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Your Brain Works Like a Presidential Cabinet

Imagine the human mind as a bustling political arena, similar to a presidential cabinet meeting.

Consider each “voice” as a distinct member of this cabinet, with its unique personality and perspective, contributing to the collective discourse within the head of state, or, in this case, your mind.

These members continually engage in spirited debates, each fiercely advocating their perspectives on various matters.

The president, symbolizing the conscious mind, observes and absorbs these myriad perspectives, only to make a decision at the end, a decision that the cabinet members, despite their earlier arguments, eventually rally behind.

This interaction models how ideal cognitive processes operate, with different elements presenting diverse thoughts and ideas, ultimately leading to a cohesive conclusion.

Each member of this cognitive cabinet holds a particular role.

‘Biology’ represents the physical needs and impulses; ‘Historian’ recounts experiences and knowledge gathered over time; ‘Statistician’ calculates probabilities and future outcomes based on past data. All of them, along with ‘Charity’, ‘Hope’, and ‘Reality’, each playing their part, collaborate to produce the thought process.

What’s crucial to note, however, is that while these ‘voices’ contribute to the discussion, they are not the ‘President.’

The President is the one in control, the ‘I’ in ‘I think’. Fear and anxiety, represented by outspoken cabinet members, are allowed a voice but should never be given the presidential seat.

Understanding this separation makes governing these voices easier.

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One might also encounter what can be seen as lobbyists in this political scenario of the mind. We know, through revelation to our prophets, that many of these influencers are what President Nelson refers to as “the Adversary and his minions”. 

They don’t inherently belong to the cognitive processes but can influence them subtly, amplifying certain voices. Recognizing and discerning these external factors, often referred to as “intrusive thoughts,” is crucial in maintaining control over your cognitive processes.

Each cognitive process might be allowed to speak, but remember, only one entity gets to call the shots, and that’s the President – the conscious ‘I’.

Continuing with our metaphor, imagine that the mind’s cabinet can sometimes get out of hand, with certain members becoming overly loud or persistent.

However, you, as the President, are allowed to maintain control, instructing members to ‘sit down’ when they become too demanding. While you are open to listening to their input, it’s on your terms and at your pace.

For instance, you might allow ‘Fear’ to submit its report, which could flag some real concerns, such as reckless behavior. This input, although unsettling, might be necessary for fostering safer habits. 

The key here is understanding that these cognitive processes, like ‘Biology,’ are not your identity. Think of them as responsibilities you must steward, just as you might handle a friend, a child, or a neighbor.

These entities may cooperate or conflict with you at different times, but ultimately, you are the one calling the shots. 

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Consider another cognitive process, the ‘Construction Worker,’ or ‘Engineer.’ This character’s role is to automate processes, essentially creating mental habits. Sometimes, this entity can overstep, constructing mental pathways when you were too young to provide proper guidance.

As a result, you might find yourself dealing with cognitive structures that are unwanted, like a building you didn’t design. Recognizing this can help you understand why different people, despite similar experiences, develop dissimilar cognitive structures.

The ‘Engineer’s’ constructs can be influenced by ‘Historian’s’ reports and can result in different responses to the same stimuli, such as how two individuals with difficult parents may react oppositely – one mimicking the parent, the other becoming their antithesis. 

Your task is to listen to these cognitive processes but to place them outside your core identity or ‘soul.’ You should manage these voices, not be overrun by them.

So, if ‘Anxiety’ starts causing a ruckus, maintain control. Inquire if it has a relevant message, but don’t allow it to wreak havoc on the cabinet meeting. 

Consider how the Holy Ghost, or your intuition, communicates.

Does it create chaos, or does it calmly express concerns like a respected cabinet member? “Mr. President, we have an issue.” 

To practice this, picture yourself entering a familiar setting like your family home where there are people you have had mixed experiences with. Which of the voices in your mind speaks up first?

Maybe ‘Hope’ suggests making it a good experience.

Then ‘Fear’ intervenes with doubts and anxieties.

As the President, it’s your responsibility to address these voices and maintain a balanced discussion, always considering whether their messages are crucial or not.

More practice: Imagine yourself as the president again, navigating your internal committee. When ‘Fear’ rises, appearing vague and frantic, you confront it and ask for concrete information to justify its concern. If it continues to speak without substance, you may instruct it to ‘be quiet’ and ask another member, say ‘Care,’ to reach out.

Sometimes, perhaps, a committee member (Fear), after being prompted by the intrusive demon lobbyist, may accuse you of unworthiness, challenging your confidence.

As the president, you could respond with self-doubt or introduce another member to the table, someone who could assess your worthiness accurately.

Let’s call this member ‘The Apprentice’—someone close to the Divine, the part of your thought process that can think very much like the way God thinks and capable of guiding you towards the truth about your worthiness.

When you’re first learning to work through this process, you may fear an inaccuracy to your discernment.  Perhaps you want to avoid a scenario where you question whether you are silencing the Holy Ghost or preventing Divine guidance.

For reassurance, you may turn to religious texts or teachings, like general conference talks, searching for answers.

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A principle you would come across is that the Savior, while aware of our sins and struggles, does not abandon us but brings a heart full of compassion instead. This counters the idea that any wrong turn leads to divine abandonment—a misunderstanding often propagated.

Revisiting the concept of ‘sin,’ remember that it involves conscious decision-making. Involuntary biochemical reactions in your brain should not classify as sins, especially if they’re not wanted or invited. You, as the president, wouldn’t agenda such reactions.

Consequently, the idea that you should have your body under control at all times becomes unreasonable.

Despite these challenges, you’ve shown considerable self-control, not giving in to anger or inappropriate behaviors. Your ‘sins,’ if any, are minor compared to those of others. Yet, be cautious not to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, as that can lead to its own set of problems.

When the ‘Apprentice’ communicates with God about your worthiness, remember that even if you are a sinner, you’re met with compassion. If you’re not a sinner, the message is a reminder not to grow arrogant.

The doctrine suggests that the Savior’s offer of redemption extends to accidental mistakes, poor decisions, and trials of every kind. If you find peace in accepting your weaknesses and mistakes, then you’re on the right path.

However, be aware of projecting fear into the future. The future is yet unwritten and holds as many possibilities for positive outcomes as negative ones. Your job as the president is not to fear the unknown, but to navigate it with wisdom and courage.

In review, it’s crucial to remember that you are not the council. Fear, Historian, Statistician, Lobbyist, or Anxiety are not you. They’re cognitive processes, ”voices,” within your mind. This understanding allows for the separation of thoughts from the self, offering the freedom to challenge, question, and change these voices. 

Sometimes, Fear might need to be silenced, or Anxiety might need to be questioned. At times, you might need to be firm, to take control of the conversation, to direct the dialogue in a way that serves your wellbeing and growth. 

Remember, you’re in charge. As the President, you have the power to confront these voices, asking them for evidence, pushing them to provide specifics. When you do this, when you take control, the vague, paralyzing fear loses its power. The anxiety becomes more manageable. And the truth becomes clear. 

So, write down these internal dialogues, bringing the dark thoughts into the light. This simple act of writing can help you separate your thoughts from yourself and reduce the power they have over you. It’s a way to anchor your mind and take back control over the council room of your thoughts.

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