My only credentials are a terrible accident and a massive brain injury that was supposed to leave me dead, a concerned and religious nurse who awoke me with questions about where people went when they died, and a young presumed-resident doctor who often snuck into my room with questions about consciousness.
Thanks to those influences –from five years old onward– I have spent my entire life thinking about the act of thinking. I looked at every interaction between people and themselves and people and others and the world as all symptoms of thinking. In fact, that ongoing exercise was –and still is– so focused and pure, that for a very long time I failed to even notice that I was also inadvertently engaged in a lifetime of meditation on the nature of reality, the self, death and the meaning of life. I’m an accidental Buddhist, or Taoist or something but I speak from a Western perspective because I’m from Canada.
Added to that was the fact that while I was doing a lot of the more sophisticated thoughts about thinking, I was either writing characters for film or TV, or I was a television executive who analyzed other people’s stories and characters and that too, it turns out, is an inadvertent education in the study of the human ego. But the inadvertent part meant I didn’t really see all of these ideas as destined to converge. I was just doing research, not asking where it was leading.
It wasn’t until an experience I had while living in Budapest, Hungary that I realized how seriously other people take their thinking. It shocked me thoroughly. It was so obvious I had missed it. I thought I was helping people to understand what was happening and they thought I was saying crazy irrelevant things. But once I understood where they were coming from, that was also when I found out that sharing what I knew would be helpful to others.
Fortunately, my recognition of patterns in human communication allows me to listen for how a person processes reality so that I can then tailor my answers to suit how any given student acquires knowledge and awareness.
The reason tech companies are so interested in our emails and messages and texts and video chats are because, in our use of language, we inadvertently tell them who we are and what motivates us. Everyone analyses speech this way to a degree –it’s how you’re able to analyze a situation to realize an implied question has been asked, or how you can feel when the rhythm of a joke misses the mark.
The primary difference the accident made was that it’s lead me to spend more time conscious collecting experiences, and more dedicated to rigorously analyzing the results. And since all I need to be able to help a student are some major key vectors for each personality, I can see just enough patterns, and I have listened just long enough and hard enough to enough people, that I can now do enough of what some tech algorithms do that it can really help me to tailor my examples in ways that are often helpful to a student.
Very few people spend their entire life thinking about thinking. Since realizing that my awareness is helpful to others, I have dedicated myself to explaining what can be pretty abstract concepts. But I have found ways to simplify these ideas in ways that appear truly helpful to many people who seek to achieve (and re-achieve) greater levels of peace, clarity and happiness. And that is a fact that makes me very happy indeed. I believe if you choose to stick around, you are likely to find that the page will make you happier too. You are certainly welcome here.
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator.