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34 | The Surprising Mind: Why the Map is not the Territory


Karen tells the story of the man who thought he was Jesus Christ, somewhere in California in the sixties. It took a while for this version of Jesus to figure that one out. He needed a little help from Richard Bandler, who went on to become a famous psychologist. All I can say to California Jesus, is: Dude, like, that’s so bogus, right?  

Everything that you know about the world around you came to you via your senses. All of it. The impressions passed into you and your unconscious mind put them into the place in the inner firmament of your mind. When you contemplate the world, you are contemplating your inner reflection of it. 

Eastern thought has sometimes concluded that all of the universe is therefore an illusion, or, at least, that we can create our own reality using our minds. Or, failing that, we can at least overcome the universe by recognizing it as an illusion and transitory experience. 

Western thought does not accept that. The universe is real. 

But Western minds can benefit from realizing that their experience of life is deeply conditioned by the unconscious mind, by your thoughts, beliefs, and values that you have in play when receiving impressions of the outer universe.  

Our minds carry maps of the universe; these maps are NOT the reality. It is so very helpful to remember this. We can adjust our maps to better fit reality and to fit into reality in a way that serves us better. To be happier and to live out our highest values and beliefs with greater integrity and verve. 

The man that thought he was Jesus Christ had a map of the universe that was grossly in error, to the point where he couldn’t navigate external realities and had to be institutionalized. 

Maybe we don’t need to be institutionalized but we all have areas on our map that are not in accord with reality. We are finite beings and have to make a lot of assumptions and take shortcuts just to get through the day. 

The map is not the reality; so what? 

Once you start to become aware of how your thoughts, beliefs, values and all that you take for granted in your unconscious mind is steering you… you could start to be more in charge of your own life, living more intentionally with your values, and having, frankly, a much more enjoyable and positive experience. 

By the time you hit midlife, your map is seriously outdated in some areas because a lot of that map was built at a very young age when you didn’t have a lot of smarts, or they are based on first impressions that you didn’t get a chance to reexamine. 

Midlife is such a great opportunity to set the stage for your next 20-plus years. Have a happy and productive life, filled with faith and generosity, and new life. 

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Quote from Karen in the podcast: “ The map is not the territory, and I do, I just am going to add a second thing I want people to take away, which is: it is possible to change your map at any time. It’s possible. There’s hope, and we’ve seen this, I’ve seen this in my clients. It’s what we do. There are techniques to shift your mental map and in the power of the Holy Spirit with the right techniques, this totally is possible. I just want people to feel hopeful about who they can be and how they can process the world, and what kinds of experiences God has for us and, and what’s possible.”

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