If I told you that the immaterial realm of your mind was every bit as real as this material reality you touch, taste, hear, see and smell through your five senses, would you:
- Hear me out
- Run screaming from the room, convinced that Dr. Matt, PhD has finally lost his marbles for good?
I won’t bore you with the details of why. There’s an on-going Substack project where I’m sketching in those gaps, piece by 2500-word piece.
At the heart of it all I remain a philosopher and a scientist. I’m fascinated by the heart and the spirit but I need reasons to justify the beliefs.
It happens that what counts as a reason is far broader than the consensus hallucination gripping the public at large.
Here’s but one example.
You ever notice how people with bad luck always seem to be the exact type of personality you’d expect to have bad luck?
Think about the somebodies you know who tick that box and bet you’ll find:
- Misanthropes that “hate people but love humanity”
- Eeyores who never see the upside in anything
- Posts on reddit’s “childfree” section
- People that drain all the energy out of the room talking about their never-ending stream of problems
These are the folks convinced that the world is out to get them. “Nothing ever goes my way,” they tell you. Over and over again.
They get what they ask for.
Almost like casting a magic spell.
Chance and causality are real. Some happenings really are accidents beyond anyone’s control. But I suspect that we each make a contribution to the circumstances of our fate with the intentions we hold in our minds.
That starts with attention, which is not only what you see but how you see it.
Iain McGilchrist, who’s written a couple of door-stoppers about the “split brain” theory, argues that the left side of your brain works like a microscope, zeroing in on the fine details, whereas your right side is like a telescope looking for the Big Picture.
We’re wired to zoom in with laser-focus, in other words, but that’s only half of what we do with our minds. A good 50% of your mental horsepower is designed to zoom out and pay attention to the whole shape of things.
If you happen to be a materialist firmly committed to the evolutionary origins of life, you might ask yourself why natural selection would have preferred a brain function that seems custom-built to experience magic, mind, and supernatural forces in the world, if there were no survival value in that…
I got “woo” on you today and I don’t apologize for that. That’s where my head is now and I hope you’re coming for the ride.
Even if you don’t buy the immaterial part, the different brain functions and mental modes of awareness going on in you are all too real. As are the influences of your mental state over your outer life.
If you’re wondering why this is relevant, yes, I do practice and use these two-brained skills of attention in my own daily life, including workout prep and focus while training or doing any work that requires concentration. When I say that the mental game is everything, I mean it.
To learn more about how you can start to use attention and intention for yourself, click here.