“Things do not change; we change.”
~Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)
What Happens in the Brain When We Make Changes
Whenever we decide to make changes in our lives certain processes are set in motion. What happens? The thought of making a change is registered by the “mind” (whatever that is) and signals are sent to the brain. Once the signals go to the brain, the brain sends signals to the body. The degree to which these three factors are in sync determines how successful we will be in making that change.
Awareness Helps the Process
When we are aware of this process, it is easier for that sync-ing up or alignment to occur naturally. If the process of change gets stuck somewhere, if the flow is impeded, it helps to be able to recognize where the flow has stopped.
Think about it this way. You decide to send a package. That’s the “mind” working. The signals go into the brain, which is like a switchboard. The brain sends messages to the body: wrap the package, address the package, take it the post office, get in your car, go to the post office, get the right number of stamps and then give it to the postal worker. The body receives these messages and does what it needs to to complete the process of sending the package. The change has taken place.
Mind? Brain? Body? All Three?
Making a change in our lives is similar. We decide we need to lose weight. That happens in “mind.” (Remember that no one has come up with a definition of “mind” but we have an informal idea of what the “mind” is and what it does.) The messages begin to be received by the brain. The brain doesn’t really think. It simply follows instructions from the “mind.” (Still with me?)
Various parts of the brain begin to send messages to each other. What physical action needs to happen? Are there any danger signals? Any conflicts?
The brain sends signals to the body: “eat less,” “eat better food,” “get some exercise,” “reduce your stress,” “get plenty of rest,” etc.
All Messages Have to be In Alignment
When those messages get to the body, they have to all be in alignment, in sync, all poised to react together to accomplish the goal. If that is indeed the case, that everything is in sync, in alignment of purpose, the proper actions take place.
But, minds and brains and bodies are not that simplistic. In fact, minds, bodies and brains are kind of like little families. They have different agendas. They sometime fight with each other. What then?
This is where our awareness, our ability to analyze, our ability to recognize our own truths need to come together, like an executive committee, and figure out how to smooth out the kinks in the process.
There is Often Conflict Between Mind, Brain and Body
The mind is a virtual mine-field of conflict, isn’t it? That’s the first stumbling block. You want to lose weight but you don’t want to give up ice cream. You feel uncomfortable in your body and hate to look in the mirror but a little (perhaps immature) part of you doesn’t want to be deprived. Another part of your mind decides that the task is too difficult at this time and starts to balk. And then another part of your mind gets aggressive; “We have a class reunion to go to in three months. This is important. Get with the program.”
How “Mind” is Different from “Brain”
The mind, at this point, is unable to send clear, linear, direct signals to the brain. Remember, the brain itself is not really in conflict. It doesn’t think or feel. It’s our own inner Mr. Spock from Star Trek. Conflicting signals are sent to the brain and the brain gets confused. What messages get through to the body, in order for the body to take action? It’s anybody’s guess at this point.
That, in a very simplified example, is why the process of change is so difficult and so easily thwarted.
Direct Suggestions versus Indirect Suggestion in Hypnosis
This is why simple direct suggestion hypnosis generally has no real staying power. A person can believe he is chicken for fifteen minutes on a stage but it’s doubtful that he will think he is a chicken in an hour. We have to backtrack.
Examples of Conflicts
What are the conflicts in the “mind?” What is happening in the brain when it gets conflicting instructions? How is the brain handling those conflicting instructions? Is one part of the brain more easily convinced than another? Is there a special language to use for the brain?
What About the Body?
The body, itself, is pretty much a follower. It doesn’t lead. It doesn’t have ideas or preferences. It carries out orders unless the orders cause physical/emotional discomfort. Can we appeal to the body to ignore one signal and chose to follow another? Yes, we can. But how?
Need to Make Changes but Need Help?
Tune in to find out how to separate and identify these different “agendas” so that they cooperate, just like a family. They negotiate. They give up this if you give up that. They’ll go along with the program if there’s enough reward.
In the meantime, here’s to your success,
To your success always,