Everyone Myths: Minding the Myths of Everyday Conversations
How do personal myths affect our development as human beings? Learn more in this intriguing presentation about beliefs, metaphors and how they influence our reality.
Estimated watch time: 55 mins
Available credits: none
We all have a personal myth path, and the more we follow our intuition, the more we’re able to evolve into the person we need to become. Collective myths provide a compass and a language to accomplish this concept we call “personal development.”
After watching this presentation, the viewer will:
- Understand how both personal and collective myths can shape our thoughts, behaviors and perceptions.
- Be aware of how concepts like myth, reality, metaphor and literalism can influence one another.
- Understand the impact that myths, or the lack thereof, can affect individuals and societies in general.
Neil Wright, LPC has a master’s in clinical psychology and has worked for over 10 years with individuals of all ages, professions, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds in rural, suburban and urban areas. He has provided individual, couples and family counseling, as well as developed tailored trainings and consultation services on a wide range of psychological topics. He writes about leadership, psychological and mythological progression in his books, “Myths of Mind” (Out-Lines and Intro-Struction). In addition, he consults with professionals on how to use psychology, mythology and communication to evolve automatic thoughts and belief systems. Neil owns and runs his communication consulting company, Temme Meil, with his wife, Melissa Wright, who is a linguist and author as well.
Welcome to the Community Education Series, hosted by The Recovery Village and Advanced Recovery Systems. Today we have Neil Wright, LPC. Neil has a master’s in clinical psychology and has worked for over 10 years with individuals of all ages, professions, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds in rural, suburban and urban areas. He has provided individual, couples and family counseling, as well as developed tailored trainings and consultation services on a wide range of psychological topics. He writes about leadership, psychological and mythological progression in his books, “Myths of Mind” (Out-Lines and Intro-Struction), and consults with professionals on how to use psychology and mythology and communication to evolve automatic thoughts and belief systems. He owns and runs his communication consulting company, Temme Meil, with his wife, Melissa Wright, who is a linguist and author as well. Thank you so much for being here today, Neil. I will toss it over to you.
Thank you so much, Savannah. I appreciate it, and thanks for joining us, everybody. Appreciate you introducing yourselves. Feel free, as people trickle in — let’s remind them they can put their name in there. Let me go back to the beginning here. This is “Everyone Myths: Minding the Myths of Everyday Conversations.” I’ve kind of, let’s call it, disassociated from the real world a little bit lately. I’ve been trying to write this book for a little over a year — Myths of Mind — and what I found is this has been one of the most beneficial ways to conceptualize a lot of what we’re all going through lately. And that is mythology and how it affects our psychology, physiology, social systems, et cetera. That’s why I’m using that as kind of the umbrella today. I’m going to throw a lot at you — a lot of run-on sentences and different nuanced metaphors — trying to help ourselves get to the point where we can really see what’s going on in each other’s mind and why we’re operating the way we’re operating these days.
To kind of start out: In general, my belief system is that it’s all about what’s embedded in our thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. A lot of you psychotherapists I know agree with this. I like to use kind of the categories of math, setting, timing and staging of things. Shakespeare said, All the world’s a stage,” so I think my wife and I think that psychology, linguistics and mythology give us a really cool lens to use to better understand our automatics and our manuals. Now, there’s multiple meanings, obviously, with those words. Manual could be like a manual car, gear shifting and things. It could also be like a manual you use to understand how to operate a system or how to work with a system. Automatic, same thing. CBT, all about automatic thoughts. Also, kind of our automatic nervous system or autonomic nervous system. Within this, the entire equation in our mind’s eye is our behaviors, beliefs, cultures, decision-making, emotion patterns, evolution, language use, language development, mindset, personal myths and thoughts. I know I’m not covering it all there, but I had to stop myself somewhere. That’s kind of where we want to start with this — understanding that our actions are products of this. And within that is that foundational personal myth system or equation, and then our collective myth system, or equation.
Just to give you a little acronym — I know the arrow got a little off base there — but think of it like AM. We’re going to talk about dreams and things, so I thought that was a nice little cheesy acronym to use. Think about what happens in the a.m., then think about what’s happening in our client’s mind when we’re dreaming. Think about what’s happening in our minds when we’re dreaming. Then you can deduce a lot of what’s happening in our daily lives throughout those personal, collective, mythological equations that show up in all of these categories. To slow it down just a little bit, the phrase I love using with clients and with a lot of the people that have started to think about this on a more meta level is: Keep dreaming. Remind yourself to keep dreaming. As Americans, we say it all the time, right? The American Dream. One thing we have to do is keep dreaming, and then we’ll keep realizing the better ways to go. Because, as we know, we talk to ourselves when we dream. We’re giving ourselves kind of intuitions through metaphors, through imagery and through the literal language that is used in our dreams.
