Metacognition with Dr. Dispenza on Ted Talk

Joe tedtalk.jpgThis morning I saw Dr. Joe Dispenza’s Ted Talk presentation on neuroplasticity and rewiring our brains (cortical remapping) to change our behaviors. I think it was called “Thinking to Doing to Being.” (The location is: https://www.facebook.com/DrJoeDispenzaOfficialNewsFanPage/videos/2122965437728839/  )

Because I have previously commented on this aspect of “Whatever you think, IS—so change your thinking to reflect what you want” I’ll include the link if anyone wants to see it, and I’ll make a few more comments per Dr. Dispenza’s TT advice.

He began by explaining the functions of the 3 main parts of the brain: the neocortex3 parts of brain.jpg (the thinking brain), the limbic (mammalian/emotions/feeling) brain, and the cerebellum (the subconscious/reptilian) brain.  When all parts are functioning optimally and are in coordination with each other, we are in optimal mental health and can direct the course of our lives as we wish.

However, when what we think and what we feel are out of line with each other—like when a disturbing memory association and corresponding body reaction because of it counters our intentions to better control our present-day actions, then we feel we have no control over our lives—we automatically react to everything around us. We become stressed, we lose our temper, we act fearful for no visible reason, etc., and then we tend to blame others for our inability to control ourselves.

brain neuropla.jpgBut humans have an amazing ability to actually observe our thinking/acting processes. It is called metacognition—we can become consciously aware of ourselves and our reactions to life through observation—by pulling back to watch how our mind and our body are trying to take us in a direction we really don’t want to go, and then tracing the behavior back to the trigger point that created the reaction.  When we go into observation mode we can simply watch ourselves being WHO we are being—watch how we are reacting to the stimuli before us—even observe our thoughts at the moment to see what we are automatically thinking when a trigger subject arises. It is self-observation and reassessment before automatic reaction.

The importance of this is that in the ability to simply observe ourselves through metacognition, we then have the opportunity to change our previously-patterned behavior.

Dr. Dispenza went into depth on when you maintain the observer of how you are reacting stance rather than automatically react, you change the neuron-firing patterns of your brain’s neocortex enough so that you actually disrupt the limbic brain’s emotion-charged, chemical reactions to the same subject matter. By doing this you are diffusing the chemical effect that it would normally have on your endocrine system which controls the specific chemicals released into your blood stream like the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands that triggers our natural fight-or-flight response.create your future.jpg

Auto-reactions are carefully created neuropathways in the brain established by patterns of reaction and behavior. “Circuits that fire together, wire together,” he says. “So change your thinking, and you can change your body’s reaction to your environment.”

When you can shift to observer/non-reactive mode and choose how you wish to respond to a situation, you begin to biologically breakdown the old circuits earlier created in your brain that were connected to your old way of reacting to life stressors.  This makes your brain neurons start firing in new sequences and new patterns so that what once might have sparked a stress reactor in you, now is recognized as a trigger that you no longer will allow to affect you in the same way. You’ve taken control of how you think about the situation.

I’ll paraphrase him a bit here: “Nerve cells that fire together—wire together. Think new thoughts and you change your brain’s wiring patterns. This is how you change patterns of behavior—you start by thinking new thoughts and recognizing automatic stress triggers that previously might have adversely affected your body. By thinking about the situation in a less-reactive way—less emotional attachment to the situation, you can establish a new pattern of thought and a new pattern of behavior.”

“Knowledge is for the mind, but experience is for the body.  When you change a pattern of thought over time, you change the pattern of your body’s reaction to those thoughts.  The mind is primarily the neocortex of the brain, where as the emotions and body reactions are feelwhatyouthink.jpggoverned by the limbic (mammalian) brain which sends out the signals for the endocrine’s reaction and corresponding chemical release into the bloodstream to provide the body with additional reaction abilities. To change your body’s behavior, you neuro-chemically condition the body to accept the new behavior or new reaction.  With repetition, new circuits are created and the brain creates new pathways for more calmly dealing with a once-stressful situation.”

The third brain, the cerebellum or the reptilian brain, is the automatic reaction for protection and preservation of the body.  When you establish solid connections between the neocortex and the limbic brains, and develop new patterns of established behavior and reactability, then the cerebellum (the seat of your subconscious mind) can adopt it as the natural reactive pattern—it becomes the new habit, the new second-nature, the new go-to skill.  This becomes innate—it becomes your new way of being.”

