Running Your Own Brain

I'd like you to try some very simple experiments, to teach you a little bit about how you can learn to run your own brain. You will need this experience to understand the rest of this book, so I recommend that you actually do the following brief experiments.

Think of a past experience that was very pleasant—perhaps one that you haven't thought about in a long time. Pause for a moment to go back to that memory, and be sure that you see what you saw at the time that pleasant event happened. You can close your eyes if that makes it easier to do. ...

As you look at that pleasant memory, I want you to change the brightness of the image, and notice how your feelings change in response. First make it brighter and brighter. . . . Now make it dimmer and dimmer, until you can barely see it. ... Now make it brighter again.

How does that change the way you feel? There are always exceptions, but for most of you, when you make the picture lighter, your feelings will become stronger. Increasing brightness usually increases the intensity of feelings, and decreasing brightness usually decreases the intensity of feelings. How many of you ever thought about the possibility of intentionally varying the brightness of an internal image in order to feel different? Most of you just let your brain randomly show you any picture it wants, and you feel good or bad in response.

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