Words by Frou Williams.
For anyone suffering from Serial podcast withdrawal, I’d recommend downloading and giving Invisibilia - which in Latin translates to all the invisible things - a whirl!
It’s about the invisible forces that control human behaviour - ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions.
I listened to the first podcast on the train to work this morning. ‘The secret history of thoughts’.
Which asks the question,”Are my thoughts related to my inner wishes, do they reveal who I really am?”
The narrative then goes on explore three very different psychological theories on thought.The first theory takes on a traditional rational which stems from Freud. The belief system being that all our thoughts have meaning and are intimately related to who you are and where you come from.
The second school of thought refers to a modern movement which really became known as a form of therapy during the 80s. Aaron Beck who is regarded as the father of cognitive therapy, started to ask his patients to identify and evaluate their thoughts by asking, “How do you know that those thoughts are true? Do they bare any resemblance to reality?”
From there it lead him to believe that maybe people shouldn’t regard their thoughts so importantly and termed these cognitions as ‘automatic negative thoughts’.He encouraged people not to trust the thought, challenge and test them out to see if they are true. Cognitive behavioural therapy does not believe the thoughts are indicative of anything deep about you.
Lastly, the third wave therapy hones in on mindfulness therapy. Speaking to clinical psychologist Miranda Morris who believes that dark thoughts often have nothing to do with us and no meaning at all. Mindfulness therapy teaches patients how to ignore and change your relationship with these thoughts, a stripped down form of meditation.
‘Painful thoughts’ - the ones we all tell, scold, yell and scream at ourselves on a daily, if not hourly basis. The ones that quietly tell you the path between here and there is insurmountable and that you are weak and small and not good enough. Yep, those ones.
Most of us walk around with our painful thoughts right in front of our eyes every day. It’s our primary focus of our attention. When you practise meditation you learn to control where to place those thoughts when they come into your mind as if they are just floating by without your need to engage or indulge.
This is essentially a new way of thinking about thoughts which in a way is an old way of thinking about thoughts. You don’t engage the bad ones, they don’t matter that much, just find the thoughts that are helpful, that help you to live the life that you want to live, keep those thoughts in front of you and as for the rest? Just let them float away. They’re not you, there are no good reason to focus on them.
Whatever your beliefs on any or all of the theories outlined above, this podcast is certainly well worth a listen.
Let me know what you think.