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The Doing Mode of Mind

by | Sep 27, 2016 | Mindfulness | 0 comments

To solve the “problem” of fertility challenges, the mind usually works in certain predictable ways.
 
It relies on a programmed mental routine to help us get things done – achieve goals, solve problems, change things to be more like we want them to be.
 
This is the “doing” mode of mind.
 
It has 7 key features:
 
1. It often comes on line automatically.
2. It uses thoughts and ideas, holding them in mind as you work.
3. It dwells in the past and future to help get where you want to be.
4. It keeps in mind what to avoid – where you don’t want to end up.
5. It needs things to be different, forever focusing on the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
6. It takes thoughts, ideas as real.
7. Left to itself, it continues to focus on the goal until the task is complete, or until you are too tired and depleted to continue.
 
To work effectively, at each point the doing mode has to hold in mind, and then compare, three ideas:
 
1. where you are at each moment (the current state)
2. where you want to be (your destination, goal or desired outcome)
3. where you don’t want to be (the outcome you want to avoid)
 
By holding and comparing these three ideas the mind can see how well the current state of affairs matches up with the goal you want to achieve and the outcomes you want to avoid and “steer” the mind and body in the right direction.
 
We are often not conscious of all these “doing” processes. Many of them are carried out automatically, in the background of awareness.
 
By using the “doing” strategy the human mind can achieve some remarkable goals – from developing assisted reproduction to putting a man on the moon.
 
If we want to achieve goals by making changes in the world around us – like combining egg with sperm in a petri dish – the doing mode of mind is brilliantly effective.
 
So it makes sense that the mind turns to this same basic strategy when we want to achieve goals in our inner world.
 
It is here that things go wrong while trying to conceive.
 
When the goal is internal, and we apply doing mode, we must hold in mind and compare the current state “I’m not pregnant”; the goal or desired outcome “I wish I were pregnant”; and the outcome you want to avoid “I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.”
 
Try saying these sentences to yourself two or three times:
 
“I’m not pregnant.”
“I wish I were pregnant.”
“I don’t want to be alone for the rest of my life.”
 
What was your experience? You probably felt worse. Most people do.
 
The gap between where you are now and where you want to be just got bigger. It is not just the ideas held in mind that cause problems; it is comparing them.
 
We believe we will prevent the outcome we want to avoid by employing doing mode. In the case of trying to conceive, the mind usually cannot let go – it will feel like we need to get rid of the undesirable outcome (at all costs).
 
This is where doing mode becomes “driven-doing” mode.
 
Driven-doing is the mode of mind where we feel we just cannot let go of trying to get what we want or get rid of what we don’t want.
 
Worry is just one form of driven-doing. The mind is redoubling its efforts to apply the power of the doing mode to a problem to which it is tragically unsuited. Worry has serious effects on fertile health.
 
So what can we do instead?
 
1. Learn to recognize worry and driven-doing as they arise in our moment-to-moment experience and to see them for what they are.
 
2. Cultivate an alternative mode of mind that allows us to respond more skillfully to sadness, loss, fear and other emotions and unwanted inner experiences.
 
Being is an alternative mode of mind that is a powerful antidote to worry while trying to conceive and so is mindfulness.
All my very best, always,
Buffy

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