The Experience Machine

Today I am using a friend’s story about her formerly broken leg to show you a little more about what the mind can do. I invite you to consider this blog post to be entertainment. When trying this worldview, consider it to be like a book that you can put down whenever you like.

I have a rave friend who I met around two years ago. We immediately clicked because our spirit hoods are identical. Recently, she reappeared after a long absence. When I asked why, she told me that she had broken her leg. It took three months to heal enough for her to dance again.

This is a perfect opportunity for me to show you the power of the mind, in a story that you might understand as a metaphor for another part of your life.

She told me, after being away from dance music for so many months, she feels a deeper connection with the music. She wrote beautifully (in a text message), her soul’s connection to music is deeper than ever before. Then she included a tell.

A tell is my word for a clue to a person’s internal state. This tell shows me that she felt this feeling so powerfully that she doubted I would be able to identify with it. (But if you know how I feel about dance music and the rave scene… anyway.) She wrote, “That may sound crazy, but it made me cherish it more.”

Now let me show you what three months of purposeful, directed imagination can do for you.

Going into her injury, my friend already cared about dancing. Whether she could dance again was the only question she had for her doctor (and running, ok, but let’s focus on the dance music). You can tell without asking, for the next three months, she was busy imagining going out to raves and nightclubs. In her mind, she was actually there enjoying the music. Imagination is that powerful.

I also assert that the way she felt was crucial. If you had a broken leg, you could imagine dancing in a nightclub pleasantly, as a desire to do so in the future, or painfully, as a gap between what you have and what you want. Based on the result, I don’t need to ask which she felt while she was away from dancing. Was she feeling down because she couldn’t go dance? I doubt that she never felt this way, but I’m confident she didn’t spend much time with the feeling. More likely she felt a desire to dance.

If you follow my blog, you know that I learned early on, “neurons that fire together, wire together.” With that in mind, anyone could tell what would happen if you felt the urge to dance for three months straight. It would be like watching different versions of a trailer for your favorite festival back to back in your mind.

My friend returned to the dance floor last week. I was lucky enough to run into her and hear about this story. And yesterday, she did the same thing I did after I went to my first rave — she enthusiastically went to a show all on her own.

We’ve covered how you can use your body to rewire your feelings about something. I want to show you some more of the results.

In the world I live in, people live in full body hallucinations at all times. I don’t deny that coincidences happen and reality exists, but our feelings vastly skew our perceptions. Now that you’ve had a peek through this filter, take a look at this direct quote and tell me what you see:

“So many good shows in the first month of me being able to walk again, it’s like it all worked out and fit into place perfectly.”

There are two ways that I see this comment. You can flip between them at will, as I do, and see which you think fits better. The first is that it is coincidence and her favorite DJs are all in town at once. But the second view is that she has built up enough desire to make it look like this month’s lineups happened that way. When you understand confirmation bias, that is a reasonable interpretation because humans are wired to see whatever will feel the way we expect it to.

Finally, I will show you something else you already knew.

Your imagination can create any scenario you want. But we often forget to use this power. Have you noticed how peoples’ desire for something suddenly changes when you tell them they can’t have it?

I cannot confirm this in any scientific way, but I would bet your mind immediately forgets all the bad parts and focuses on the good stuff. Suddenly the line is gone. You didn’t pay for your drink. The DJ plays all of your favorites, and everyone in the crowd is a friend. That’s probably what my friend experienced for three months.

I love dance music. Little dancing atoms are at the fibre of my being. But thanks to imagination, she might love music even more.

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