I first ran across the term, “Mind Trap,” in a book entitled, “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World,” by Harry Browne. A mind trap is any thought pattern that you are stuck in.
Sometimes mind traps are of our own making. We get stuck thinking a certain way, frequently in a “this or that” state of mind. It’s what I call, “Failing to see the third possibility” in a situation. In the libertarian movement, this is sometimes referred to as the “left-right paradigm.” And, it applies to more than just political thought. It can be applied to everything.
Other mind traps are a result of our upbringing. Many people believe what they do simply because that is what they were told as children. They never thing to question the validity of childhood teachings. They don’t dare question parental or church authority.
Other mind traps are a result of our particular culture. In every country people are stuck in different sets of mind traps. They are the result of commonly held beliefs. Or, they are they exist because of certain frequently-repeated catch phrases that people hear so often that the believe them even when they are obviously at odds with other commonly held beliefs or reality.
The key to unlocking mind traps is to first recognize them. Do this be taking the trouble to examine your own beliefs, where they came from and why you hold them. If you find that these beliefs came from a source other than your own reasoning, then this is a possible mind trap.
Important mind traps revolve around moral codes that are not your own. It is important to discover who you are without a set of arbitrary rules governing you. This is a frightening concept if you’ve never come face to face with yourself before because you’ve been stuck in a morality trap of some kind. But, it is important to either establish your own moral code or toss the concept of a code aside, altogether, and simply live a life driven by your own free will. If you are a good person at your core, there is no danger in this whatsoever. And, it is very satisfying to escape such a trap.
Another major trap is the government trap. It is the idea that you must obey any and every law. This is an important trap not to fall into because so much of government is completely immoral and evil by nature. Therefore, to escape this mind trap, you must determine on a case by case basis if you choose to obey particular laws. Of course, you’ll want to keep the possible consequences of doing so in mind. Engaging in civil disobedience is an example of escaping the government mind trap.
Another important mind trap to escape is that you need to be anyone but yourself, serve anyone but yourself or do anything special to be valuable. Simply being is enough. You do not have to be constantly doing to be worthwhile.
There are many other mind traps you’ll discover as you begin to live a self-examined life in this way. You will see that you have a lot of thoughts that are not your own. To escape the mind traps, you have to confront those thoughts as they enter your mind. Determine if it is your own belief or if it has been planted there by some outside source. Recognize these unwanted thoughts and destroy them by thinking and acting independently.