I have been on a spiritual path for a few years now, and am pretty new (within this past year) to the study of LOA. I finally registered on this site so I could ask for assistance with this question.
Here it is: Being able to think outside the box is always important for cultivating new and original ideas, but how to do this has often eluded me in this life.
My question is, how can someone train their brain to think differently, to create thoughts that don't conform to one's usual mode of thinking?
Are there exercises that can help open/expand my mind? I feel my mind is generally open to hearing new ideas, but I want to change my normal thought processes and train my brain to think differently.
If you have a solid method for this, please share.
Thank you in advance.
asked 29 Dec '10, 19:50
Barry Allen ♦♦
Most of the methods I know for "thinking outside the box" have come from this guy: Roger von Oech and his books/products.
His methods are well worth a look if you are seeking to stimulate those genuinely creative thoughts and points of view.
answered 29 Dec '10, 20:59
Thank you, Stingray. I just downloaded his iPhone app to get started with. I can't wait to try it out! With much appreciation, EG
(29 Dec '10, 21:45) Earthlygoddess
In order to answer this question I think it’s helpful to define the “box” that you wish to think outside of. The way I see it is the “box” which many people are confined to is their belief in the supremacy of reason and logic, the world of facts and details, the world of “seeing is believing.”
Obviously, to understand something that lies outside of that box, we cannot use reason and logic alone. We must allow for the possibility that the box of reason and logic is contained within something greater, the realm of the spiritual.
Self chatter or internal dialogue is action of our mind. As long as that action is constantly taking place, there is no room in our consciousness for anything that is new to enter. So in order to allow for new thoughts from outside of the box to enter our consciousness, we must do what we can to quiet our mind.
Meditation is the way to do this, but do not be fooled into thinking that meditation necessarily implies sitting with back straight, eyes closed and legs crossed for ‘x’ minutes per day. That is one way to meditate and if you feel attracted to that it will be beneficial for you.
But rightly understood meditation is being fully immersed in the “now” moment, which means paying attention to what’s happening in your life right now – in this moment – and staying with that. Just observing, not judging or justifying or condemning or wishing it was something other than what it actually is presently. This kind of meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time and eventually your life can be meditation.
I practice by sitting quietly by a waterfall near my house and listening to the trickling flow of water or by riding my motorcycle along quiet country lanes and feeling the breeze. Or just sitting on my balcony and listening to birds, insects and the sounds of nature. It’s easy just to stop in any moment and take 3 deep breaths and really pay attention to the inhale/exhale movement.
Once your mind is quiet, you’ll notice thoughts coming in with ideas and suggestions that feel good and you’ll just know that taking action on them will be beneficial. I believe they come from my higher self - the part of me which conceives my future and knows the best way for me to achieve it in the fastest time.
So really it’s not a matter of thinking differently, it’s more a matter of quieting your mind and allowing the messages of your higher self to come into conscious awareness.
answered 30 Dec '10, 03:33
You just opened an AH-HA moment for me. Like when one gets inspired. A moment of clarity opens up and then as Traveler said, you suddenly "GET" it. And like you say that chatter has to be gone.
(02 Jan '11, 13:50) jim 10
Yes, the rational mind is a fantastic tool and a faithful servant once it knows it's not the boss and isn't in control. Thanks for the thumbs up :)
(03 Jan '11, 03:40) Eddie
Hi Eddie. I voted you up one for bringing silence ant its counterpart, chatter, into the mix. Your answer is touching on areas that I have been working on for the last 6-8months. Hopefully there will be an opportunity in the future to discuss some of the stuff with others, but try this for now. While maintaining silence (inner silence) try to do a mundane task like sweeping or washing dishes. But maintain absolute silence. That means not even the "Ok now I'm going to pick up this dish next" dialog or assertion
(04 Jan '11, 01:43) The Traveller
Try to maintain the task without a single movement of your mind (while physically being fully awake and participating in the activity). You will know when you get there because you will be amazed at how you make decisions without a single movement in your consciousness. You will see for yourself that "comprehension" is not a product of thought or more specifically "rational thought". Try it before arguing about it. (It won't happen overnight).
(04 Jan '11, 01:48) The Traveller
What I'm talking about is fleeting and you will catch moments of it. Moments where you are one with the task and the task feels itself through you with no thought. You will be left with the feeling that THOUGHT is as much a trap for your consciousness as your body is a trap for your soul.
(04 Jan '11, 01:58) The Traveller
showing 2 of 5 show 3 more comments
What if Thinking IS the box?
Remember those moments when you get brilliant ideas?
GET brilliant ideas?
I have an "outside the box" question!
You are an electrician that was just hired to correctly label a switch that is at the beginning of a long corridor in an underground passage of a recently purchased medieval castle.
There are THREE switches and NONE of them have been identified. (No labels)
At the other end of this long and meandering passage is a single room with a single light.