Young, I think, says it best by saying, “The most we can do is dream the myth onward by giving it a modern dress.” And that’s exactly what my wife and I think we’re doing these days, especially here in 2021. We have to keep reading and evolving the myths of our mind. If we don’t, I think there’s a gap we leave. I’ve noticed this with clients, and I’m sure a lot of you do too. When we aren’t reading our own mind well enough, we tend to project the stuff we don’t like onto someone else, or we create these self-fulfilling prophecies that put a lot of kinks in systems of progress that we need. So using the word evolution with myth, I think, gives us a good lens to look through so that we can read our own minds better, understand each other’s minds better, and then we can keep evolving and unlocking from the incongruence that we are dealing with on a daily basis now. “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Oscar Wilde.
To click out real quick — some of the stuff that’s coming soon. I know I said I’m going to have some long sentences, but I think it’ll continue to become more clear where we’re headed. We’re basically going to define what it means to myth — kind of the function, the action of it. Then how to evolve myth within our conversations with clients and ourselves, expanding our consciousness with clients to accommodate new, personal myths. A lot of people have used that phrase already, so knowing that we have a personal myth system is helpful so that we can develop our selves — meaning our identities — accordingly rather than discordingly or disruptively. We’re going to enhance the flavor of our artistic talk, so we’ll get into some metaphor stuff so that our clients and ourselves, as clinicians, can have more nuanced, fulfilling lives. I think we all deserve to unlock to the nuance of life, be more artistic. Therefore, we can be more fulfilled with what’s going on in our personal lives — in our collective lives. Regardless of any pandemic, I think we could still connect to each other better through this kind of stream of meta consciousness.
To capture all of that, we all have a personal myth path, but it’s not always clear. The more we follow our intuitions, the more we’re able to clear things up and out and evolve into the people we need to become next. Collective myths are kind of those meta myths that provide a compass and a language to accomplish that concept we typically call “personal development,” which takes place and creates collective traction on our personal myth paths. I’m going to use a lot of water metaphors because I think water is consciousness — as we know, metaphorically — and unconsciousness and subconsciousness. So, why not use that to kind of tease out where we need to go together? Then, given all of this, we can remember that transcendence is the key. It’s kind of the thing that opens us up. Cultures crave transcendence, especially in times of high disruption, because we have to transcend beyond what we’ve been doing that hasn’t been working. And it’s a way to initiate ourselves into the myth. You see through anthropological research that most cultures do some sort of initiation ceremony, and what do they use? Transcendence. Most religions use transcendence. They give us the idea of how to go beyond what we’ve been so we can get to where we need to be and become. Maintaining a personal transcendence, I believe, is the key to unlocking any incongruence and maintaining our individual and collective freedom. Obviously, this doesn’t mean violating boundaries of others and rebelling to the point of putting them in harm’s way. What this basically means is transcending our personal patterns that we don’t need anymore — that are unhealthy — so we can get to more congruence, which is matching our ideal self with our actual self.
Myth is both personal and public. I think Joseph Campbell — for those of you that don’t know, was a comparative religion scholar. He found a lot of similarities throughout cultures, and every time, it was kind of that link of meta mythology and personal mythology. He captured it with this quote: “Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.” If you look at the metaphors that people toss around, you can see that’s their dream or nightmare state playing out in our daily lives. And then what we see is we’re kind of playing catch or playing catch up with our myths in our public interactions or our public dreams. And then these two — I promise it won’t have only quotes, but I think they set the foundation for where we’re headed, and want to give them credit for all the work they did over the last hundred years. “The Power of Myth Mindsettings in the Runway Up to Our 2021 Reorientation.” “Even if the whole world were to fall to pieces, the unity of the psyche would never be shattered. And the wider and more numerous the fissures on the surface, the more the unity is strengthened in the depths.” I think that book — if you haven’t read that lately, dip back into that one. It shows us what we’re going through. Again, if you study gestalt, this is our reorganization period, and I think we’re doing a great job collectively of plugging back into our congruence. But of course, a lot of us are struggling right now doing that, so we have to use myth and metaphor to help ourselves get back in.
