I invite you to have a single thought, any thought. Whether you choose to think of feeling angry, sad, inspired, joyful or even sexually aroused, you’ve changed your body. You changed you. Even thoughts like, “I can’t,” “I’m not good enough, “No one cares,” or even “I love you,” have the same measurable effects. As you sit casually reading this magazine, without moving a single muscle, bear in mind that your body is capable of a host of dynamic changes. By thinking your most recent thought, did you know that suddenly your pancreas and your adrenal glands are already busy secreting a few new hormones? Adrenal glands, where are they? Like a sudden lightning storm, different areas of your brain just surged with increased electrical current, and you made a mob of neuro-chemicals that are too numerous to name. Your spleen and your thymus gland are sending out a mass e-mail to your immune system to make modifications. Several different gastric juices are now flowing. Your liver is now processing enzymes that were not present moments before. Your heart rate is modified, your lungs are changing their stroke volume and blood flow to the capillaries in your extremities is now different. All from just thinking one thought. You are that powerful.
Memories, Habits, Fantasies, Fears, Hopes, Skills
Everything that makes us up; the “you” and the “me”- our thoughts, our dreams, our memories, our hopes, our secret fantasies, our fears, our skills, our habits, our pains and our joys – is etched in the living lattice work of 100 billion brain cells. If you learn even one bit of information today, tiny brain cells will make new connections between them, and who “you” are will be altered.
The images that we create in our mind as we process different streams of consciousness leave footprints in the vast endless fields of neurological landscape, which contribute to the identity called “you.” For the “you” as a sentient being is immersed and truly exists in the interconnected electrical web of cellular brain tissue. How our nerve cells are specifically arranged by what we learn, what we remember, what we experience, what we feel, what we envision, as well as what we think about ourselves defines us individually and it is reflected in our internal neurological wiring. We are a work in progress.
Here is what I mean. According to the working model of neuroscience, mind is the brain in action. Mind is the brain at work. It is the product of brain activity when it is animated with life. With 100 billion nerve cells seamlessly wired together, it becomes apparent that we can produce many different levels of mind.
For example, the mind we use to treat patients is different than the state of mind we use to drive our car. We make the brain work differently when we brush our teeth compared to when we play the violin. Equally, we make a different mind when we play the victim in contrast to when we demonstrate joy. All of this is so because we can, quite simply, force gangs of nerve cells to fire in unique ways.
Not more than thirty or forty years ago, there was a unanimous belief in biology that the brain was hardwired, meaning that we are born with a certain amount of neurological connections and the finality in life was that we were going to turn out like our parents. It was an accepted perception that this delicate organ was unable to upscale its hardware. But with the advent of the latest technologies in functional imagery it is apparent that it is very possible to make the brain work differently. In fact, the research out of the University of Wisconsin has proven something as simple as attention or focused concentration is a skill just like golf or tennis. In other words, the more you practice being conscious or mindful the better you get at it.
In addition, functional imagery has clearly proven that we can also change the brain just by thinking differently. For example, people that never played the piano were divided into groups. (2) The first group physically played one-handed finger exercises like scales and cords, and as a result of the new activity, their brains changed. The before and after results of the functional brain scans showed new areas of the brain activated. In essence, not only did they make a new mind, literally new brain circuits flourished.
However, when a second group was asked to mentally rehearse the same scales and cords in their mind for the same amount of time, they grew the same amount of brain connections as the group who physically demonstrated the activity. Simply put, when we are truly focused and attentive, the brain does not know the difference between what is happening in our minds eye and what is happening in the external world.
Other research has proven similar results not only in the brain but in the body as well. These tests have shown that there is veritable a mind-body connection—in fact, the mind changed the body. In one study, subjects who were asked to do a finger exercise against the resistance of a spring over the course of four weeks for an hour a day showed a 30 percent increase in muscle strength. (3) Nothing special here. However, the second group never lifted a finger. They mentally practiced the same activity for the same length of time and demonstrated a 22 percent increase in muscle strength without any physical activity.
This research is significant because it clearly showed that the body as well as the brain changed before the experience of really pulling the spring. In other words, without touching the spring or physically doing the exercise, the body was stronger to reflect a mental effort not a physical effort. These two studies show that physical changes can occur by our thoughts, our intentions, and our meditations.
