I did not know I held so much goodness.
Much as your body is built from the foods you eat, your mind is built from the experiences you have.
The flow of experience gradually sculpts your brain, thus shaping your mind.
Some of the results can be explicitly recalled:
This is what I did last summer; that is how I felt when I was in love.
But most of the shaping of your mind remains forever unconscious.
This is call implicit memory, and it includes your expectations, models of relationships,
emotional tendencies, and general outlook.
Implicit memory establishes the interior landscape of your mind--
what if feels like to be you--based on the slowly accumulating residues of lived experiences.
In a sense, those residues can be sorted into two piles:
those that benefit you and others,
and those that cause harm.
But, here's the problem.
Your brain referentially scans for, registers, stores, recalls,
and reacts to unpleasant experiences; it is like velcro for negative experiences
and teflon for positive experiences.
Consequently, even when positive experiences outnumber negative ones,
the pile of negative implicit memories naturally grows faster.
Then the background feeling of what it feels like to be you can become glum and pessimistic.
Negative experiences do have benefits:
loss opens the heart, remorse provides a moral compass, anxiety alerts you to threats, and anger spotlights wrongs that should be righted.
But do you really think you re not having enough negative experiences?
Emotional pain with no benefit to yourself or others is pointless suffering.
And pain today breeds more pain tomorrow.
For instance, even a single episode of
major depression can reshape circuits of the brain to make future episodes more likely.
The remedy is not to suppress negative experiences;
when they happen, they happen.
Rather, it is to foster positive experiences--
and in particular, to take them in
so they become a permanent part of you.
Buddha's Brain - Hanson & Mendius