The Living Room of Your Brain
We can control our thoughts! Heavenly Father guaranteed us our agency, and why wouldn’t that start at the genesis of our actions: our minds?
But how is this done? First, we can work on what thoughts we allow to stay, and which we remove. Dean L. Larsen, in a BYU devotional, told of a helpful analogy he learned from Elder Marion D. Hanks. Elder Hanks described two parts of the brain: an antechamber or foyer, and a “living room.” He told Larsen that “none of us really has complete power over the impulses, the fleeting thoughts, that come into that antechamber area,” but that also, “we have the power to usher out almost instantaneously those negative thoughts which come.” Then, once we have sorted out the unhelpful and unwelcome thoughts, we invite the positive, helpful ones into the living room to stay. Negativity and darkness can be asked to leave.
Larsen also spoke about being on the offensive against pervasive negative thoughts, a practice he called “constructive thinking.” As a mission president, he frequently drove long distances over Texas, resulting in a lot of time to think. Instead of allowing his mind to wander for long stretches of time, Larsen routinely practiced organizing talks, making connections between scriptural concepts. “In order to sustain constructive thinking,” he said, “it’s necessary for us to have something worthwhile to think about, to have in reserve…some items, some problems, some challenges, to which we can turn our minds.” Practicing constructive thinking in the mind’s forefront will leave no room for destructive thinking.
“In order to sustain constructive thinking,” he said, “it’s necessary for us to have something worthwhile to think about, to have in reserve…some items, some problems, some challenges, to which we can turn our minds.”
Finally, train the brain to want to communicate with heaven. Tina Peterson, a speaker at the Mormon Women Project Salon Event, said, “Your time with the word of the Lord is your personal Urium and Thummim. It is there that God will speak to you. Frequent the scriptures often enough that your brain craves that kind of input.” Heavenly Father speaks in love and helpful, constructive criticism, things we can all use more of in our minds.
By Melanie Kasper
liveJoy Founder and Life Coach