“A mind filled with judgment, blame, and anger has trained the brain to favor those pathways,” writes Deepak Chopra in a recent blog titled A Path to Personal Forgiveness: Defeat the Three Dragons
We do in fact train the brain, and only in the past few years have we begun to understand how we train it, what we are training it to do and our potential for training it better.
Today we are witnessing extraordinary discoveries in neuroscience, unlocking the mechanisms and mysteries of the human brain. In his book SPARK, John Ratey, MD states, “What neuroscientists have discovered in the past 5 years alone paints a riveting picture of the biological relationship between the body, the brain, and the mind.”
There is serious reason to be excited here.
Slowly but surely, the undeniable evidence is emerging that we have misunderstood the nature of the human mind, and grossly underestimated its ability to self-govern and course correct in the moment. Like Galileo proving that the Earth was round, so too has our understanding been awakened.
The convergence of medical science, physical fitness, meditation, ancient philosophies and modern technologies has lifted us to a cognitive vista unseen before now. And what has this vista revealed?
Quite simply, that humans choose the reality they experience.
The first thing they choose is whether or not to believe they actually have this power of choice. Intentionally or unconsciously, people choose the way in which they see themselves and the world around them. But either way we choose.
A mindset of anger or fear trains the brain far differently than one of gratitude and optimism. Intuitively this make sense. If you two met two strangers on the street, one grateful and one angry, it would be easy to differentiate the two.
What has not been so easy up until now is to recognize the degree of control and influence we have over our prevailing mindset; the actual moment-to-moment ability to either sustain or switch any current state of mind. The nature of our mindset, good or bad, is not imposed upon us, but created by us.
Think about that for a minute. We are not the recipient of any state of mind, but in fact its originator.
With patience and persistence, we can train ourselves to train our brains in the manner of our choosing. How?
By understanding that reality means getting angry, but only through choice do we stay angry.
By understanding that reality means you will fail, but only through choice do we persevere and soldier on.
By understanding that reality is tough, but if we choose it toughens us.
We can train our brains to see us for who we are now, and break from the habit of labeling us as someone that we were in the past.
The power of the human mind is not static but emergent. It controls us only in the absence of our control over it. Everywhere we look, we can see the toddler of modern intelligence struggling to gain its balance.
The food is not eating us.
The booze is not drinking us.
The cigarettes are not smoking us.
Our dreams aren’t abandoning us.
Our jobs are not overworking us.
Our happiness is not evading us.
We choose. Consider the implications of refining such a magnificent ability.