Reading Now / by Anne Kreamer


In Mindsight:  The New Science Of Personal Transformation, Dr. Daniel Siegel, combines his knowledge of clinical psychology, brain science and mindfulness with original thinking to develop a new concept:  mindsight.  So what is mindsight?  It's learning to change habits of mind to become more flexible, adaptive, coherent, energized and stable.  Here are a few excerpts.

"How we focus our attention shapes the structure of the brain."

"The brain makes what I call a 'me-map' that gives us insight into ourselves, and a 'you-map' for insight into others.  We also seem to create 'we-maps,' representations of our relationships."

"When we are in emotional balance, we feel alive and at ease.  Our feelings are aroused enough for life to have meaning and vitality, but not so aroused that we feel overwhelmed or out of control.  Lacking balance, we move toward either excessive arousal, a state of chaos, or too little arousal, a state of rigidity or depression.  Either extreme drains us of vitality."

"At the core of interpersonal neurobiology is our proposal that mindsight permits us to direct the flow of energy and information toward integration.  And seen to be at the heart of well-being."

"Picture your mind as a wheel of awareness.  Imagine a bicycle wheel where there is an outer rim and spokes that connect that rim to an inner hub.  In this mind's wheel of awareness, anything that can come into our awareness is one of the infinite points on the rim.  One sector of the rim might include what we become aware of through our five sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and sight, those senses that bring the outside world into our mind.  Another sector of the rim is our inward sense of the body, the sensations in our limbs and our facial muscles, the feelings in the organs of our torso:  our lungs, our heart, our intestines.  All of the body brings it wisdom up into our mind, and this bodily sense, this sixth sense, if you will, is another of the elements to which we can bring our awareness.  Other points on the rim are what the mind creates directly, such as thoughts and feelings, memories and perceptions, hopes and dreams.  This segment of the rim of our mind is also available to our awareness.  And this capacity to see the mind itself -- our own mind as well as the minds of others -- is what we might call our seventh sense.  As we come to sense our connections with others, we perceive our relationships with the larger world, which perhaps constitutes yet another capacity, an eighth relational sense.  Now notice that we have a choice about where we send our attention.  We can choose which point on the rim to visit.  We may choose to pay attention to one of the five senses, or perhaps the feeling in our belly, and send a spoke there.  Or we may choose to pay attention to a memory, and send a spoke to that area of the rim where input from or seventh sense is located.  All of these spokes emanate from the depth of our mind, which is the hub of the wheel of awareness."