds of sad energy in form of negative self-talk constantly ruminating in your head. Emotions and feelings have a wide role in the world of therapy. The very purpose of therapy is to have a healthy relationship with your thoughts, to address unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving, and lastly the major goal is to make one self-realise that these emotions can’t have a hold on them.
The therapist has a very crucial role that is to make the client realize that these thoughts can’t control their feelings as thoughts are mere illusions.
For instance – A thought of a past memory, the client visualizes every aspect of the memory it’s like a video presentation playing in their mind, there’s a sad song playing in the background sadness sets in because the client could feel the emotions behind this thought. This memory gave a mixed bag of emotions, making the client have multiple feelings.
Here the therapist’s role is to bring this unconscious visual or sound to the conscious and emphasise the value of their emotions, it’s the visual or the auditory memory that the client tends not to focus on, it might appear at first but the client experiencing these feelings may skip this whole scene in their mind focusing just on the feelings.
Let’s take the same instance - A thought of a past memory, but this time the therapist asks the client to just keep it as words, the image or sound is taken out of the mind.There is just a thought with a blank visual.
there’s when feelings are not developed and the client becomes aware of their thoughts as well as their visual and auditory memory. It brings more alertness to their feelings and brings the client more conscious of the way their thinking process functions. the statement that “thought can’t control feelings” is taken into consideration.
Next time when you feel your life has been falling apart, try to be mindful of how your thoughts are Programmed, Having a diary can help you keep track of how your thoughts are letting you believe something that is not true. The key is to bring yourself to alert mode. If you have thoughts about sadness get to the root cause that is creating the sadness dissociate with the visual image playing in your head and associate more with the thoughts. This can help one control and can help one take charge of their feelings. Controlling the mind is a powerful weapon, and acing the mind To think in a more constructively is about dismantling the negativity. Therapy is about making one realise their patterns and behaviours and understanding that we have a hold of emotions and not emotions over us is one of the greatest advantages.This technique takes a lot of time but eventually keeping a note of where the thoughts have been wandering giving us our so - called reality through visuals is not our very reality, it’s something we as humans have been born with. The key is to rewire these thoughts and to be in a healthy relationship with our feelings. Being a person with emotions is the biggest gift we receive as individuals but if these emotions get overwhelming, manipulating them to not be affected by them is our duty.
REPRESENTATION OF ASSOCIATION AND DISSOCIATION EFFECT
DISSOCIATION OF THOUGHTS WITH FEELINGS
“O Mighty armed one, undoubtedly the mind is fickle and difficult to master; but it can
be controlled by diligent practice, O Arjuna and detachment from sense enjoyment.”
- Lord Krishna, Chapter 6 Verse 35 Bhagavad Gita
Throughout the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna speaks about self-mastery and consciousness, Lord Krishna emphasises on how one has to detach from their senses as he call it maya (illusion), when we speak about detaching from our senses, we need to understand that our thoughts touch our senses (Maya) creating visuals and these are illusions promoting feelings of sufferings in many dimensions.
According to Lord Krishna consciousness is a state of awareness in which an individual acts in complete harmony with the Divine or the ultimate reality of Krishna. Our mind promotes these thoughts which are ruminating continuously in our minds, - the first step is practice, try practicing detachment from visual. It’s difficult but consciousness can help make one alert about thoughts and feelings. Our reality is not in what we think and feel but what we see and believe.
Humans collect information through various sources based on association and dissociation. Association is more about how we feel, it is a chain of information leading to thoughts and then feelings, whereas dissociation is more on a logical perspective, there’s a thought, there’s a belief but there’s no visual – this gives us the power to control our response and reaction. Visual kinesthetic dissociation helps to segregate extensive feelings from thoughts, which is why the control of our thought lies within us. Dissociating thoughts from feelings helps to lessen the effect of thoughts, memories and beliefs and tarnishes the feelings felt during the process of thinking. Dissociating the kinesthetic with visual or dissociating the visual with auditory technique works in either way.
If our mind is a world then our senses are a map and as we get in tune with our surroundings and our experiences, we tend to map down by visualizing, imagining and trying to create a broader horizon on understanding our reality. Thoughts work as an illusion but creating these thoughts into something meaningful is where feelings live and that is when synesthesia, our perception gets enormous. Representation of our thoughts can ponder and touch multiple modalities giving rise to synesthesia, Neutralizing emotions to become subtle is where dissociation takes charge. Dissociation tends to reframe the unconscious thoughts into conscious which brings in the alertness of how thoughts can just be thoughts without tuning into feelings. This ultimately gives rise to making decisions from a more logical perspective and lessens the effect of emotions which certainly do get in the way with decisions.
This article on ' 6 questions ' has been contributed by Swarna Pillai who is a student of Bhavans College,Mumbai.
Swarna is a part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP), which is mentored by Anil
Swarna's future plan is to make an impact in society and to raise awareness and to end the stigma associated to mental health.
GIRP is an initiative by (International Journal of Neurolinguistics & Gestalt Psychology) IJNGP and Umang Foundation Trust to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.
Anil is an internationally certified NLP Master Practitioner and Gestalt Therapist. He has conducted NLP Training in Mumbai, and across 6 other countries. The NLP practitioner course is conducted twice every year. To get your NLP certification