Now that I’ve digested ‘The Female Brain’ and ‘The Male Brain’ books (both highly recommended), let’s move on to how we can use our mind to actually change the brain (regardless of gender). What is “the mind,” after all? Well, that is a question that has been debated for centuries, long before and after the advent of psychology.
Most biologists still maintain that the so-called mind is but a function of brain chemistry, a product of the brain. Introspective mystics, on the other hand, have maintained that the mind is bigger than the brain, and in fact is part of the creative matrix that created the brain. This is a big topic, and my latest research book, entitled ‘Buddha’s Brain,’ sheds much light on the subject.
Furthermore, after explaining brain chemistry behind happiness, depression, desires, anxieties, etc., the book goes into the many ways that we can intentionally use our mind to affect our own brain chemistry, and so much more … fascinating!
New research in neuroscience has proven that fear thoughts are considerably stronger and “stickier” than happy thoughts, because the survival instincts of the primitive parts of our brain are primed much more for avoidance than approach, “because it’s the negative experiences, not the positive ones, that have generally had the most impact on survival.”
The good news is that simple awareness meditation techniques can balance this “negativity bias” by increasing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in the brain (exercise is good too … Buddha and Jesus did quite a bit of walking!). “When you understand why you feel nervous, annoyed, hassled, driven, blue or inadequate, those feelings have less power over you. This by itself can bring some relief.”
There’s way too much new wisdom in this book to cover in a blog, but I will leave you with one last tidbit — about skillful speech: “When you speak, keep coming back to your own experience — notably, your emotions, body sensations, and underlying hopes and wishes — rather than talking about events, such as the other person’s actions, and your opinions about them. No one can argue with your experience; it is what it is, and you are the world’s expert on it … practice noncontention … don’t argue unless you have to. Inside your own mind, try not to get swirled along by the mind-streams of other people.
Your ill will always harms you, but often it has no effect on the other person; as they say in twelve-step programs: resentment is when I take poison and wait for you to die.”
How fortunate we are in that, by using simple techniques, we can learn to be in charge of our brain instead of the other way around … good luck to all of us in this life-changing practice!