Some studies estimate how many thoughts we have per day based on our brain activity as we live our lives. According to one study by a psychologist at Queens University, in Kingston Ontario, the average person has around 6,000 thoughts per day. However, I am simply writing this article not to get into heavy research about that study but to look at how we manage our thinking. I’ve coined this concept of ART ( Activate Right Thinking). How do we examine our thoughts about people, places, or things that we encounter daily? Especially in this new climate living and working in a pandemic. Let’s look at a Painting I’ve created entitled Rita below. I have five questions to help you think about Rita.
Who is Rita?
What is Rita thinking?
What is she doing?
Where is she going?
Is Rita afraid of anything?
How do we know what we are thinking? Is it accurate or not accurate? I use the ART of Perception to examine our thoughts by looking at how we perceive or determine if we are Activating Right Thinking. Amy E.Herman calls this Visual Intelligence, and she explains, “While our sense of sight is most often associated with the spherical organs that occupy the orbits of the skull, the brain is really the workhorse of the visual processing system. Not only does it process what we see engage a full 25 percent of our brain and 65 percent of brain pathways---more than any other of our senses-- it begins to be a part of the eye that is really the brain.”
So the idea of me challenging my students to use visual perception in their coaching practices as a tool is another way to help them examine the 6,000 thoughts that they have per day and to ask if what I’m thinking is true. There is a very familiar passage in Phillipians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.
How many of us want to concentrate on good thoughts or true things and find it challenging? These visual practices help us understand our thoughts, looking at our biases of ourselves, others, and God. Our view of ourselves can be so distorted by limited thinking patterns that it can impact our future. These activities are a creative and fun way to discipline my mind to have hope. What condition is your mind in right now? Have you noticed its changes? For example, you may be calm, peaceful, and certain of yourself in one situation, but in another, you're anxious, worried, and insecure. There have been times in my life when I have made the worst decisions based on my view and perception of a situation. For example, the picture that I had in my mind about certain relationships was so entangled because I had not taken the time to ask the right questions -leaving unwanted time for fear and doubt to take my thoughts captive. Dr. Amen calls it ANTS, Automatic negative thoughts. How does anyone make the right decisions or ART (activate right thinking) when your thoughts don't serve you well?
It’s important to understand our brain health. It’s not enough to have a visual of something the Bible teaches us about the conditioning of the mind and what we ought to do, and how to examine wrong thinking patterns. Romans 12:2 says, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is.
Therefore we could have the peace we long for and the purpose we crave in the undisciplined world we live in daily. So, lastly, I will challenge you with this thought in the many thoughts you have already had today to illustrate stillness. I’m not asking you to be an artist, but I’m asking you to allow ART ( Activate Right Thinking ) to be.