One thing I’ve experimented with is switching intentions.

For instance, I can “become” shy, outgoing, focused, impenetrable, or sensitive, or relentless, or uncertain, positive, regretful, or even non-feeling intentions – be as a rock, or be like water. I can project these essences of feeling, and I have a certain degree of conscious control over it: to a degree, I can choose an intention, and my body language, posture, and thinking patterns align around it without further effort. It’s like acting… Except the key thing that I’ve thought about using it for is for the thinking differently, or thinking in a certain way.

It seems as though if I learn to best leverage this type of acting, I can skew my thought process towards generating certain kinds of conclusions, and maybe I can even know which sorts of errors I’m more prone to in various mental states. I could imagine precise thought to benefit from a cold rational intention, and sensitive personal interaction to benefit from thought patterns that aren’t so demanding and exact, that allow for much more error.

I was thinking about this on my walk today. When I take walks, I like to listen to music, and work on my vision – I’ve been doing it for years, and I’ve gotten some results, and I just like to believe that vision can be improved with work; I try to allow my eyes to relax, and focus more clearly. I found that switching around my intentions allowed me to change what I could do with my eye focus – certain intentions allowed for more clarity. More serene and thoughtful and reflective modes, but also more focused and confident modes. This didn’t change my vision by itself; I still had to do the same mental work I normally do, but different intentions changed the characteristics of how difficult it was to focus on smaller things.

As I was trying to channel memories from different times in my life, playing around with my intentions, I noticed that certain songs – that I listened to a lot during certain periods in life – were like a gateway into an intention, they allowed me to channel experiences and thoughts attached to a part of my life, and made for a very powerful and effortless fusing with that character.

I found that I can channel other sorts of patterns of thought, ones that I don’t have any recurring pattern (like a song listened to on repeat) attached to. But I found it much harder.

And so I thought of this as a tool to compartmentalize modes of thinking – attach them to a repeated trigger, like a song. Have a ritual, a mantra, whatever – any repetitive action that through Hebbian plasticity will trigger a mental state – do it every time I need to summon a character, and then work hard to sustain that focus and attach it to the trigger. Suddenly, I understood why rituals and traditions and other similar patterns of behavior have been so popular around the world for so long.

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