Men ought to know that from nothing else but the brain come joys, delights, laughter and sports, and sorrows, griefs, despondency, and lamentations. And by the same organ we become mad and delirious, and fears and terrors assail us, some by night, and some by day.
The further I dig into the recesses of the human mind, the more amazed I am by how we humans have excelled so rapidly in technological advancements, yet in the most crucial area of our individual and collective lives, our evolution has been almost non-existent.
For thousands of years, we have ceaselessly passed down our biases, beliefs (usually poor ones), habits, grudges, points of view, likes and dislikes, prejudices, and limited thinking to the next generation. Even more incredible is that we do it without much, if any, consideration for its incalculable impact. If you look at the history of mankind or pick up a newspaper on any given day, you’ll see that we are still as war-mongering, insecure, and bigoted as the barbaric tribes of cavemen using chisels and stones to bop each other on the head. Our scientific and material strides are impressive, but our behavioral and emotional development has not remotely kept pace.
How can that be?
We arrive in the womb as a relatively clean slate. We don’t have points of views on anything. But as soon as we pop out, our impressionable little brains are downloading other people’s programming. Instead of creating a fresh and positive paradigm for the newbie, a child arrives to a default program of the world’s crusty, worn out patterns and beliefs.
I’ve noticed in my own life that no matter the well-planned, researched action I take towards my dreams, my results are less than stellar. I keep falling back into a “default mode”–a sort of malaise of the mind. I’ve tried many techniques to shift my consciousness, but my progress is slow. So I asked myself, what would bring about a profound and permanent change in my brain and in my life? And in the world at large.
I’ve tried affirmations many times before because every spiritual teacher states that our thoughts create our reality–and it never made any difference. But I dug a little deeper. The way we normally do affirmations is to repeat them once in the morning and maybe again before bed. We get no results and then decide it doesn’t work, so we quit. It dawned on me that if it took decades to create a bad habit, belief or thought pattern, we are not going fix it with a couple of weak repetitions a day. The brain does not operate on a flip switch.
In a Neville Goddard book, I read about the technique Hitler used to sway the Germans to his agenda. If you think about it, it’s mind-boggling that he convinced an entire nation to follow and believe in his utter insanity. Apparently, he was a master at understanding the nature of persuasion over the human mind. He inundated his people with his image on billboards, radio messages, blaring missives in squares, repetitive phrases he had them recite, etc. And the rest is horrifying history.
Hitler targeted the reptilian brain. This is the same intention advertisers, the media, and politicians typically set by stirring fear, scarcity, panic, aggression, and devaluation of self. And it got me thinking of how I could put this technique to use in a positive way. What about targeting the neocortex where higher thinking resides?
I’ve written about the inner critic before. I did more research on self-talk—that endless stream of unspoken thoughts that swirl through your mind all day long. Positive self-talk is more than a confidence groupie. From a neuroscience angle, it’s more like internal rewiring. Your self-talk is like a roadmap of the direction of your life.
A woman I sometimes chat with at the coffee shop came in one day with an eye problem. Something in the back of her eyes was constricted and causing her vision to blur and was giving her debilitating headaches. I know she has been in a dysfunctional relationship with an addict, so I asked her what she wasn’t seeing. She poo-pooed that idea and said it was strictly a physical problem. In a follow-up conversation she mentioned that for the past couple of months she’s been asking herself, what am I not seeing, what I am not getting? Repetitively. “Ah ha!” I said. It was interesting to watch her face when she realized what her self-talk had potentially generated.
If we keep reiterating, both in thought and in conversation, how sick we are, or how broke we are, or how hopeless life seems, we will undeniably drag our sorry asses right down the drain.
Dr. Shad Helmstetter, a behavioral researcher, puts it this way:
Our thoughts create our beliefs.
Our beliefs determine our attitudes.
Our attitudes create our feelings.
Our feelings determine our actions.
Our actions determine whether we succeed or fail.
