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Thursday, August 23, 2007


Recently I read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Infidel, her biography of the unraveling of her upbringing as a Muslim female. The story of her life is one of abuse, enslavement to the Quran, clan and family. Her story is worth reading. From her book, I was introduced to the term mental cage. When people such as the females of the Muslim religion are programmed from birth to a life of living only as a slave to men’s whims, I can readily understand the term mental cage. The women of Islam are so indoctrinated by Islamic men that they can’t see beyond the bars of their mental cage and they perpetuate this onto their children.

In contemplating Ali’s biography, I can also see that there are degrees of mental cages. Almost everyone on this planet has some form of a mental cage. What is a mental cage? From teachings I have had, our brain is similar to a computer and the programs we run in our brain create our thoughts. Our thoughts create our mind and our experiences. One only has to mentally stand back and observe the lives of others around us and listen to the words that are spoken. Once we are aware of these mental cages, we can know what kind of program is being operated in the brain.

We can also observe our own words and thoughts to know what program we are running. The brain is filled with neurons, synapses and much more that make up the neuronet which is like a specific piece of learning software that runs a pattern. We build our own mental prisons by what we have been taught and accepted. The movie What the Bleep, gives a vivid picture of moving out of a mental cage. The movie has been extremely popular because it resonated deep within the recesses of the brain that it portrayed a truth.

There is a statement that when we change our mind, we change our life and I have found that to be true. There have been many books written about this with each one giving methods for changing the mind. However, there are embedded core beliefs that are a challenge to change and this keeps many in one form of a mental cage.

I have asked myself where these core beliefs begin because everything has a beginning. It is much like Ariadne’s Thread and following the threads in order to understand why people are so addicted to their beliefs and habits. This includes me also. Somewhere along the evolution of humanity, there became a belief that women were less than men and knowing this, my thread took me to religion.

I have done extensive research on the Bible that Christians use. There are many variations or translations of this ancient text with each one having a slightly different interpretation and some have added books that were omitted in others. What I have learned is that the Old Testament is not a holy book at all. I know that statement will be considered blasphemous by some who hold on to the bars of their mental cage. However, it is an ancient text of history that in was handed down by word of mouth until someone wrote it down. If you have ever played the telephone game, then you can understand how the original meaning became changed.

I have seen a proliferation of new churches popping up in communities and each an offshoot of the primary denominations of the Christian religion. I began wondering why and realized that people become dissatisfied with the established churches and some man thinks he has the answer and draws to him people who like what he has to say. Thus, they leave the established denomination and begin a new one. In my research, I have learned there are approximately 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world. One report states there are approximately 1,000 Christian faith groups that think they are the only true Christian denomination. In my small community there are 22 Christian groups. Over half do not have a denomination included in their name. In looking at this list, I have wondered why such a small community needed so many different churches. Multiply this across the U.S. and the number is staggering.

Having been an ordained minister, I can say that from my observations and experiences that many people want someone to tell them how to live and what to do. Thus, the minister, priest, pastor or preacher becomes empowered and the people become enslaved to that set of beliefs until something within them is triggered and they begin to question.

It isn’t only the Christian religions that enslave people’s minds. Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes in her book Infidel: I found myself thinking that the Quran is not a holy document. It is a historical record, written by humans. It is one version of events, as perceived by the men who wrote it 150 years after the Prophet Muhammad died. And it is very tribal and an Arab version of events. It spreads a culture that is brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women, and harsh in war. Ali has summed it up very succinctly. The history of Christianity is the same. Islam and Christianity are the two sides of the same coin.

I grew up in the era of segregation in Texas and the south. I grew up in the midst of bigotry and prejudice and I didn’t understand as a child why blacks were segregated. I didn’t understand why my church professed that God is love, yet women were also kept in an inferior place. Where was the love for the blacks? When I began working for the Foreign Service branch of the U.S. State Department, I had a sudden shift in my beliefs when my first post was to the embassy in Paris. I broke out of some of the bars of my mental cage. In retrospect it was one of the most freeing times of my life.

I have learned that if a religion suppresses the rights of women to be treated as equals, then it is a religion of man and not of God. Because of this programming, men equally have their own mental cages. Perhaps it is up to the individual to look within and find the mental cages that keeps one in a state of lack, anger, guilt, fear, victim, and other modalities of thinking. The only change can come from within.

