Ministry of Me

Ministry of Me

In this activity, you will consider yourself as much, much bigger than one person. Your mind is an entire government of Ministers. And you are as important as an entire country.

Just as ministers in parliament have different ideas and goals, so do the ideas and mind-states in your head. It does not make any of the ministers inherently bad, they just have different priorities.

Example: Perhaps Minister of Health wants you to exercise and eat well, while the Minister of Indulgence or Good Fun wants to do something else? Maybe the Minister of Family wants you to visit your folks, while the Minister of Solitude wants you to hide in your room?

We all have conflicting desires running through our heads. Our job is to sort through them and decide which of them to act on. Your Ministry of Me will be a constant work in progress.

Exercise

  1. Throughout the week, pay attention to the wants and desires running through your head.
  2. Write down specific names for ministers and their desires eg: Minister of Health wanting you at the gym, Minister of Finance telling you to save money, Minister of Fun telling you to party, Minister of NarcissismĀ telling you to fix your hair…etc
  3. Do any of your ministers feel wrong or lead you astray often? If so, circle them.
  4. In the future, make sure to question advice from these ministers.
  5. Do any of these ministers seem to give generally good advice, leading to positive action and feelings of wellness? If so, put a star beside them.
  6. In the future, try listening more to advice from the starred ministers.
  7. When the week concludes, reflect: Was it helpful to notice the different desires and ministers in your mind?

Remember, you can’t control the yearnings in your mind, but you can decide which ones you heed and act on. Over time, if you cease to listen to ministers offering poor advice, they will stop talking as loudly.

Sources

  • Competing modules of the mind, a concept from Evolutionary Psychology – eg: Robert Wright discusses in his book Why Buddhism is True
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