My own self-talk is less than luminous. So, I began Affirmation Boot Camp. I’m talking bombardment. Repetition. Positive propaganda. Images. And a mind movie.
I’m in the process of experimenting on myself to test results. One thing I know for sure is that when I do this religiously, my energy increases and my mood lifts. I feel more loving towards others, because I’m repeating loving affirmations to myself. People respond to me in a gentler, more welcoming way. And small gifts, synchronicities, and interesting happenstances show up.
The first week I started, I was doing simple affirmations like “I love and approve of myself”, “I am beautiful”, “I am inspired”, etc. I asked life to show me that this stuff works, for some kind of proof. I’ll preface this by saying that in Calgary, Alberta, Canada—the land of ‘Youth Rules’—this kind of back-to-back feedback has not been the norm. And my typical self-talk about aging has also been less than kind.
Within four days, firstly, a handsome young Cuban man looked me in the eyes and said the words, “you are beautiful” and proceeded to hit on me all night at a concert, much to the amusement of my friends.
Next, a waitress complimented me on my hair and when she came back to the table said, “Is there anything else I can get you, Beautiful?” My girlfriend nearly fell on the floor.
After that a friend gave me a random gift and in it was two face masks and a card that read, “To enhance the beauty that you already are.”
Following that, my Latino neighbor popped his head in my car and pretended to take a photo saying, “I’d like to take a mental snapshot of you. If you were in a convertible I’d be drooling!”
And then when I walked in to see a client I’ve called on for two years he said, “You look good enough to eat!” (Red face, red face!) The point is, I got enough evidence to keep working at it.
So why hasn’t human behavior evolved parallel to our level of technological advancement?
Unfortunately the masses (yours truly included) live too much of the time in the part of the brain where survival, fear, compulsion, and greed thrives. Dwelling here keeps us stuck. It blocks creativity and the connection to the inherent power within. It’s where we spin our wheels in analysis, paralysis, and obsessive thinking. The lizard brain is what keeps man in the state we currently see in the world and the feeding of this inner beast is pandemic. It does nothing to further our cause or radically alter the course of history.
I am proving to myself that the rewiring of a brain takes first and foremost, awareness. Then constant vigilance and repetition. Basically, brainwashing. We must consciously reject the disempowering messages we are being fed continuously. It takes guts and inner strength to stand against what our parents, our culture, our religion, TV, friends, and colleagues hurl at us as truth. We need to be our own cheerleader. And that requires a lot of inner work, something most of us don’t really want to persevere with. Our brains want us to stick to the road well travelled in our neuron circuitry. It might be painful, but it’s easy.
What if we committed to reprogramming the brain the way we commit to our passions and obsessions?
If our individual self-talk was life affirming, we would not be invading other countries, robbing and killing our neighbors, scratching and clawing our way to the top, or decreeing death to anyone with different beliefs. We would not poison the earth for money, which we can’t take with us anyway. We would not have an overburdened medical system and depression would decline.
I would love to know the true potential of a child–any child–if he or she was given programs from birth that were downloads of positivity. What if children were given tools on how to self-talk in a way that empowers them rather than tearing down their fragile little egos? From a neuroscience perspective, what if they were taught how to wire their minds in a way that would enable them to reach the pinnacle of their greatest self in a gentle and self-loving manner?
And aside of the practical, what if children were nurtured with the notion of endless possibilities, miracles, manifestation, and that life holds magic? Instead of either repeating a mantra of “we can’t afford that” or handing them their every wish on a silver platter, what if we taught them how to manifest what they want through thought, visualization, and their own efforts?
The brain is malleable. If we chose to starve the reptilian brain, stave off the media’s bullshit, and let the higher self feast on a cornucopia of inner (and outer) dialogue that made us feel happy, whole, and secure, our evolution out of madness would rise and … oh, the places we would go!
Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
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Post © Wanda St.Hilaire
Need more information on rewiring? Here are some peeps to find on YouTube or with good books to read.
Dr. Joe Dispenza* (my hero)
Dr. Shad Helmstetter
Dr. David Hamilton