Watch Out For These Poor Thinking Habits: Part 1

    We’ve been exploring how a materialist mindset limits our perception of what is real and possible. It cuts us off from experiences of deeper connection, meaning, and purpose and creates a background state of perpetual anxiety and tension. One thing that supports a materialist view and increases our feelings of stress is poor thinking habits.

    Over the next three days, we’ll discuss several of these poor thinking habits. The first is “black and white thinking.” Black and white thinking divides reality into tightly defined options. It sees only opposing possibilities and generally assigns higher value to one side versus the other.

    Be wary of seeing things in this way: right versus wrong, good versus bad, and us versus them. Black and white thinking is fiction with little basis in the complexity of what is actually happening. It severely limits our perception of possibilities and sets the stage for inner tension and outer conflict.

    Black and white thinking is a subcategory of a more pervasive habit of overgeneralization. Overgeneralization says things like, “You always do that.” “That’s the story of my whole life.” “That’s the way they are.” “You never listen to me.”

    When you over-generalize, you take one experience and stamp it onto other times and circumstances. While there are certainly general patterns in our lives, the way out of the negative ones is not to categorize them as “always” or “never.” That type of thinking just cements them further into place. It makes them feel like unconquerable conditions set in stone.

    As with black and white thinking, over-generalized statements do not represent the complexity of what is really going on. Yes, it’s important to recognize patterns, but watch out for labeling them in a way that makes them feel more solid and immutable than they really are. Again, this dis-empowers you from seeing opportunities and solutions.

    Life is an irreducibly complex, infinitely interrelated Whole. Every experience is a unique combination of conditions and perceptions that blend into infinite colors, textures, and shades of meaning. To overcome overgeneralization and black and white thinking, discern the uniqueness of each situation and each person and notice exceptions to the way you are seeing things. See what is exceptional and beautiful in what you are observing. Appreciate “what is” in its unique splendor right now.

    Appreciation of uniqueness frees your mind from the tension of fitting things into predefined boxes and opens you to be grateful for the opportunities and gifts of each moment.


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. A powerful way to free your mind from poor thinking habits is meditation. Check out “Secrets of Meditation” to learn more.

      2 Responses to “Watch Out For These Poor Thinking Habits: Part 1”

      1. peter murphy says:

        Kevin,sorry to hear you’re getting negative comments. When people like yourself are offering others some of their own wisdom, then people should be grateful. I really appreciate the way you express sometimes overlooked concepts in making them more readily comprehended. Thank you.

      2. Hi Peter,
        Fortunately, the positive comments and support greatly outnumber any others. It’s good for me to keep that perspective.

        Thanks for appreciating what I am sharing.

        Best wishes,

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