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Disciplining The Brats in the Back Seat

February 7, 2020


Imagine your life is a road trip.

You're driving but there are

a half-dozen children in the

back seat making a rukus.

from Oct 27, 2019
by Henry Makow PhD

Most of you don't want to read about training the mind, but if you suffer from nervous anxiety as I do, you had better listen up.

A good way to "be present" is to imagine that you are on a car trip. The thoughts that make you anxious are like your children in the back seat.

There's little Hank who's always in a hurry. "Are we there yet?" "Are we there yet?"

Hank doesn't live in the present. He lives in the future. So naturally, he is rushing to get there. He's impatient.

Quotes_on_Life.jpgThere is Debbie Downer who fixates on the negative. How did she ever become so ungrateful? Despite what evil people are doing, we live in a consumer's paradise. We have everything we need to be super happy.

There's a pimply teenager Bryce who sees the opposite sex not as human beings but in terms of their sex appeal.

There's greedy Jimmy for whom "enough is always a little more."

You get the picture. Even though our thoughts are a bunch of little brats, we rarely identify them as such.

On the contrary, we identify with them and let them take the wheel.

Even though they are children, we make no effort to discipline and bring them up properly.

We have no concept of "mind work."  This "inner work," -- wrestling with the petty, lazy, greedy thoughts in order to improve ourselves i.e. self-discipline -- is what makes life challenging. disciplines self. If we stop, we have no purpose and want to kill ourselves.

Life constantly presents challenges. Today, in an email, Linda accused me of being "a Jesuit." 

"Spirit has revealed to me you are a Jesuit shill. I did enjoy your articles and I thank you. Now I understand why they have left you alone."

My brat Louis wanted to tell her where to go. I am not a shill just because I focus on the bankers. 

But the driver intervened and reminded Louis that we have been put on earth to express God's love. So I didn't reply.


I am not optimistic about a collective solution -- given the banker stranglehold over every aspect of society. This is a shame because
mankind has risen out of the muck, only to fall back.

What if we are the highest form of life in the universe? What if God is counting on us?

At the same time, mankind has an eternity to get it right. As individuals, we don't.

The Kingdom of Heaven lies within. Life is a Miracle. Every day a precious gift.

Let's be adults and not let the children spoil the ride. Let's grow up. 


Related - We Suffer from Mental Illness (Marijuana Edible Could Save the World) 
-----------  Thinking is a Bad Habit
------------ What's the Hurry?

Scruples - the game of moral dillemas

Comments for "Disciplining The Brats in the Back Seat"

Ben T said (October 29, 2019):

I loved the metaphor of the back seat brats and thoughts that don't serve. Well done. Re: the Jesuit accusation, I'm as flummoxed as you are. People in life show up somewhere on the bell-shaped curve - this lady is basking in her own certainty somewhere out on one of the fat tails. I'm happy you let it go.

Eric said (October 28, 2019):

Apropos of your affirmation of our tasks to minister love to others (and ourselves), I wanted to share my favorite reading: The Elder Zosima's Brother by Eric Golub

I'm a financial professional for a living but have been a very diversified musician/recording artist all of my life. Recently I began reading scriptures aloud, both for the spiritual benefit of hearing them said as well as of saying them, and so that others might enjoy and benefit by hearing them read aloud (in a contemporary or intimate way, not the formal, old-fashioned way most scripture readings have been done in the past).

But certain passages in Dostoevsky (who is so great and honest that it's amazing he hasn't been forced down the memory hole forever) really moved me so much that I had to apply this technique to them. Here's the best one, which I feel challenges even the most fervent "Christian" with its message. The choking up and fighting of tears is unfeigned here -- and I react similarly when I listen to this recording of mine.

The Elder Zosima's Brother by Eric Golub
"From the Life of the Elder Zosima" first passage, from Fyodor Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" (Pevear/Vol...

"We are all guilty before everyone, for everything!" "We are in paradise, but won't see it!"


Eric in California (considering soon escaping permanently from that embattled state).
Thanks for sharing!Beautiful.Love it!