“The way we transform the world, is to transform ourselves.”joe destiny

And there you have it.

I liked the last statement best, paraphrased as: “If you want a more compassionate world, then train yourself to react with compassion rather than anger to a situation not of your liking.”

He’s worth hearing.

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Why Hear the “Psychotherapy and Spirituality Summit”

I watched/listened to the online conference listed above for 10 days.psych-spirit-final_1.png There were a total of 30 individual one-hour-plus sessions provided by 30 different presenters.

To untrained me who loves seeing the integration of both subjects into this unified psycho-spiritual approach to helping people, I think this methodology is extremely important in evolving psychotherapy for clients: to focus on ourselves as Spiritual beings simply trying to make sense of the world around us while determining our working relationship to it, to ourselves, and to each other.

There were some excellent speakers/practitioners participating in this summit; and the 30 individual sessions were totally worth hearing for those dedicated to listening within the allotted 24-hour, free-listening option, but I personally would not pay $300 for the DVD set, although some folks might. If you are interested, here it is: ( https://www.soundstrue.com/store/psychotherapy-and-spirituality-summit?sq=1&utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=C171108-PASParticipant10&utm_content=Welcome+to+Day+10+of+The+Psychotherapy+and+Spirituality+Summit#jumplink-buy )

Screenshot2017103021.27.01However, after listening to all of these practitioners and their own takes on how each one integrated spirituality into a psychotherapy practice, I can also personally say that there were some psychotherapists I would readily hear further in discussions or even in a personal session, and then there were some folks that I wouldn’t want to sit across from at lunch and have to listen to more than a sentence or two. Authenticity or falseness came across loud and clear with these folks in an hour-long session of them talking about what they do and how they do it.

This leads me to one point of my posting here: Not all psychotherapists are equal in spiritual depth and professional therapy skills. Those who were genuinely deep vessels of Spirit and who could relate readily to an audience and to their clients, were amazing and felt wonderfully aware, and, in my opinion, were likely helpful to a client.

Others, …well, …I couldn’t even handle listening to them for more than 10 to 15 minutes without thinking that they must be absolutely terrible with clients and simply taking a client’s money by extending session after session with little intentional progress or problem resolution for the client.  So if you are considering personal therapy, do your research into well-recommended therapists—and I’d look for client recommendations of whether or not this therapist helped the person make better sense of her life.

The second point I would like to make was: I personally liked the folks who talked about a ‘collaborative’ interaction allowing the client and therapist to work together to determine the healing direction for that person, rather than those therapists who acted more rigid and maintained an authoritarian relationship to their client.

A therapist’s job should be to help the client discover how best to help themselves, and many presenters taught clients self-empowerment as a major aspect of their sessions. Some folks actually stated that was their goal—to teach the client how to constructively frame life for themselves for future reference.

The Sounds True producer and moderator, Tami Simon, was great. She asked pertinent follow-up questions, pulled the more spacey folks back to reality and tried to get specifics about what they were explaining and HOW that approach applied to a psychotherapy practice—made each one elaborate and provide anecdotal evidence on how this approach actually helped their clients.p&s summit2.jpg

There were many approaches to these two main subjects of integrating psychotherapy and spirituality with differing techniques pertaining to how each therapist conducts their own practice. Every therapist was unique in some way from the others—and some were quite radical in their approach to helping a client, and even in how they framed the therapy experience for the client.

Overall, I felt it was enlightening to hear so many different takes on what makes a person human and how that humanness is to be explored and assisted in today’s world. To me the layperson, integrating spirituality into psychotherapy is recognition of our wholeness as soul-based incarnations on this often chaotic planet, and I feel this is a very good direction for the future of psychology in general.

(Hint for the future in my blog: I needed to mention the summit itself first, to then post additional subjects pertaining to those individual summit sessions in the near future.)

Our Stuff

“…If we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us. There is no way around it….”

Jeff Brown.

stuff

Taming the Ego

tamer.jpgI’ve never been a passive person.  Even my earliest childhood shyness was often countered by an innate confidence in my abilities, talents, and determination to achieve whatever I truly desired; and I’ve done fairly well over the course of my life. I’ve always had a healthy ego from childhood onward, and I can recognize that it probably helped me through some of the more difficult years, while hindering me through some of the “could have been more enlightened” ones.

