Thursday, July 9, 2009

If you can't change, then what are you addicted to?

Hey Everyone,

So after I posted my last blogg, someone asked me "What do you do when you feel treated unfair, are nervous and about to explode?" Let me remind you that this question was posted in the context of using the power of language/thought, which creates the experience that follows.

Well, I'm not an expert here, but I can give it a shot :-). Like I mentioned in my last blogg, a lot of arguments take place for really no purposeful reason, meaning they are senseless and stupid. They don't contribute to anything. Most of the time it is simply the Ego acting up in "survival mode", and it will do anything to maintain its emotional survival and get the cognitive appraisal it seeks.

So, what are feelings? Where do they come from? Why do we have them? Why do they seem to control so much of our actions, our behavior, well, our life? I'm sure some of you have heard this before, that "we are not our feelings". If you want to find out who you truly are, you have to look beyond your emotions. Emotions are a separate entity, you are not your emotions. To some extend, I get it, but for my own personal purpose, I had to get a little bit more of a scientific explanation.

So here we go. I am almost done reading Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind
by Joe Dispenza. In his book, Joe Dispenza describes the studies he made of the human brain/mind, how it works, how it stores information and why it perpetuates the same behavioral pattern over and over. He talks about how to gain control over your mind and become an active participant in the creation of your life - from a scientific, neurological perspective. I'm going to keep this really short and simple, but I will have to establish a little bit of a context.

Every time we fire a thought in our head, nerve cells called "neurons" carry that message across the neural network, there the message gets translated into a chemical (call it the language of the body), that chemical produces a feeling or other physical reactions in the body (physical symptoms).

So to some extend we are predisposed with this forest of neural network that we inherited from our parents as well as our prior ancestors (we all know about our embedded fight or flight responses - a physical reaction that is genetically wired into our nervous system, thus ensuring the survival of the species). However, throughout the course of life we ourselves contribute and are responsible for adding new connections of neurons to our neural network, namely through the repetition of the same thought over and over again, until then new connections eventually "hardwire", making up a specific attitude, or state of mind. Your body, or your neurons are now part of an automatic, repetive cycle, constistenly releasing a cascade of chemicals into your body that mirrors your thought pattern. Over time, your body gets addicted to the release of these chemicals as these chemicals create a certain feeling in your body. So we could say that your fight and arguments could be considerate a neurological and chemical response from your body. The body has taken over, it has become the mind and is now doing the thinking for your mind. It is now giving orders to the brain when it needs a chemical fix, dominating and dictating your actions and behavior.

Your responses and your reactions are now becoming predictable, and you seem to remain the same person with the same neural network (thinking inside the box). This cycle is evident in the saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks", as he choses to stay hardwired in his "attitude", well, his neurological make-up. Think of it this way, your neurological physical map is a physical manifestation of your thought pattern. The longer you hold on to the same thoughts/state of mind/attitude/oppinion, the more hardwired you become, the more corresponding chemicals get released, the more addicted your body becomes to these chemicals, which then causes your body to signal back to the brain to manufacture more of the chemicals it needs for its fix so that you can feel better. If you can't change your emotional state, you may want to consider that you may have become addicted to a specific emotion. Have you ever thought about what it is that has you seek out the people and environment you do seek out? So then, does this mean that the people we create, attract, and love are the people that fulfill our bio-chemical/emotional need and addiction of feeling worthy, needed, loved, etc? That makes it sounds so selfish, doesn't it? However, I like Joe's question: "If you can't change, then what are you addicted to? What will you loose that you are chemically addicted to?"

So once we come to understand the way our mind and our body works we can start taking responsibility for bringing about change into our personality. After all it is a choice. You can choose differently once you have established that awareness that you can impact and affect your neurological make-up. You are not the victim of your emotions, emotions are simply a "result" of a chemical cascade taking place in your body, initiated by your thoughts/state of mind, or on a magnified level, by your attitude. In that light we can see that we are not our emotions and feelings. Once you no longer draw your identity from them, you will no longer be dominated by them. Old patterns in your brain will crumbl and give birth to a new self. That's why it is recommended to constantly stimulate your mind with something new, be it trough learning, reading, travelling, etc, anything that pushes your comfort zone, allowing you to expand and establish new neural networks. It just seems that makes for a far more interesting person to hang out with, doesn't it?

Initialy it will be hard to break this cycle, especially if you have been running the same program year after year. Your actions and behavior are dominated by the chemical addiction of your body. It's going to take quiet some conscious effort to rewire yourself. That's where philosophies and methods come in like positive thinking, meditation, visualization or mental rehearsal, praying, etc, essentially all of these methods are doing the same thing, you are using your creative mind to repattern and rewire your neurological make-up, hence create a new reality.

So, maybe we can say that "feeling treated unfair" stems from an emotional victim mentality that somehow accumulated from past experiences and conditioning. The challenge with a vicitim mentality is that we are becoming really good at telling the story and holding on to the mental concept of what's wrong in our life. However, you'll stay a victim as long as you allow for it to happen. Most of the times we can not change the other person, but we can take responsibility and take actions in many forms. I think "being nervous" could be considered the physical reaction of the emotional state that preceds it. So one either ought to change ones mentality and attitude about the person or situation, so not to harm and disrupt ones health and body, or take action and leave the person or sitution if it poses a dangerous thread. "Exploding" sounds like the last resort the Ego turns to as a form of reaction once it realizes it can't get what it wants, in other words, when your body is not getting its chemical fix.

Now, having said that, Ego sounds very much like the bio-chemical/emotional system described in Joe Dispenza's book, doesn't it? The term Ego seems to be the term coined in psychology, where as Joe conveys the same concept from a scientific/biological perspective. At the end of the day we all seem to be talking about the same thing, the only thing that is different is the language and terms that are being used, which is defined by whom is conveying the story, the philosopher, the preacher, the guru, the neuroscientist, etc.

Okay, looking foward to everyones thoughts, comments, feedback, etc.