So, when you take the time out of your busy schedule and begin to intentionally dream a new reality, plan a new life, set a new practice goal, or design a new event for you to experience in your future, just remember that your brain is rewiring itself to your desires and your body is being reconditioned in order to prepare itself for that new event. Therefore, if you would mentally rehearse daily what it would be like to experience any event (just like the piano players), there would be internal changes taking place as if you were already beginning to experience your dream.
By applying this understanding to the quantum model, which states that our subjective mind has an effect or control over our objective world (consciousness creates reality), we can begin to explore the idea that if our brain and our bodies are evidencing physical changes to look like the experience has already happened as a result of our mental efforts well before the physical manifestation has occurred, then theoretically the experience will find us!
By Dr. Joe Dispenza
As seen in Science to Sage E-Magazine
Dream a New Reality
Current neuro-scientific theory tells us that the brain is organized to reflect everything we know in our environment. The different relationships with people we have met, the variety of things we own and are familiar with, the cumulative places we have visited and have lived in, and the myriad of experiences we have embraced throughout our years are all configured in the soft plastic tissues of the brain. Even the vast array of actions and behaviors that we’ve repeatedly performed throughout our lifetime is also tattooed in the intricate folds of our gray matter. For the most part, our brain is equal to our environment.
In a normal day, as we respond to familiar people, as we encounter common things in known places at predictable times, and as we experience recurring conditions in our personal world, we will more than likely think and behave in automatic memorized ways. To change, then, is to think and act greater than our present circumstances. It is to think greater than our environment.
We have been told that our brains are essentially hardwired with unchangeable circuitry— that we possess or, better put, are possessed by a kind of neurorigidity that is reflected in the type of inflexible and habitual behavior we often see exhibited. The truth is that we are marvels of flexibility, adaptability, and a neuroplasticity that allows us to reformulate and re-pattern our neural connections to produce the kind of behaviors that we want. We have far more power to alter our own brains, our behaviors, our personalities, and ultimately our reality than previously thought possible. Consider those individuals in history who have risen above their present circumstances, stood up to the onslaught of reality as it presented itself to them, and made significant changes.
For example, the Civil Rights Movement would not have had its far-reaching effects if someone like Martin Luther King, Jr., had not, despite all the evidence around him (Jim Crow laws, separate but equal accommodations, snarling attack dogs, and powerful fire hoses), believed in the possibility of another reality. Though Dr. King phrased it in his famous speech as a “dream,” what he was really promoting and living was a better world where everyone was equal. How was he able to do that? Simply put, he saw, felt, heard, lived and breathed a different reality in his mind than most other people at that time. It was the power of his vision that convinced millions of the justness of his cause. The world has changed because of his ability to think and act greater than conventional beliefs.
Not only did King consistently keep his dream alive in his mind, he lived his life as if his dream was already unfolding. The idea was so alive in his mind that there was a good possibility that his brain “looked as if the experience had already happened.”
Neuroscience has proven that we can change our brains just by thinking differently. Through the concept of mental rehearsal (to repeatedly imagine performing an action), the circuits in our brains can reorganize themselves to reflect our very intentions. In one study, people who mentally rehearsed one-handed finger exercises two hours a day for five days demonstrated the same brain changes as people who physically performed the same movements.1 To put this into perspective, when we are truly focused and single minded, the brain does not distinguish between the internal world of the mind and the external environment.
This type of internal processing allows us to become so involved in our dreams and internal representations that the brain will modify its wiring without having had experienced the actual event. When we change our minds independent of environmental cues and then steadfastly insist on
The spinal cord acts as a ‘fiber optic’ cable that conveys impulses from the brain to other parts of the body and relays messages from the body back to the brain.
At the end of Part I, I mentioned that when the neocortex becomes suppressed, the brain moves into a theta brainwave state, and as a result, this causes an increase of energy in the limbic brain. The limbic brain is the seat of the autonomic nervous system (the brain’s automatic self-regulatory system) and the part of the brain where the pineal gland is located. This is the region of the brain that receives information not through the senses, but like a radio receiver, in the form of frequency.
Topics: The Brain
When we lose our curiosity and get caught in the same patterns of thinking and feeling—whether we’re talking about the brain, the body, or even reality—we tend to think what we know is what is. But as human beings make new discoveries and realize we don’t know everything, our construct of understanding causes us to think differently, and as a result, we change our scientific model. Such is the case with new research coming out of the Salk Institute and the University of California San Diego.
Topics: The Brain