EGO had/has its purpose—for me and for all of us—that’s why we are here in earth’s experiential testing ground—to be the individual perceiver/receiver/transmitter of a greater awareness—to be individual satellite sensors of a much Higher Consciousness.

Why EGO matters for this particular post is that I can also recognize how EGO has shaped our perceptions—perhaps even kept us safe in questionable situations, but it has often been the primary driver of our individual actions ego mind.jpgthroughout our lives.

Unfortunately it has also been the chief determiner of many a nation’s political policy and foreign affairs. People in power positions have ruled by EGO far too often. Ego-driven actions means actions focused on personal gain—personal power—and using purely personal concern as the guiding point to any decision.

When people talk about the need to tame our EGOs, they are referring to eliminating the hubris from our interactions—that obnoxious degree of arrogance and self-focus exhibited in trying to reach agreement between two or more individuals.no ego

When it pertains to a nation’s isolationist stance and counter-actions towards other nations, it can be a dangerous determinant because political EGO has no place in world affairs, especially in high-power positions.

But I don’t have to caution anyone against believing the prattle of narcissists or megalomaniacs since those folks usually self-destruct when over-exposed to their own tainted image. It just takes a little time to see it all develop and then run its course.

I merely wish to say that EGO can be a tricky motivator even in Spiritual circles where a few “enlightened” people share thoughts and inspirational guidance with others who are supposedly “less enlightened.”

thActually it’s pretty hard to get the EGO out of everything we say and do even when we think we are being selfless and humble. And it’s hard to not react to others who give us their unsolicited opinions based on their own tainted perspectives and unresolved issues.

So I can easily say that EGO is alive and kicking almost everywhere in today’s world.

Can it really be tamed–one might ask?  I guess you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

I think there is a tremendous amount of self-delusion out there, especially in those who feel they are simply speaking the desires of a Higher Power. And that is a problem.

It’s a problem because there are other, perhaps more-naïve folks who want to believe that someone else might have the answers to their life questions instead of finding them within their own inner counsel.

It’s also a problem because we want so much to trust others and to believe what they say.high self.jpg

But as has been proven to me many times that even those with the Spiritual “IN” are themselves in danger of interpreting and judging rather than providing unbiased information. So who is it you can really trust to give you accurate answers to those issues of greatest importance?

Your own Higher Self.  Just ask.

JOY!

During this night of deepest darkness she heard a voice sayingjoy1.jpg: “Let there be JOY!”

“Joy?” she said to the emptiness around her, “Joy now? Joy after all of this—this loss—this sadness? This is NOT a time for JOY!”

The voice calmly said, “JOY for ALL time and ALL places.

JOY for the meek and the mild.

JOY for the downtrodden and the derelict.

JOY for the desperate and the despairing.

Let there be JOY!”

“But how?” she cried. “How can I feel JOY after all of this death and destruction?”

The voice was silent for a moment, and just when she began to question herself that she had ever heard the voice at all, it spoke again:

“JOY is the light in any darkened room. It is the rising of fallen spirits. joy3.jpgIt is the underlying laughter in each breath of life.

JOY is the music of your soul’s purest essence.

JOY is the child’s uncompromised innocence and the expectation of goodness with every new discovery.

JOY is the heart so clear and light that it bursts with happiness at the sun rising.

JOY is always there awaiting you. Open the door and let me in.”

Again she scanned the too familiar bedroom so full of memories and emotions, and again saw no one speaking. “Who are you?” she finally whispered.

“JOY!” the voice sang with exuberance. “I am JOY!   I exist!   I am here with you always. Let me in.”

By now she was certain that she’d already had too many drinks trying to kill the deepest pain and all else was hallucination, however, the tiny spark of curiosity within her disheveled mind sent her to the tarnished door handle; and she opened the bedroom door.

The darkened hallway looked the same as usual, and the long night’s silence was broken only by the ticking of her old analog clock beside the bed. After looking up and down the empty hallway, she closed the bedroom door again and turned to the window beside the bed.

She walked over to the window and parted the curtains to stare out into rising sun.jpgthe night. Beyond the barren trees of winter a distant horizon was appearing and the earliest rays of dawn were peeking through the darkness before her. She had successfully made it through the sleepless night once again. No matter how dark the moment or how difficult sleeping became, the new day was dawning before her now and she was watching it appear. As the growing light overpowered the receding night, she stood there for some time—longer than she could fathom, watching it all unfold before she heard the voice again saying:

“I am JOY! I am the beautiful sunrise after an endless night. I am the light ever-building across this land. I am here—right here—right now—waiting for you. Just open your heart and let me in.”