If you know Bill Moyers, who’s a journalist, he sat down with Joseph Campbell for “The Power of Myth.” It’s one of their most famous conversations. And Moyer said, “So when we say ‘save the Earth,’ we’re really talking about saving ourselves.” Campbell responded, “Yes, all this hope for something happening in society has to wait for something in the human psyche, a whole new way of experiencing a society. And the crucial question here, as I see it, simply is: With what society, what social group, do you identify yourself? Is it going to be with all the people of the planet or is it going to be with your own particular in-group? This is the question, essentially, that was in the minds of the founders of our nation when the people of the 13 states began thinking of themselves as one nation.” Again, coming together, integrating. “Yet without losing consideration for the special interests of each of the several states. Why can’t something of that kind take place in our world right now?” That was 1988. And I believe, here we are — this is the time that we can harness this best.
What do we mean by myth? What do we do with it, and why do we do it? Myth we believe — and most scholars that study, I believe — is the literal language and figurative imagery that also plays into our descriptive story. It’s just our way of expressing ourselves, our way of saying what’s going on in our inner state and our inter states — therefore, our external state. Usually, we use things like metaphors, analogies, kind of retelling the details of an event or storyline. Myth is used to describe an object, a person, an action or an event, and it’s usually done so about things that are significant enough to talk about or retalk about out loud. I think, usually, what I’ve found is with clients, if they’re telling me about a dream, that means it’s significant enough to their personal myth path that they’re bringing up in session. That’s something we need to catch and work with, play catch with. Although, as we know, a lot of cultures are pretty oppressive and they may not allow people to speak about their personal myths or their struggles. I think that’s why this is so useful because metaphorical talk, artistic talk, opens us all up and it gets our nervous system in a flow state again — in a meditative state — so we can get somewhere.
Why do we myth? Well, the function usually is survival. It’s our current survival or future survival based off of our history of survival. Cultures use myth, obviously, as a manual to educate. “How am I going to deal with what’s happening now or might happen in the future? How can I influence myself into a corrective, healthier path?” Therefore, since myth is survival-based, we need to understand when people are saying stuff, they’re speaking from both their personal survival-based ideas and their collective survival-based ideas. “The man, the myth, the legend” is a phrase we’ve all heard before, but as we all know, not everybody feels safe enough or capable of contributing to a myth’s development or evolution, especially when the person, myth or legend is activating a certain degree of fear and anxiety in us collectively. Think authoritarian-type behaviors or personalities, right? That puts us in an insecure state. So, a lot of people find themselves complying with the abuse or things, but what we know is we can transcend that and get out of our own way, so to speak, so that we can heal better. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to always just change them right there in their nightmare state — the authoritarian, that is. But we can say to ourselves, “We’re not at the mercy of our myths. We’re at the mercy of how we’re dealing with them.” Myth is often disassociating when, in actuality, myth is trying to reassociate, I believe, us with our realities to each other and what some call our shared reality.
What do we mean by our myths? So “our” is, obviously, speaking to a collective, but it’s also coming from a personal person when we say that. One of the best ways to look at this is, myth takes our mind from the literal to the figurative so we can better describe the details of what our mind’s eye is seeing and needing to communicate to others for our survival. Think categories of survival — we all need to survive emotionally, physically, socially. So, we say certain things to describe what’s, in a lot of ways, literally happening to ourselves in a figurative way. A great example of this: I had a client — actually, two clients that used this, and it was interesting. They met the criteria for delusion disorder and they kept bringing up “Twilight Zone” episodes, and this was out of nowhere. Obviously, it became diagnostic, but it helped me understand, “Aha. They’re bringing this up for a reason. It’s significant.” They wanted me to know their inner state. As a result, I could go, “Okay, this is why this makes sense,” or, “This is why that doesn’t make sense.” Obviously, they brought this up early on, so it was useful but had this come up down the road, I would need to incorporate that back into my diagnosis. But not everybody knows that they’re in that disassociated state. This was obviously an intuitive communication, and that’s why they brought it up. They felt safe enough to, at least.
We think in averages. By “mean,” we mean many things, especially when it comes to myth. We mean on average also. What do we mean by definition? Did I mean this or that? Intentions — that’s how things are trending, the mean is going that way. I didn’t mean that I meant this — that’s how we get more specific with what we meant, what our definition was in what we said or did. One of the most useful ways to see in myth is to click out, kind of get into your meta mind, so to speak, and see the mean. See where things are going, watch those synchronicities or asynchronicities happening in and around you, and then develop both the myth and the mean in the margins of how you say things. What do I mean by that? See what you’re saying. I think one of the best ways you can do this is see what’s coming out as a thought bubble. I’m trying to do that right now with myself and modeling this so that I can make sure you’re seeing what we’re meaning by myth, by what our clients are saying, what we’re saying to them.
