Below you will find summaries and links to the following videos:
How We Use our Defense Mechanisms to Sleepwalk and Avoid Waking Up
Identifying and Eliminating Your Cognitive Distortions: 1
Cognitive Distortions 2: Black and White/Polarized Thinking
Cognitive Distortions 3: Overgeneralization
Cognitive Distortions 4: Filtering
Cognitive Distortions 5: Jumping to Conclusions
Cognitive Distortions 6: Catastrophization
Cognitive Distortions 7: Personalization
Cognitive Distortions 8: Emotional Reasoning
Cognitive Distortions 9: The Fallacy of Fairness
Cognitive Distortions 16: Control Fallacies
Cognitive Distortions 10: Blaming
Cognitive Distortions 11: “Should-ing” on Yourself
Cognitive Distortions 12: The Fallacy of Change or “Waiting for Santa Claus”
Cognitive Distortions 13: Global Labeling
Cognitive Distortions 14:
Cognitive Distortions 15: Heaven’s Reward Fallacy
Cognitive Distortions 16: Control Fallacies
Cognitive Distortions 17: “I’m Right”
Cognitive Distortions 18: The Pre/Trans Fallacy
Cognitive Distortions: Summary: Getting Rid of Your Cognitive Distortions
Recognizing and Avoiding Your Cognitive Biases 1
Recognizing and Avoiding Your Cognitive Biases 2
Recognizing and Avoiding Your Cognitive Biases 3
Recognizing and Avoiding Your Cognitive Biases 4
Recognizing and Avoiding Your Cognitive Biases 5
Recognizing and Avoiding Your Cognitive Biases 6
Logical Fallacies that Mess Up Dreamwork
Defense mechanisms are emotionally-based reactions that are designed to increase control, security, and defend our sense of who we are and our worldview. In this video I examine ten major defense mechanisms and why they are important for Integral Deep Listening.
Cognitive distortions are false, irrational, statements that we tell ourselves, often habitually and out of our awareness. Whenever you tell yourself a cognitive distortion you are putting yourself in the Drama Triangle. Cognitive distortions harm your relations with others by misperceiving their intentions and the nature of the relationship. They harm your self-image by distorting your perception of yourself. They turn your waking life into a dream of irrational self-delusion. Cognitive distortions also cause you to misperceive what you experience when you are dreaming. Dream experiences can cause you to unnecessarily feel anxious, sad, confused or guilty. Those night-time feelings, consciously forgotten, nevertheless can bleed over into your waking awareness, undercutting your efforts to improve yourself, bringing you down and moving you further away from health and inner peace. You are experiencing a cognitive distortion, for example, when you assume a monster in a dream is a threat. Such misperceptions cause you to draw inaccurate conclusions about dreaming, just as your waking cognitive distortions cause you to draw incorrect conclusions about yourself, people and life. Integral Deep Listening uses awareness and elimination of cognitive distortions as a way to get out of our own way so that we may hear others better, including our own emerging potentials and unique life compass.
When you are using the cognitive distortion of black and white, or polarized thinking, something or someone is all good or all bad. For example, you might think, “Either I vote for a corrupt politician or the other one, who is even more corrupt will win.” “Either I win or I am a loser.” “Either I succeed or everyone will reject me.” “Either I support my country or I am not patriotic.” “Either you make me happy or you don’t love me.” “You are either trustworthy and my friend or untrustworthy and my enemy.” In this video we discuss how Black and White thinking shows up in the Drama Triangle, dreams, and mystical experiences.
When you overgeneralize you are exaggerating because your feelings are emphatic. Because your feeling at the moment is absolute, the way you think about it is absolute as well. But while your pre-rational feeling can indeed be absolute at the moment, absolute thoughts about it are distortions. When you dream, and think you are awake when you are dreaming, that is a sort of generalization from waking into another state of consciousness. It’s not a thought, but a generalization of your experience. So just as you can overgeneralize your feelings you and I routinely overgeneralize our waking experience onto our dreams. We can easily believe falling in a dream will kill us, just as it would in real life. The result is that we respond to the experience of falling as if it were a waking threat, which is an experiential over-generalization and a cognitive distortion. This is the case regardless of the “threat” that you have in a dream. How do you know it’s a threat? Most likely, because you have drawn that conclusion from your waking experience, and you think you’re awake.
