The Negative Power of Thinking

Steve Taylor, Ph.D.
Indeed, one can’t think outside the box because thinking is the box. The key is to feel.

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Published July 2, 2014 by Kevin Behan

6 responses to “The Negative Power of Thinking”

  1. Julie Forlizzo says:

    Great article by Dr. Taylor. His term “thought-chatter” is spot on. I think that people whose thoughts are always chattering end up spewing mindless verbal chatter. Something negative is always on the tip of their tongues and lose control of what and how they say something. I don’t know how to completely quiet my mind into a state of no thoughts at all, but the concept of a less busy and noisy mind is worth working on. I believe it can free us from being judgmental and being hyper sensitive to another’s judgments, which are negative in and of themselves. The past several years I have worked very hard at not letting negative past experiences dictate my heart and mind to the point of a total breakdown. These experiences and negative world views are not washed away, but they are under control, due to not dwelling on them. I believe working with dogs has also brought about a more peaceful perspective, because to be in the presence of a dog, one needs to be mindful of stuck emotions that get in the way of progress. Dogs are not judgmental, but we also cannot fool them. Great article – thanks Kevin!

  2. Jen Bianchi says:

    This reminds me of what it’s like to play jazz with a group and reach a higher level of connection. Sometimes it’s hard, and you don’t connect well for whatever reason, and you’re thinking about what notes to play, or what section you’re on in the music, or if you’ve messed something up. Other times, the group, as a whole can transcend the mechanics and physical issues of playing. You are perfectly in sync with each other, listening, feeling, interacting, creating, the mind is silent but present, and the heart is speaking. Music, like feeling, is a universal language, and people can achieve this experience whether they’ve played together before or it’s their first time as a group, whether experts or amateurs. The more you keep the mind out of the way in performance, the better it will feel, and the more you will connect to everyone in the room (including the audience). You think and study in practice, but try to free yourself of the mind (and it’s constraints) and reach deeper in performance. It’s hard to put into words, but those are the times I’ve felt most connected to my heart, and yet as if the other musicians share that heart.

    In relation to the article, I would say CBT is the practice room, mindfulness/no-thought is the performance.

  3. Skip Skipper says:

    Sorry, not sure where to post questions that are off topic, anyway I’ve recently heard you mention the “Leave it” command being taught by others. What are the typical consequences of this and what is the NDT solution? Thanks!

  4. Kevin Behan says:

    Dogs learn by contrast. Once they know where their energy goes, then by default they’ve learned where it doesn’t go. Thus I like to say Before you teach NO, be sure to teach GO. My definitive metric is for my pup to do the five core exercises wherever we are, in this way my dog is learning to give me all his Drive no-matter-what and this is the essence of sociability and being mannerly. One does not have to teach a dog to be social, they are social by nature. What they do need to learn is what to do with their energy given that their native instincts are attuned to a life in the wild, not in man’s world of incessant change. So if we are the source of their energy, they attune to our ways and almost infallibly adapt to our lifestyle. On the other hand, if one teaches Leave It as a foundation exercise, they have implanted a governor on the dog’s Drive and this can come back as a “bug” in subsequent training.

  5. Julie Forlizzo says:

    You once said that to say “No’ and “Leave It” to a dog, we’re actually saying “You (the dog) cannot have what I want.” My understanding is that these commands create a breakdown of trust and unity, being that our dogs FEEL they are inside of us, one with us, one mind. If we want our dogs to give us all their energy, “No” and “Leave It” is not the way to go, not the way to gain their TRUST. At least, this is my understanding.

  6. Joanne Frame says:

    Another thing about the ‘negative’ is that our subconscious doesn’t process it. Think of the command “dont think of a pink elephant”, you can’t avoid it! “careful don’t spill that” you might say to a child, putting the concept of spilling into their mind. Given that dogs aren’t interpreting our language but linking to us emotionally, when we don’t want them to do something we are projecting our emotion into the thing we don’t want (in my case ‘dont run away’!) Puts them in a bit of a double bind 🙂

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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