You can say and develop what you mean, and then what you myth — because as therapists, we’re mything too, right? Some people believe Freud to a T. Some people do not, but that was Freud’s myth that he was sharing. There was some incorrectivity in there, in my opinion, but then a lot of people think, “No, he was on the ball. He was spot on because it was all physiology, and he had the drives down to a T.” But I think the key is, obviously, interpreting that that’s also his personal interpretation of what he was seeing when he was growing up in the field, so to speak. And when you say this or that but not matter this, you can deduce what is and isn’t a myth. Artistic speech, I believe, is the way we seek to portray, convey and display all those variabilities that are happening in our individual realities, which can describe the variabilities of reality and give us access to healing our both psychological, physiological and social self and wounds. This is obviously what we’re all working on right now. I think, in a lot of ways, we were overheated as a culture. We were not working well or sustainably with our health system.
Now, we’re at a point where we have to adapt back into a sustainable place, and this pandemic is giving us that opportunity to disassociate from how we were before, reassociate with ourselves and others and then associate with the myths correctively. I believe myth is kind of our universal built-in reset system. It’s our universal built-in communication and survival system. Therefore, in a lot of ways, it’s intuitively based. A good example would be — had a client one time that sat back and literally talked about a dream they had where they remember they were on a path, but they couldn’t find the path that they needed to be on; they were on the wrong path. And so we said, literally, “Hey, let’s write this down. Let’s draw this out. Let’s see where you can take this in that next dream you’re going to have.” So we kind of convinced ourselves in that session that there was going to be another dream, and they bought it, obviously. And then literally the next week, they came in and said, “You’re not gonna believe what happened. I had a machete out in the dream and I was slicing up all the weeds, and then this path showed up and it took me to where I needed to be.” I think this is a way to look at that individual reality, all those variabilities. This person was not eating healthy at the time, was not speaking healthy with themselves and was not relating healthily with others. That little tweak opened them up just enough that it got their psychology to shift, their physiology to shift, and then socially, things changed. They became a much more congruent being and they found themselves on that path, after that time, more often than not. Yeah, they still had struggles — we all do — but I think it heals the wounds to do it this way as opposed to saying, “Oh, that’s nothing, those dreams don’t mean anything.”
An easy way to kind of use what we just talked about there is think about the “ABCD’s of Developing Mythologies,” both personal and collective. You can assign kind of a metaphor, build a metaphor, create a metaphor and develop a metaphor. What’s a metaphor? It’s basically just figurative speech, and it’s using literal speech to convey that so that we can kind of pitch out, disassociate from how we were being before so that we can get into a lane of congruence with ourselves. A metaphor can assign responsibility or deflect it. Be mindful of that, obviously. And as you’re building them, they can build autonomy or oppress autonomy. You gotta know yourself and your client — obviously, it’s on an individual basis — but for those of us that are looking to develop our sense of self and our sense of autonomy and responsibility, I think just looking at the metaphor can make a shift. I’ll use an example of my own. I had a metaphor show up of a ruler in a few of my dreams. That ruler was mangled up. It was not really usable. It was kind of a mess, and so I literally had to interpret that and go, “Well, why is this not working?” Well, I was going through some different things at that time. It didn’t feel competent.
Then I started to develop my sense of self within that metaphor a little bit more, and it literally became a really nice kind of extended tape measure. As the tape measure showed up in the dreams, I noticed, “Look at this. I feel more in control. I feel more in my internal locus of control. My depression started to lift, and here we go.” I felt less oppressed, but if I stayed with kind of the messier metaphor and framed it that way only, I probably wouldn’t have had the progress that I needed, if that makes sense. Create metaphors. You can always create them, just like I did there. Obviously, talking to myself differently can help me open up, or it can help me stifle myself if I stayed with the old one. “Yeah, I’m going to just repeat and revolve.” And I think I have to ask myself, “Am I responsible for upgrading this to a tape measure, or am I not? Am I just at the mercy of the universe, or could I harness a better way of looking at myself through the metaphorical lens?” Then develop it, make sure it’s adaptive. Obviously, with a tape measure, there’s a little more functionality to it. It’s more dexterous, so you can use that in a different way, whereas a small ruler — it’s rigid. It’s stagnant. It stays the same. In other words, we must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us, and I think that’s what we’re all being forced to do now — view society differently, view our lives differently and go where we need to go.