When you are standing at the three light switches you can't see the room or confirm if the light is on. (Because the bends in the passage block your view)
The only thing that you know is the "ON" and "OFF" positions of each of the three switches.
But you don't know which of the 3 switches is responsible to turn on the light in the room at the end of the passage.
You are allowed to do whatever you want to the light switches prior to proceeding down the passage but you are not allowed to use any modern devices.
All you have is your bare hands and your "out of the box" mind.
BY MAKING ONLY ONE SINGLE ONE-WAY TRIP DOWN THE PASSAGE, HOW DO YOU MANIPULATE THE THREE SWITCHES PRIOR TO YOUR JOURNEY, SO THAT WHEN YOU GET TO THE ROOM AT THE END OF THE PASSAGE YOU CAN CORRECTLY IDENTIFY WHICH SWITCH CONTROLLS THAT LIGHT BULB?
Some clarification: All 3 switches look identical, but only one is connected to the electrical system (and you can't cheat by taking it apart)
See if you can "GET" the answer!
answered 30 Dec '10, 03:07
Turn on one switch and leave on for one minute then turn it off. Then turn on both remaining switches then turn off one. Go down and feel the bulb. If it is on then you know it is the switch you left on. If it hot then it was the one you just turned on and off. And if it is warm then it is the first one. I think.
(30 Dec '10, 22:14) jim 10
Hi Wandering Dude. Your answer is right! Great Job! The original answer is slightly different, in that it works better if after the initial 1 minute wait, if you just turn on only one of the two remaining switches. This way, if the bulb is ON it is the second one you turned on, and if it is off, and COLD to the touch, it is the one you never turned on, and of course, finally if it is WARM to the touch it is the first switch you turned off after 1 minute.
(31 Dec '10, 02:20) The Traveller
After I thought more I realized that that I might have added an extra step :/
(31 Dec '10, 03:30) jim 10
showing 2 of 3 show 1 more comments
This is where thinking out side the box came from.
In order to solve the puzzle you must goto the outside of the box. Most people look at points as boundaries when connecting the dot's. As you can see all we need to know is right in front of us. Just try not to be confined by "fixed" ideas.
answered 29 Dec '10, 23:05
This question " how can you think outside the 'box' ? " implies that there is a 'box' ... we are all capable of communicating with our unlimited creative energies and we often do it spontaneously through intuition ... moreover we often exchange thoughts with other people on conscious and unconscious levels whether we realize it or not ... so what can this limiting box consist of ?
The 'box' is surely made up of our own belief systems, mental and emotional barriers ... i would suggest that eliminating these limiting factors allows the natural and spontaneous creative energies to flow more easily.
answered 06 Nov '11, 10:30
Try reading hare brain tortoise mind by Guy Claxton. This book explores how some problems are not solved by the analytical mind but by the subconcious. This part of the mind benefits from slow thinking, with no concern about finding the answer. He gives examples of problems that benefit from this type of thinking and its quite exciting when the answer pops into your head.
answered 06 Nov '11, 14:49
I don't think there is really any magic formula or method for this, you just need to take note of the thoughts you think and find out where they are coming from!
And by that I mean every single thought, be it negative or positive... why do you feel this way when someone talks to you in a particular way? Why do people try to put you down and what is your reaction towards them? Why do you feel happy at times for no reason? etc.. etc..
Over time, you will be able to reject thoughts you do not want freely and only accept the ones that you want.. the brain(or should I say the mind) is indeed an amazing thing.
answered 02 Jan '11, 11:04
Yes, this seems like a very logical place to begin. I am realizing the number of my thoughts that are based on assumptions and I am now working at getting rid of those. Thanks for the input, kakaboo. -EG
(03 Jan '11, 19:48) Earthlygoddess
well to think out side the box learn about everything concerning the subject and annything similar or in relation with it. then find what every one else have not seen. and you are out of the box. but the hard part is explaining that to someone else.
i will give you example: you are trap in a box someone has tried all the walls to find exit to get out but cannot get out of it. so what you could do to get out of the box is climb, dig, destroy the walls, find if there is a lock somewhere and open the lock,leave your body and go look at it from outside.
experience and enjoy.
answered 07 Nov '11, 00:14
I recommend books of Roger Von Oech (like the Expect the Unexpected (or You Won't Find It): A Creativity Tool Based on the Ancient Wisdom of Heraclitus) and Edward De Bono (like Po: Beyond Yes and No)
answered 07 Nov '11, 20:13
When I want to think outside the box or find something out I dont know I start with an answer and work my way back to the question. Usualy I find what I'm looking for that way. If not I leave it and sooner or later I will just know for the answer will be there. I also ask a question expecting an answer and it will allways appear although it might take some time and will be there when least expected.
answered 08 Nov '11, 07:20
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