The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Mind Reading

Do you want to know how never to be lied to again? How to know people within the first five minutes of meeting them? To develop an instinct about people within the first five seconds? Then listen, and begin to apply.
This method was developed spontaneously, during the teaching of a Lifewriting workshop, and I can take no conscious credit for it. Please start with several basic assumptions:
1) Every tree will grow as tall as it can. In other words, we all seek to fulfill our potential. If you are walking in a forest and see a burned and blasted stump, you can guess there's been a lightning fire. SOMETHING HAPPENED. And we intuit this. And truth is, we can see the same thing in human beings. Let's start with the idea that the average person is capable of great achievement, were they to focus all their being. He or she could become a great athlete, a captain of industry, and the kind of loving, self-sacrificing person who could run into a burning school bus to save children. Few of us rise so high. Why not? Yes, there are innate qualities, but external environment also shapes us greatly. Look at all three arenas of life:
a) Body. How close to an ideal body does this person have? (Adjusted for her age)
b) Mind. How close to the ideal does this person come: to support themselves contentedly at a job they would perform as a hobby, for free. This doesn't mean being rich--but they should FEEL rich. Contented.
c) Spirit. What is her relationship history? Remember that our partners are the mirror-image of our selves, and our self-concept. A person with a string of disastrous relationships is telling you huge amounts about themselves. A woman in relationship with a brutal or unresponsive man is speaking volumes about her own psyche. Listen to what she is saying.
Now, then--only the body is obvious in the first seconds, so notice that first. Then gather additional information directly and indirectly.
2) Everyone feels alone and afraid. The only question is: what do you do with your loneliness and your fear? Me? I practice martial arts (fear) and cultivate close relations with friends and family. What does your target do?
3) No one can tell the absolute truth about who and what they are. And in some cases, the observation from the outside will be more accurate than the inner "story." A person who is obese and emotionally dysfunctional cannot have an accurate map of reality. They lie to themselves and others about the rules of reality. Learn to trust your own intuition, and what you see, more than what people say. People lie. It's one of the ways they survive.
4) Use this technique on yourself first. Look deeply into your own relationships, your physical fitness and health, and your career. Go deeper. Learn to ask yourself the hardest questions imaginable. The more deeply you go, the easier it is to develop the "Mind Reading" technique.
5) Never, ever, ever volunteer the information that you learn. Do not. And NEVER use it against the ones you love, beating them up with it in arguments. "I know what you really are..." This is a great way to destroy a relationship in a single blow. We have the right to our privacy. Nonetheless, we hide our dysfunction in plain sight, and then have social agreements not to talk about it, or notice it. Then we act surprised when people act according to their demonstrated nature.
Remember Beatrix Kiddo in "Kill Bill Vol 2"? When she says that she knew Bill was capable of mass murder, but just never believed he would do it to her? This is a woman in deep, deep delusion. That refusal to look at truth was necessary to live with herself, and the monster that she was (I love that movie!) We ALL do this. Start figuring out where you do it to yourself. Get ahead of the game. Wake up! The clock is ticking. Life is not a dress rehersal.


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