How to evolve myth within our conversations. I think you can see it in how people speak. Everybody has patterns, right? Some people use kind of that dramatic all-caps or italics all the time. I’ve been overusing italics here to hit my point home, but that affects myth communications. That affects how you receive that. I think one of the best ways to look at myth, just generally, is it’s always embedded in our thoughts and the things we say or communicate, and it’s just a theory at that time. It’s often presented as something like an automatic thought or belief, but we often frame them as facts ‘cause that’s what I’m following right now. That’s where I’m going. What we can all do — since we all have myths in our mind dictating our thoughts, beliefs and actions — is shake it up a little bit. Change things up. See if we can’t unlock some new information so that we can — think Etch-a-Sketch — draw a new picture for ourselves to kind of pitch into. CBT and DBT shake the frame up and down and all around, right? They make us look at our automatic thoughts, become more mindful, then they help us reframe reality. But as we all know, intuitively, at the very least, myths affect the way we’re seeing and painting the reality of situations, ourselves and the categories of people around us. Therefore, myths affect the way we communicate within ourselves and then to and around others. The way we frame things depends on what myth we’re operating off of. In a lot of ways, myth is that evolving story in every conversation since the beginning of time — beginning of conversations, I should say. So, the adult phone game never ends. We can’t just hang up on ourselves or ourself — we have to answer those calls.
We have to ask ourselves what it is we’re being called to do. We use those phrases in a lot of spirituality areas, right? And we have to be better interpreters of the myth messages that are being sent our way every day, every night in our individual and collective conversations. One of the best ways I’ve found is to break through that wall that we build in our collective voice. A lot of people use collective voice to kind of speak for themselves in a group, and then you kind of pause and go, “Hang on. Are you speaking for yourself? For others? For your group? Who are you talking about there?” If you can kind of disintegrate that a little bit and help yourself or the client understand, “Who are you talking about? Are you talking for yourself, and where do you want to go with this?” It helps people be more mindful and introspective in real time, and then it affects that matter in our minds that’s moving around all the time. I think we have to shake things up every so often, think up, down and all around so we can paint corrective pictures for/of/to and amongst ourselves. What are we usually doing, right? A lot of people are perpetuating family patterns, their own history, the self-fulfilling prophecy that I talked about earlier. What we have to do, I think, is focus on mythological evolution. Conveniently, it spells “ME.” We have to focus more on our introspection capabilities and we have to know that the different categories that play into that is both our psychology, philosophy, physiology and linguistics — so, our communication. Conveniently, PPPL evolutions.
How can you actually evolve these within our conversations? I think I’ll start with the Mel Brooks quote there at the bottom. “As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re going to be dizzy and we’re going to make mistakes.” That’s just a pattern that we’ve always had, we’re always going to have. With that, I think we can remember that we can be kind of two categories of ways. We can be incorrective or corrective, to varying degrees. No such thing as perfect, right? But we can keep evolving into a more corrective state — more congruent, if you will. And that all depends on the circumstances, the tones, the tenses, frequencies, intensities, heart rates, embedded philosophy. Have I said enough yet there? Of course not, right? It’s everything. It’s a system. Basically, how they and we are being presented with and receiving or not receiving myths — that affects everything. This includes what we aren’t being presented with and what we are not willing to receive or myth. Think about the things you’re not willing to look at, or a lot of people say over the last few years, “Don’t look away,” right? We’re telling ourselves we have to become more clear in how we myth. Ask yourself, “Am I convoluted enough yet?” I know I’ve convoluted this pretty much throughout this, but then I’ve also cleared up certain points. What we’re doing is teasing out the truth, so to speak, or asking ourselves these questions to differentiate what’s really going on. What I’ve found this does is gives us a better gauge — kind of upgrades our myth radar — and it recalibrates us to where we need to be going now.
Why do we have to do this? Well, myths dictate how we act in the world, the action that we put into action, how we’re presenting ourselves, the facts of the matter to others — in case you didn’t notice, act is in fact — as well as how we are interpreting the facts and actions others are presenting to us. Bottom line, just kind of figuratively speaking, myth is complicated, simple, convoluted, muddy and clear, but it’s always dependent on the gravity and whole host of other variables in that particular situation. It all depends on how well we are communicating and interpreting the myths within and around us. I like to ask myself, “Am I seeing this accurately? Is this person interpreting accurately?” Accurately, obviously, is subjective — but also, you can be objective. Using those two frames of mind at once is really helpful with this. The way my wife and I see it is the more we prioritize myth evolutions, the better we can talk about, interpret within and then communicate with rather than without each other’s myths in our minds. We’ve even found the more conscious we are about the myths we tell ourselves — the way we should or should not be — the more corrective we can be. Obviously then, the more conscious we can be together. And our fights evolve, our conversations evolve. Our communication is better that way. I believe this opens up our mind to development in real time.