A tear began to slide down her cheek, and she let it run nearly to her chin before wiping it off with her sleeve.

“New day,” the voice said. “New sun on the rise.”

She nodded, “New day,” she repeated. “New sun, but….”

choose joy“I am JOY!” the voice crooned encouragingly. “I am JOY! Say it.”

Tears were streaming effortlessly now—sobs erupted from her chest, and as her knees began to buckle she sat back heavily onto the bed.

“Empty your heart of sadness to clear the space for me. Let the sun shine now into the darkness of your sorrow to light the way for your new day. …I am JOY!” it repeated with emphasis.

“I am JOY,” she mumbled unconvincingly. Then after a few more tissues and a deeper breath she said it again, “I am JOY.”

The night was fast giving way to the strength of the rising sun, and soon a golden ball of brightness appeared above the distant hills—a light so bright that eyes could not contain it, but her heart could feel it filling with a soothing warmth and a unusual sense of peace. She stood, parting the curtains again to view the new day birthing before her now.

“I am JOY,” she repeated to the window pane with greater hope than before. As the sun rose higher and higher in the sky she repeated it even louder, “I am JOY!”joy2.jpg

“I AM JOY!” she suddenly yelled and scared herself at the intensity of the lifeforce behind the statement. Where had that come from?

Again, she looked about the room void of a presence beyond her own and asked, “But what am I to do without him?”

A lilting laughter sang between her ears, and the voice said, “Just let there BE Joy!”

 

Rejection Redux

Rejection is a little like Acid Reflux; …it just keeps coming back up, especially when you lie down at night and try to sleep.

pain of rejectionRejection is the sort of thing no one wants to experience even once, let alone again and again. But for some folks, feeling like no one wants any part of you may seem standard fare. And it doesn’t feel very good when that lump of humiliation sticks in your throat.

If this situation feels like you might own it, then there is the possibility that the word “seems” could mean there may be a perception problem in your social interactions—and perhaps you only “think” that others are rejecting you when actually most folks around us are so completely self-absorbed that if you aren’t a mirror or their iphone, you simply aren’t going to be seen by them no matter what you do.

Then there is the other evidential possibility that for some unknown (or even known) reason, you are being avoided and pushed aside like yesterday’s fashion. For that possibility, you may need a little more research on WHY this might be happening to you.

However, if it is in Junior High or even High School that these rejections are occurring, then being ostracized or avoided is not that unusual as during that time period everyone is trying to discover their own identity, and yet still fit in with similar-acting or -looking kids. Those in adolescence who fail to conform to the rules of “popularity” are often ridiculed or made to feel sub-human. That doesn’t make it right—it just makes it normal.

It was SO normal when I was a teen, that Janis Ian even wrote a song about it way back when that made her an easy million dollars if not more, over the years, called “At Seventeen.” She’s even on Wikipedia—check her out. I’ll put the lyrics on here and every time you think you’re being reduced to an afterthought by another whiney-voiced, snob sneering, “Who are you anyway?” then you just listen to Janis Ian’s song and think: “Yeah, and she made a wad out of that whole rejection-thing. She laughed all the way to the bank, and still IS laughing because Oldies stations are still playing the song once in awhile.”

In other words, Janis Ian made that nasty, humiliating, adolescent character-building, rejection-experience work for her. And so can you.

“At number oneSeventeen

I learned the truth at seventeen, That love was meant for beauty queens
And high school girls with clear skinned smiles Who married young and then retired.
The valentines I never knew, The Friday night charades of youth,
Were spent on one more beautiful. At seventeen I learned the truth.

And those of us with ravaged faces Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home, Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say – Come dance with me, And murmured vague obscenities.
It isn’t all it seems, …at seventeen.

A brown-eyed girl in hand-me-downs,Whose name I never could pronounce
Said – Pity please the ones who serve They only get what they deserve.
The rich-relationed hometown queen, Marries into what she needs
With a guarantee of company And haven for the elderly.

So remember those who win the game Lose the love they sought to gain,
In debentures of quality and dubious integrity. Their small-town eyes will gape at you
In dull surprise when payment-due Exceeds accounts-received, at seventeen.

