We used to think the mind worked like a filing cabinet. We were given information and we would assign it to a particular file in our mental cabinet. When we needed to retrieve the information, we would reach into the appropriate file and pull it out.
Now we understand the mind works much more like a picture gallery. We hold onto our memories not in lines of data but in images. If I ask you to think of an important day, say the day you got your driver’s license, you don’t think back on it as, Roman numeral 1: I woke up. Roman numeral 2: I got dressed to get my license.
No, you think back to the moment when you first saw your face laminated on the new card.
Most of our important memories in life are recorded as images. What makes these images both unique and important is they don’t just hang on the walls of our minds for us to see and recall from time to time. Instead, these images work more like stained-glass windows we look through to view the world around us. The windows not only determine how we see the world, they filter what we see as well.
All of us have a mind full of these stained-glass windows we’ve constructed over our lives. We have pictures of all kinds of things: ourselves, Christ, the universe, our families, truth, and goodness—really everything we encounter in our world and in ourselves.
The reason these windows are so important is we literally view the world outside of us and everything within us through these stained-glass windows. These windows will both distort and enhance how we see the world around us. As a result, they will determine how we live in the world. In other words, if you want to change, you have to change the windows in your mind.