Rolph said (October 28, 2019):

In our convoluted world today, discipline seems to be a lost in a politically correct society that seems to be more interested in conformity

and compromise than truth and correction. Most of us older folks know the saying: "Spare the rod, spoil the child". But that proverb was also cast along the wayside with the Ten Commandments together with
these: Prov.23:13, 29:15. Humanist philosophy has brought society where it is today and the prospect for our future generation does not look as bright as our past.

MK said (October 28, 2019):

I am from Papua New Guinea, an island country just north of Australia. I am a Christian. I want to thank you for opening my eyes through your articles to understand the Bible more practically and historically.

I have read and enjoyed all your articles. Each day I look forward to reading your articles. I have also copied and shared some of them with my friends. God has blessed you with a sharp mind and a unique ability to dissect and decipher geopolitical conundrums and reveal truth in a simple way for any one with a lower level of education to understand.

Your article "Disciplining the Brats in the Back Seat reminds me of an experience I had in 1991 when I was at university.

As I did every morning, I was praying to God one morning at about 4.00 am, and expressed how much I loved him. I could hear him speak within me that I did not love him. I then asked what I must do to love him. He said I have to keep all my thoughts on him. In other words, my mind must be on him and think only of him and nothing else every minute every day. I asked him why? He explained that a concentrated thought is more powerful and productive than a dispersed thought, which makes a person weak and unproductive and lead one to sin easily and not please him. He said if I thought of nothing else but him only, then he would control all my five senses and steer me in the right path, and I will not be tempted, leading me into sin. I then asked him to give me a Bible verse that will confirm what I was hearing was truly from him. He led me to read Romans 8:1-5, but especially verse 5 wherein it is revealed that setting our minds on the things of the Spirit sets us free from the mental bondage we are in by setting our minds on the things of the flesh. I asked God to explain to me the things of the Spirit and the things of the flesh.

He led me to read Galatians 5:16-26, but especially 19-22 wherein it is clearly explained that adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and so on are the things of the flesh, and love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control are things of the Spirit, and against such things there is no law.

I complained to God that no man in the world could think of nothing else but him every minute every day. It was impossible. But, I prayed, if he was willing to take over my mind and make me think of him every minute every day, then I was willing to surrender myself to him.

So, I prayed a prayer of surrender and asked God to take complete control of my thoughts.

He did! From then on, my student life was like living in heaven on earth. In fact, when one of our professors asked me how I was one morning, I replied sincerely that I was living in heaven on earth.

My mind did not think of anything of the flesh but all the things of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:19-22). My studies improved. An assignment which would normally take one day to do, I completed it in half a day; what I used to do in one hour was completed in 30 minutes. When a student insulted me and said I was ugly, I calmly replied and said his comment was against the one who made me so I had nothing else to say. He was shocked by my calm reply. Later he apologised. I told him that he said nothing against me because I was not the one who made me. He had to apologise to the one who made me.

I lived it. If and when we set our minds on the things of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, long-suffering, faithfulness, self-control), and not on the things of the flesh, we will live in heaven on earth. I am the witness. I know what I am talking about. I ask you and your readers to try.

Markus said (October 28, 2019):

Thank you Henry

For todays words.
You really set the record straight and saved this day.
And hopefully every day of this week!

Essel said (October 28, 2019):

Of course you have to discipline your thinking. The whole question is to know according to which principles and which end ("in omnibus respisce finem", in everything look at the end).

To want to answer oneself (in fact to repeat what the demon says) is very exactly to reproduce the original sin, to determine oneself what is right and what is wrong.
The Almighty and omniscient God has obviously provided us with the answer through His Church.
We must PRACTICE VERTUS, theological (Faith, Esperance and Charity, all things that are precisely defined and not left to everyone's discretion), and CARDINAL VERTUS (prudence, justice, strength and temperance).

In other words, to know and apply its catechism (uncorrupted, prior to 1959), for example the Catechism of the Council of Trent (, precisely written in response to the offensive led by the "Reform".

But, it will be said that it is beyond our strength! Yes, certainly by our strengths alone, because of our native weakness; in fact, no thanks to the reception of the Sacraments, precisely designed to compensate for this weakness.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at