To those of us who knew the pain Of valentines that never came,
And those whose names were never called When choosing sides for basketball.
It was long ago and far away The world was younger than today,
When dreams were all they gave for free To ugly duckling girls like me.

We all play the game, and when we dare We cheat ourselves at solitaire.
Inventing lovers on the phone, Repenting other lives unknown,
That call and say – Come on, dance with me And murmur vague obscenities
At ugly girls like me, …..at seventeen.”

Janis is now nearing retirement. I bet as she sits back and counts all her money, she thanks ALL THOSE happy faceJERKS she once knew in adolescence for that rich portfolio of song-writing material created back then.

Rejection is never fun, but it’s okay. It just makes it easier to see your own unique beauty.

Look at the smile on her face now.

Who Is the Healer Here?

It’s such a shame that by the time most of us finally get a handle on how life really works, it’s pretty late in the game.

It turns out that all those vices that we once adored may not have been so beneficial after all.

All thexcessose wild and crazy times with friends and anyone else around us back then, might not have been so “fun” the next morning when our eyes finally opened and our head stopped spinning. But then we went right back to them the next weekend, and the weekend after that, etc.

All those wheelbarrows full of chips, dips, sodas, hot dogs, nacho grandes, and candy bars we carted home from the grocery store or the fast-food joint, might not have been as nutritious and body-supportive as our younger minds once told us that they were. (Or as nutritious as our after-adolescent/pre-retirement minds told us they were.)

All those times we took the elevator rather than the stairs because the extra exercise was just too much effort, is starting to add up around our ever-expanding middle. Elastic waistbands or sweatpants have become our favorite mode of lower-body coverage. And those spandex pants stretched to infinity trying to cover 20-lbs of potatoes in 10-lb sack, is almost obscene from the rearview people! (Please don’t make me see that again.)

So here we are now….approaching middle-age from one side or the other (that’s if we live to be at least 100yrs), asking various doctors and nutritionists why we feel so awful.

  • Why does my body hurt?dr and pill
  • Why do I have indigestion?
  • Why can’t I eat the things I once did without regretting it in an hour?
  • Why do I have no energy?
  • Why can’t I sleep?
  • My head hurts. My body hurts. My back is killing me. My feet fall asleep.
  • Is there some pill or supplement that I can take to feel better NOW?

You know, I could claim that as an energy therapist or a hypnotist these are the very symptoms that I hear when people come to me hoping that I can help them find relief from some suffering and pain symptom; but in truth, I’m no different than any of those folks are—I’ve been there doing the “not so healthy” things in my youth that have likely contributed to my own present-day aches and pains. I just don’t do as much of them any longer, if at all.

So it’s pretty hard for me to criticize anyone; and it’s even hard for me to listen to those proselytizers who mount their mobile soapbox in front of a captive audience and shake a pencil-thin finger at others for their evidential health transgressions.

I mean really. We ARE human. We likely have had poor role models throughout our youth (and I don’t mean the razor-thin ones walking the fashion runways).

Not to mention that most of us didn’t have “Michele Obama mothers” who were as educated and disciplined about our early eating habits; because we more than likely had “Bill Clinton appetites” for fast burgers and fries on the side, oh yeah, …with a chocolate milkshake—to go, please.

However, in saying that we are both the products of tainted genetics and marketing-driven environments, there is still the important fact that WE are in charge of our own health; and it is UP TO US to change our ways to eating a healthier diet and to getting more exercise.

But it’s also up Jesus and the blind manto us to realize that the only one who really “heals you” is yourself. I and any other health practitioner can help all that we are able to help, but the rest is up to you (or me with my own aches and pains). We actually are the main determiners of our own healing—sometimes at this level of awareness and sometimes at the level of our Higher Self—depending on the lessons we came here to explore.

In reality as we presently know it there are NO silver bullets that magically eliminate a health foe. Nor are there instant “feel better” pills for chronic suffering. Yes, there are “feel-nothing” pills (or alcohol) that are addictive, but those aren’t the same as actually improving your health condition. Those just make you care less if you ever feel anything again—good or bad. That’s why they should be avoided.

In conclusion, I wish I could tell the person who called me over the weekhealthy body quoteend pertaining to his deteriorating health condition that, “Yes, you bet. I’ll have you feeling WAY better in no time.”

Except in all likelihood, I might be able to help you a little, but most of the work will be up to you and how you choose to live your life.