Most people don’t like change. It’s not in our nature, more specifically it’s not in our neurochemistry because the brain is a habit machine. Here’s how it works.
Our life experiences create beliefs and emotions which create neural networks in the brain. These networks create a baseline, or comfort zone, that sets up our bodies’ neurochemistry. This baseline is maintained in feedback loops in our the neural networks, through current experiences, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Both internal and external inputs contribute to maintain and reinforce these patterns through repetition.
In order to feel stable, the brain looks for matches with the current experience of reality, its stored memory of patterns, and beliefs, thoughts, feelings and states of being. When a match is found, the brain recognizes it and we experience a feeling of comfort or familiarity. If our baseline is one of chaos, stress, anxiety, depression, addictions, toxic relationships, fear, etc., then this state of being needs to be maintained systemically, in order for us to feel okay.
Anything out-of-alignment with our baseline creates emotions that alert us to the mismatch. This signals the central nervous system to experience fear and anxiety. If anyone has ever experienced “free floating anxiety,” this is what’s happening in your own neurochemistry.
In addition to the baseline, there’s a also a brain matching process that evaluates the consistency or inconsistency between past events with current ones, AND current situations with projected positive or negative future outcomes. If the projected future outcomes are out of alignment with the baseline memory patterns, it causes feelings of fear and anxiety, because the brain isn’t designed for uncertainty.
For most of us, we have a lifetime of unconsciously reinforcing neural networks via habits of thinking, feeling, doing and being. For many of us, spirituality has given us some relief, yet it does not change the neural networks. The temporary relief is often followed by feelings of powerlessness and frustration, self doubt, you name it.
This is another reason why deep lasting change can be challenging. None of us are broken or alone in this behavior or journey. We are simply human beings dealing with the primary functions of the brain. This is the root of why we default back to our baseline comfort zone of old thinking and feeling, especially during periods of high stress.
I recently had an epiphany that the brains neural networks closely resemble the roots of a tree. I thought of the tree of life and all the beautiful symbology. What’s strikes me most is that neuroscientist have yet to discover where our consciousness lives. They have proven it does not live in the brain. I’m sure those of you reading this will have the same thought as I. Why of course it’s not the brain, it’s our soul essence of pure consciousness.
I believe the soul lives in the heart – that higher-consciousness and intuitive part that guides us. Interestingly, it allows us to have what science calls metacognition, the ability of the thinker to observer thoughts, the experiencer to observe the experience, the feeler to observe the feelings, and so on. Whose observing? Pure consciousness, that with which leaves our physical bodies upon death.
How do we truly create deep and lasting change? It’s called neuroplasticity, the brains ability to change and new neural networks to be created. What fires together wires together. We’ve got to be willing to change the root system which means networks must be pruned and others die off.
Science literally calls the stage of brain development in teens as pruning. We’ve got to create new and stronger roots (neuro networks) connected to our higher consciousness. We’ve got to uproot any beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and take new actions that reinforce our baseline. We can create a healthy new baseline that supports our higher selves and our highest good.
This is a conscious daily practice and it takes time to shift years of programming. Yet, here’s the great part. This is where our spiritual connection can assist. Meditation, mindfulness, journaling and most importantly, moving the body are also excellent ways to support yourself during the process. New learning and unlearning followed by action is key. If you can working with a partner, coach, mentor, etc. to keep you on track.
As the brain rewires, the ego deflates, and the soul essence fills up more and more space inside. As we do this we are literally creating a new personality which in turn creates a new personal reality. This is spiritual rebirth through the sacred alignment with our core values, beliefs and our soul essence. We become sovereign beings who get to choose which thoughts and feelings we attend to and values aligned next actions to take.
Neuroscience has changed my life in ways never thought possible. It’s a beautiful marriage of mind, body and spirit and provides an absolute pathway forward as the missing puzzle piece. As within so without. As above so below.
You can learn more about how you can transcend the limitations of the brain and transform your world at hmlcoaching.com.