The key to a lot of this is how healthy we’re being both to ourselves and to others. It’s all about the ego systems and the heart ratings. Think about the ego system that we’ve been dealing with the last few years, right? The need to transcend past unhealthy narcissism and get to a healthier narcissistic state. For those of you that have looked into this, I know you probably agree. There are two categories of narcissism. There’s an unhealthy amount that we can have, or healthy amount. I say lean toward the healthy amount and see what happens because the practice of all of this art lies in the heart. If your heart is false, the physician within you will be false. Think about that variability of heart rate we get around unhealthy narcissism. Think about that healthy homeostasis or equilibrium we feel when we’re around a healthy person that’s secure and congruent with their own self. Think about how this plays out for yourself and others.
Just to slow this down a little bit more now, think about how you can accommodate or not accommodate. Ask yourself if you’re willing to cultivate or not cultivate new, personal myths. What are the stories or the story track that you are on? What are the stories you’ve been told? And then how can you evolve into a more congruent zone of being? This is what people are asking themselves all the time. Though I’ve found — and I know a lot of you hopefully see what I’m saying here — dogmatic myth mind doesn’t allow for this, right? It’s that rigidity that doesn’t allow for change or evolution. It says it must be this way and, therefore, it doesn’t let us kind of go where we need to go personally and collectively. So, what does CBT do? It takes the automatic thought, takes the belief, pitches us past that so that we can get unlocked and get a more healthy, reframed automatic thought or belief, both about ourselves and a situation. Same stuff goes here, but we have to accommodate and assimilate away from those incorrect ways and keep propelling ourselves forward. Both in terms and words, doing so creates — we believe — more contemplation, more introspection opportunities. It kinda helps you make sure you’re not projecting that stuff onto others or onto yourself. And it gets you into a state of flow that then gets you out of those habitual boxes of thinking and into an evolution opportunity. Creates new frames of mind. This is why we love artists, right? They give us a new frame to work with, so then we can pitch ourselves past who we’ve been before. They show people the figures and outlines of our thinking and our perceptions in real time so we can actually work together.
I used this phrase once with a client, so it just stuck with me. I wanted to throw it in. They kept saying “actually, actually, actually” a lot, and we asked ourselves in session, “Why are you saying that? And why am I mirroring that back?” Mapped out the word and looked at what it actually is. They wanted an ally, they needed more allies, but their actions weren’t helping them cultivate that. They were finding themselves being too rigid, so what we literally did was slow down, use a little wordplay, and they found themselves coming into sessions in the future going, “I am literally finding myself doing my old way thing a little bit,” and then leaning into what we talked about. And they found more allies. They didn’t assume people were against them; they started to assume people could work with them. And that strategy helped them create a new mindset. New myths enhance our understanding of situations, mindsets, and they affect the way we see and experience the world. New myths orient us to reality. Myth is not the opposite of true, it’s just something we’re always dealing in. And more importantly, the meta reality within what I call our mind’s processing plant. Even things like left, right, up, down versus cardinal directions in communication affects how we myth and cultivate myths together. To adjust and adapt in life is to simply keep going with it — meaning myth — and meaning the flow that allows us to evolve. Ensures we don’t just stay stuck and stagnant, kind of in the muddy waters, and we unlock so that we can kind of flush out and figure out where we need to go.
Slapped a lot onto this one, so let me break it down a little bit further. Why should we accommodate mythological evolution? Well, as we’ve kind of already defined, an evolution of our expressions based on circumstance, understanding, mood and reception of mind is mythological evolution. I could tell myself anything about myself for a period of time, but that’s not evolving if I don’t enhance it, I don’t pitch it past where it’s been before. Everything you say and do is held up next to you and always affects the metaphor you’re using or use. So, as we talked about before, see how you can advance it, see how you can take it just a step further. Upgrade the system, so to speak. This helps, I believe, in projection reduction if you maneuver well enough. You’ll be able to reduce those inappropriate projections, both with your clients and yourself. I found that idea of who we are, obviously, plays into how we act with people. If we play with the idea of who we are and how we act in a way that’s more playful as opposed to serious, or “it must be this way,” it usually takes the projection down, creates evolution opportunities, and then our kind of receiving mind and then our projecting mind to change, at least just a little bit. The mood, emotion, minds involved all dictate the subtle differences we need the mind to maneuver and migrate to. The receiver has to be able to channel and send that information clearly, right? You do have to be mindful of your non-verbals.