When you use the “Filtering” cognitive distortion, you ignore information and events that disprove your untrue or delusional beliefs, assumptions, and worldview. Filtering keeps you in the Drama Triangle by “rescuing” you from objectivity, clarity, evidence, facts and the truth. It’s like voluntarily wearing a blindfold and earplugs or walking around with Oculus simulated reality goggles on. As a result, you can maintain the feelings of righteous judgmentalism that often accompany self-criticism and self-persecution. At the same time, filtering validates staying stuck in the role of Victim. An excellent example of filtering is the social scripting you went through as a child. You were taught that in order to survive and grow within your family, you had to accept and internalize their worldview and values, including their cognitive distortions. For example, if you grew up with an alcoholic parent, you had to deal with the ensuing chaos somehow. Chances are, you distorted reality in one way or another to do so. filtering is also at work in your dreams. You filter your dreams because of your emotions, your world-view, your life scripting and your biology. The very nature of this filtering is to distort reality – but of course, only for your own safety and happiness! Consequently, filtering in dreams and mystical experiences is broader than the traditional concept of filtering for waking cognitive distortions.
When you use the “Jumping to Conclusions” cognitive distortion, you ignore information and events that disprove your untrue or delusional beliefs, assumptions, and worldview. Dream experience is mostly about jumping from one conclusion to the next without ever bothering to check to see if we are correct. When you make assumptions, both while dreaming and later, while awake, about the nature of your dream, without first asking questions and gathering information, you are jumping to conclusions. Therefore, most interpretive approaches to dreamwork involve the cognitive distortion of jumping to conclusions because they do not consult perspectives embedded in the dream itself. Even if the conclusion is positive, helpful and even transformational, as a tarot reading, psychic channeling, or dream interpretation can be, if you didn’t first ask questions and gather information, your conclusions are likely to be colored by this cognitive distortion. IDL attempts to counteract this perceptual habit by teaching you to interview dream characters, so that you can gain information that will allow you to draw realistic conclusions about them.
“I always fail at love. I’m never going to find someone.”
Catastrophizing is not simply an exaggeration or filtering; it takes the worst possible outcome imaginable and treats it like it is a reality, as if that is what will inevitably happen. You do this in an attempt to be prepared for anything, but rather than preparing yourself, you simply scare yourself silly. We catastrophize to justify the avoidance of risk. We commonly do this during nightmares, but we also do it with national emergencies, like 9/11. Catastrophizing keeps us out of touch with our life compass and inner peace. If we don’t recognize it and defuse it, we will continue to scare ourselves needlessly, both awake and dreaming.
Personalization is an indicator of a person who thinks emotionally rather than rationally. One of the most destructive cognitive distortions, personalization prevents the development of empathy toward others and compassion toward yourself. Sometimes referred to as “adolescent girl syndrome,” personalization is painfully exaggerated self-consciousness. IDL calls it “psychological geocentrism,” because the world and reality revolves around us, our perceptions, and our feelings. Personalization is perhaps most easily seen in adolescence, when we are uncertain about who we are and are trying to find ourselves. We are constantly vigilant for cues from others as to whether we are “OK” or not. When you personalize, you assume that everything that others say must be about you. That is grandiose, narcissistic and egotistical. It’s also not true.
This cognitive distortion is the exact opposite of what cognitive behavioral therapy teaches. It says that how you feel determines what you think. Cognitive behavioral therapy says that if you want to change how you feel, you need to change how you think. This distortion says that you can’t change how you think, because your feelings are real. The point is not that your feeling are unreal, but that they make poor masters of the house of your consciousness. Emotional reasoning is another example of a “living fossil,” like an ancient fish discovered still living in the ocean. It is a way of being that was perfectly normal and common during an earlier era of your development. You have created conditions that have allowed it not only to survive, but to flourish in a time when your needs and challenges have evolved far past it. As a child, your feelings made something real or unreal, good or bad. You didn’t have any choice, because you hadn’t yet developed the ability to think about your feelings. You probably know adults who are quite smart and capable, yet still are controlled by their emotional preferences. They don’t think; they feel; they don’t respond; they react. Therefore, their preferences define their reality. What they like is good, true and real, while what they don’t like is bad, false and illusory. Consequently, their life is an emotional roller coaster in which they constantly move toward what they like and away from that which they dislike, even when what they like is killing them, and what they dislike is what they need.