What are the attitudes that keep us limited? If it is prejudice, then it is time to change the attitude. If it is one of lack, then it is time to change one’s perspective. There are many books and programs available to help one to move out of the cage. Usually change comes from adversity. I like Richard Bach’s statement: Every problem comes with a gift in its hands. Another way of saying it is that when the shit hits the fan, look for the gold. To move forward, we cannot stay in self-pity. I am finding that for myself I must look at all of my beliefs and begin to discard the ones that are not self-serving. End of Part I. To be continued.


In Part I, I wrote about the origins of our mental cages. Each of us has to search deep within our belief systems the bars that keep us within our individual cages. Bars are those blocks that keep us in the same belief neuronet which is similar to a specific piece of learning software and it runs a pattern. One of the first things is to listen to the words we speak and think. What is our vocabulary?

The most used words or phrases in the vocabulary of the cage are: I can’t, I need, it isn’t possible, I don’t believe it, it isn’t my fault, I didn’t do it, it’s against my religion, they are full of the devil, he/she deserve to be punished, he/she is sinful, it’s a sin to do this or that, and we can on and on. All of these words and phrases bring on the emotions of guilt, shame, blame, fear and lack. How often have parents told their children that there isn’t enough money. Or, we can’t do this or that because it is too expensive. It costs too much. It is beyond my budget. This is the programming of lack.

To move out of our cages, I have learned we much each take responsibility for what is happening in our lives. No longer can we blame our parents, our bosses, the government, the system and so on. Most people do not understand what being responsible means. One of the primary definitions of the word responsible is to be accountable for one’s actions, speech, and welfare. Society has forgotten as a whole, about being responsible and has given away their power to the government, the church, the medical profession and also to other segments of society. I remember the old Geraldine TV show where Flip Wilson playing the part of Geraldine said repeatedly, “The Devil made me do it.” It seems someone always wants to put the blame on someone else and this could be the reason for lawsuits. It is something to think about.

An attitude of defeat is a killer of dreams and keeps one in the cage of unworthiness. There is no such thing as failure. Failure is only an opportunity to do better and it is only an experience. All of my past failures have led me to where I am today. I would not be doing what I am doing today if I had not had failures to move me from one point to another point.

I can look back on the few injuries I have had and I can recognize the attitudes that brought the injuries to me. Attitudes and thoughts act as magnets and bring back to us the frequency that matches. When we really begin to listen to our words and our thoughts, we can recognize the patterns of the cage. We also can empower ourselves to move out of the cage by re-educating the brain’s natural pattern and create a new neuronet. This is why attention is important. Being attentive to the way we think is to use the learning tools of affirmations and declarations.
Keys to Change: Awareness – Becoming aware of one’s vocabulary and attitudes. Choices – Choose to change the wording and thoughts. Action – Be open to change and taking charge of choices.

It is up to each of us to be cognizant of our choice of words. From my experience it is a do it over and over until it becomes my common thought. When I have caught myself using a cage word, I stop and re-phrase it and I don’t beat myself up. I know I am changing and this is part of the journey. When thoughts of doubt come up, I tell myself that I do not accept doubt.
There is nothing wrong with any of us because it is only our programming that needs to be changed to allow the wonder of us to come out. Friends may drop by the wayside when we begin breaking out of our mental cages and families often do not understand. This is a price to pay for freedom from the mental cage. Is it worth it? It is if you are willing to step out into the unknown. Freedom of the mind is a heady elixir. The view of the world is expansive and unlimited.

When one begins breaking through the bars of the mental cage, it can be frightening. Perhaps in a way it similar to a child learning to walk and talk. Rarely does a child walk without a few falls and rarely does a child begin talking like an adult. The more we break through the bars, the more confidence we gain and our lives becomes more satisfying. Adversity only hones one’s skills. By approaching our breaking the bars of our mental cage with enthusiasm and a light heart, we move faster through the initial changes. At first it may appear that no progress is being made and one day a realization comes that a shift has happened. It may be the breaking though only one bar or it could be many. Freedom of the mind can only be opened from the inside. Enjoy the journey.