As I’ve been going on this tangent, I’ve noticed my non-verbal sort of slowed down at certain points and sped up other times. My encouragement is always be mindful of how you’re coming across, how you’re also acting out your physiology because messages can get lost when we do not accommodate that understanding of how we’re being — the myths that we’re conveying and the evolution within our ongoing thought streams. In other words, kind of our streams of consciousness. One of the best ways, if you find yourself tripping or not quite staying in the zone, stay calm, reset. And then if someone else is getting upset, try to connect with that metaphorical mind when you’re able. I saw a lot of people in America, especially over the last few years, kind of manically metaphoric. They’re throwing out what’s going on in their mind in very rapid ways, and obviously, that created all these waves in different people in groups. What we can do now, obviously, is kind of stabilize the water with a more monotone way of speaking, but then tick into kind of that metaphorical way of speaking, which tends to evolve our consciousness.
Again, it takes us from the literal to the metaphorical. Our body unlocks, our nervous system opens up, but we do have to be careful not to be too lofty, too metaphorical or too literal in descriptions and how we’re receiving stuff. One way to look at it would be to stay open-minded and allow for accommodation of evolution, then kind of trust that that assimilation will occur in yourself and others. Great timing now, obviously, would be to check in with your batteries. As I’m talking in this meta way, sometimes it can be draining; for me, it’s energizing. It depends on you and your system, but just notice how charged or kind of drained you’re feeling. How capable am I right now to go meta and be metaphorical with somebody? Notice how people tend to kind of delay or duck out of conversation, depending on their mind map and their energy level. Are they not able to follow this? Yeah, they’ll tend to let go and go a different way. Are they not up for it? Are they running properly? I found even some clients that were really dehydrated found themselves not able to go metaphorical yet. We needed to literally, as their dream showed them, make sure we were drinking water on a regular basis — became the No. 1 goal in the treatment plan — and then things started to change. One good example would be, I literally had a client that had dreams of being in a desert, not able to get to water yet, but they knew they had to go a certain way. We literally said, “Alright, here’s your homework. Let’s drink more water on a daily basis, session basis,” and we saw evolution in the way they conceptualize things just by having better hydration. Consider any and all focus levels: emotional, perceptual, physiological, intuitional and your institutional organizational methods of focus.
Obviously, everybody comes from different places. That’s why I have to use these categories to cover all my bases. Direct the direction of the literal and metaphorical conversation patterns. Obviously as therapists, we’re mostly the ones working with the session and making sure it’s evolving somewhere, but they’re working with their intuition as the client. I think one of the best ways to do that is make sure you’re working with them on deducing, “How literal are you being there? How metaphorical are you being?” That makes people more mindful of their patterns. I’ve noticed, like, let’s use that same example — that person was not knowing that their dream was telling them to literally drink water. They just thought it was a metaphor and kind of just brought it up cause I asked. But then when we took it literally, they made the changes and then their metaphors changed. They found themselves in a more lush environment or setting. Absolutely fascinating. Make sure it stays on a similar enough course and that it solidifies. A lot of times, you can start a session with a certain metaphor and it evolves to a certain point, but you have to make sure by the end of session that, “Did we get it? Did we solidify? Did we get that conclusion?” I think that helps people really go, “Alright, now I know where to go,” as opposed to, “Oh, I’m not quite there yet,” or, “I’m in that intermediate zone,” that isn’t giving me direction.
My wife is the linguist, so she’s better at this than I am, but I’ll still hit it anyway. Know that every conversation has certain rules. So, as we’re talking right now, you all are abiding by the cooperative principle or the politeness theory. Nobody’s interrupting me or cutting me off because there’s certain rules being abided by right now. This happens in every conversation, so be mindful of it, especially when we’re metaphoric. Otherwise, it can’t be heard and followed — a little cheesy there. Well enough — say enough, but not too much. No line — say only what’s relevant. Don’t be too obscure, abstract or ambiguous, but know that you can violate all of this depending on the circumstance and where that client’s at. As you know, when we’re higher functioning, we can go more meta. We can kind of do more things with our sense of self and artistic self.
So I say violate the norms, be sarcastic, you know, joke when you want to play with things — if we’re not in that survival state too rigidly — so that we can go even further and take things where we need to go next. See your emotions as an electrical process — energy in motion, as Dr. Alan Watkins calls it — because emotions play off each other. as we know. They’re always exchanging, so nervous systems feed off each other. I even noticed one client was bringing up their nightmares. I was getting activated by kind of the swamp metaphor that they were using. We had to pause and say, “It’s interesting. This is what’s coming up in me. What’s coming up in you?” And we could understand how we could maintain separation, but at the same time, use information to see how these influences were happening in real time. And know that when we’re doing metaphors, we’re mapping our mind out.