The Fallacy of Fairness says life should be fair.
The tell for this cognitive distortion is when someone comes out with some version of,“That’s not fair!”
When you insist that life must be fair, you are assuming that your rules for life are the universe’s rules. How likely is that?
Blaming is a cognitive distortion, because it is irrational. Taking responsibility is one thing, but blaming is another. Is it rational to blame yourself? If others represent those aspects of yourself that you project onto them, then to blame someone else is to persecute the parts of yourself that they represent. Is that what you want to do? If someone hurts you, is it wise for you to then turn around and hurt yourself by blaming? In addition, blaming is regressive. It’s behavior you mastered when you were five. When you blame, you are demonstrating your proficiency at five-year-old behavior. That’s fine, but what about your ability to act like an adult? Can you do that? It’s easy to be mature, competent, friendly and responsible when people are nice to you and when things are going well, but what about those times when people treat you badly or you are under pressure? Character is defined by how you act at such times, not by who you are when everything is either wonderful or cruising along on automatic. When you blame, you give somebody or something power over how you feel and what you can or cannot do. It’s their fault; therefore, you are claiming you are powerless in the face of God’s will, the government’s power or your boss’s policies. Is that smart? Is it rational?
Thinking or talking in terms of “shoulds,” “musts,” or “oughts” is a cognitive distortion, because it is based on the belief that shame, guilt and abuse are effective and worthwhile motivational tools. In the short term, they are effective, in that they get others to discipline themselves so that you don’t have to. If you can brainwash a child, spouse or employee into doing what you want them to do because they should, your life is much simpler. However, you are generating compliance based on fear. That reflects poorly on you and produces resistance in healthy children, spouses, workers and citizens. Shoulding is also a cognitive distortion, because it is dishonest and manipulative. If you love someone, you don’t attempt to scare them or make them feel guilty. Eliminating the persecution and self-persecution of “Should” is necessary if we are to get out of our own way, listen to and follow the priorities of our life compass.
This a cognitive distortion because it puts happiness in a future that does not yet exist and perhaps never will. That makes it impossible to be happy now, which is untrue, since you can choose to be happy now, regardless of how things turn out in the future. “Waiting for Santa Claus” gives your power away to someone else or to the future. Santa Claus can make you happy, but since he’s not here yet, you can’t be happy. Without the power to make yourself happy, you are helpless and hopeless, stuck in the role of the Victim in the Drama Triangle.
A global label is a universal generalization about yourself, others or life itself. Why and how are these statements cognitive distortions? They are exaggerations, and exaggerations are untrue. When you say them, you make yourself wrong. You make it easy for other people to dismiss what you say, because you’ve already undercut your argument. They also put you in the role of the Persecutor in the Drama Triangle, necessitating an eventual descent into the role of the Victim.
This cognitive distortion is based on the delusion that in the end, you’ll win. Heaven’s Reward Fallacy can effectively motivate you into a lifetime of irrational action. It has been used to justify cruelty, abuse, slavery and the withholding of basic human needs and rights from women and children for millennia. The other basic problem with Heaven’s Reward fallacy is that when you use it, you are not living for today. You are living and waiting for the day when you “come home,” and all accounts are made right. What is delusional about this is that there is no future. The only time that you are ever alive is now. If you are postponing living now until tomorrow, when tomorrow comes, you’ll postpone living until some other tomorrow. You will be like Sisyphus, Godot or the squirrel in the wheel, always going someplace but never getting there.
There are two types of control fallacies. The fallacy of external control says you are a victim of circumstances beyond your control. The fallacy of internal control says you are responsible for other people’s feelings and happiness. EXTERNAL control fallacies ignore the part that you play in how you think or feel, or in what happens to you. INTERNAL control fallacies ascribe too much responsibility and power to you over the lives of others. Whenever you feel out of control in a dream, you are probably using the external control aspect of this cognitive distortion. Whenever you blame yourself for dream events, you are probably trapped in the internal control aspect of this cognitive distortion.
This a cognitive distortion, because it’s irrational to expect yourself to be right all the time. In addition to it being impossible, it’s not healthy. You learn from your mistakes and failures. As noted above, your character is determined more by how you handle yourself in times of challenge, than by how much of the time you are right. It takes a lot of energy to be right all the time, energy that could be better spent enjoying life. With this cognitive distortion, you’re always fighting against parts of yourself that you think are a mistake or a failure. Is that wise?
The Pre/Trans Fallacy is a fallacy and cognitive distortion discovered and elucidated by Ken Wilber in his Integral AQAL (All quadrants, all lines, all levels, all states, all styles) worldview. It says that people typically either take the pre-rational and prepersonal and mistake it for the mystical and transpersonal, which is called “elevationism,” or else discount and reduce the authentically transpersonal by seeing nothing higher than their stage of development, and generally placing it lower developmentally than their own worldview, in “reductionism.” Wilber cites Jung as an example of the first, elevationism, and Freud as an example of the second, but more generally, whenever state access is confused with a higher stage of self development, that is elevationism, and whenever state experience, regardless how transcendent, is reduced to the irrational and prepersonal, that is reductionism. IDL attempts to avoid both of these with triangulation, a concept explained in the IDL video curricula.
Cognitive distortions are so important as a barrier to happiness, peace of mind, and global health that it is worth taking the time to focus on concrete steps you can take to get them out of your life, once and for all.
First, assume everything you think is one or another of the above cognitive distortions until proven otherwise. This step is necessary, because if you aren’t on the lookout for your cognitive distortions, you won’t see them. Beware of the fear that you will then fall into some sort of fatalism, in which everything is a cognitive distortion and that there is no escape from them, something that some people do with the concept of the Drama Triangle as well. This is where IDL interviewing comes in, because it keeps you in touch with perspectives that are, in relationship to you, regardless of how “clear” you may think you are, are relatively free of cognitive distortions.
Cognitive biases are inherited perceptual generalizations designed for making better, quicker decisions in a traditional natural and tribal environment. However, we no longer live in a natural or tribal environment, so many of these cognitive biases work against adaptation and waking up. Recognizing and counteracting the most problematic of them is important for any transpersonal yoga.
In this, our second video on our hard-wired cognitive biases that create distortions in our perception of others, dreams, and our world, we will take a look at the In-Group, Gambler’s, Post-Purchase, and Neglecting Probability Biases.
In this video we discuss the FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR or the “AVOIDANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY” BIAS , the MORAL LUCK BIAS, the FALSE CONSENSUS BIAS, the JUST WORLD HYPOTHESIS and the DUNNING-KRUGER EFFECT, or the “False Confidence” bias.
In this video we discuss the PROJECTION, or “MINI ME” BIAS, the CURRENT MOMENT BIAS, the HALO EFFECT, or “GEE, YOU’RE WONDERFUL!” BIAS, and the SELF-SERVING BIAS.
In this video we deal with the FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR or the “AVOIDANCE OF RESPONSIBILITY” BIAS, the MORAL LUCK BIAS, the FALSE CONSENSUS BIAS, the JUST WORLD HYPOTHESIS and the DUNNING-KRUGER EFFECT.
In this, the sixth video in this series on Cognitive biases, we discuss REACTANCE, the AVAILABILITY CASCADE , the PLACEBO EFFECT, CRYPTOMNESIA, The BLIND SPOT BIAS, NAIVE CYNICISM , and the SPOTLIGHT EFFECT BIAS. Be on the lookout for all of the biases in this series not only in yourself and those in your life, but in those others you interview. While they may be observed in dreams, your subjects will also experience them in their waking lives.
In this video I want to share with you how easily some common logical fallacies show up in how we approach dreams and their interpretations, and how IDL avoids them. Logical fallacies are generally thought of as errors in communication with others or in our thinking. In our application there, we are applying logical fallacies to the ways we experience our dreams and the conclusions we draw about them, both while dreaming, and later, when we are awake. By extension, if you learn to recognize and avoid them in relationship to your dreams, you will probably be more likely to stop using them yourself and more quickly detect when others are using them.