Some people, they’ll also use metaphors to mask their mind. One of the key, I think, best researchers lately has been Dr. Schnarch. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s got some great workouts on mind mapping, mind masking. And what he’s found is we mind mask when we feel threatened, any sort of disgust or uncertainty — that’s the looking away or not coming out and about and communicating with people. We mind map others’ minds and our own, and they map ours according to the safety level that’s happening around us or just the safety that we’re sensing. We provide our own maps and map more when we feel open and safe enough, and that’s perfect. That’s why I’m saying be more artistic, and that gives us kind of a more playful way of being. We’re working with each other instead of against each other on a walk as opposed to kind of just banging into each other in unhelpful ways.
Just to hit this home a little bit better, refine your metaphor palette to match your mode and mood right now. Think about how different things happen because we weren’t mindful of our mood. What’s our mood? That’s the mode we’re in. And so resetting and just working with, “Okay. That’s where we are now. That’s the starting point. Now let’s evolve there.” As opposed to saying, “This metaphor is always going to dictate how we are.” As we get more artistic, we can be more playful. We can put more details in, and we can go with Carl’s quote here. “The greatest, most important problems of life are all fundamentally insoluble. They can never be solved but only outgrown.”
Myth is all about the seasoning and setting. Evolve that artistic speak more easily, kind of go with whatever stream of consciousness is coming up. By evolving your and their individual and collective mind settings, you can see where we were, where we weren’t, where we’re going now. As I said with that one client, they were in the desert, very little vegetation. So we literally said, “Alright, next time — do you have any plants at home? Bring the plants in next time.” They brought the plant in and they became kind of one with more vegetation. I think that specific kind of activation of myth, of healthy vegetation, brought up some of their own collective consciousness and individual consciousness to a level where we could be more artistic. It wasn’t as desperate anymore because again, desert — more desperation for resources, for water, for life. And then once we got into other things, it became more jungle-like, more fun, more playful.
In a lot of ways, you can just think of the mind as that satellite dish. Our settings have definitions and functions. They show us kind of our landscape mindscape, which are signals. They’re intuitions and channels being picked up by our mind’s maps. Create those metaphor menus of our mind and then play with it. Usually, it’s most available when we’re using analogies and metaphors, so notice those habits — those automatic things that we plate or paint through our instinctual mindset in itself. Everything can be customizable, so just see what comes up, what comes out, and then tune and retune yourself to whatever tune is being played through your meta mind. Because when we do this — and I’ve almost always found it, at least, when you get into that art therapy mode — people tend to become more secure. Where we create more nuanced, fulfilling conversation, it’s more conscious. And therefore, we are working with our consciousness as opposed to against it. When we’re in a dream state, we’re more meditative, we’re more zen, and so we can trust what our organs are doing. We can trust what our body needs, and that is telling us what we need — through pain, through comfort, through all of that.
Joseph, I think, captured this really well when he said, “This thing up here, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ. It’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.” I, just interpreting that, would say both our individual body and then collective body. As we all have learned, we’re all connected. There’s ripple effects everywhere. The more we take care of this body, ours, the better we can take care of each other. We think we’re running the show and that we’re in control, but as we’ve learned, we are at the mercy of the nuance we add within our myths, lives, thoughts, beliefs and environments. Just the thought I’ve been having lately.
I think we do have to modernize our metaphors. That’s why I’m bringing this up in kind of a generalized, rapid way, but I think this is a starting point. We have an opportunity in 2021 to kind of refine where we’re going next. I think this myth evolution we’re in the middle of has been happening for hundreds of thousands of years. If we don’t refine, think of where we will be years from now. But if we do, think of where we can be now and the years from now. Just to use that tape measure metaphor, if we stay with the kind of crappy metaphor and don’t upgrade. We’re going to stick to the old ways. But if we get more technical, strategic and evolve, it’s going to have a cool effect on our own personal evolutions with ourselves and our clients. If we don’t prioritize evolution with our myths and metaphors, they’ll continue to revolve our mindsets and our interactions. And most of us will just call it fate. It’s not though, in my belief, at least. However, it will be seen as such and such’s fault, not ours, because a lot of people love deflecting responsibility. Had to toss that out.
Just to kind of wrap up before I take questions. My wife and I recently kind of started a little podcast about all of this; it’s available on all major streaming platforms. We’re calling it “The Catch Up.” Basically, just taking psychology and mythology and linguistics, combining them so we can see if we can’t flesh out some of this nuance a little further and evolve to where we need to be together. Also have some books available. If you want to go onto our website, or our Gumroad page, that’s all there. And the best way to find us is on these different sites, so Twitter, our website, and then feel free to email us for a free consult. Otherwise, that’s that.
Thank you for watching this video. We hope you enjoyed the presentation.
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