Oh, What Greatness Lies Within – Part 2

“A piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand would contain one hundred thousand neurons, two million axons and one billion synapses, all ‘talking to’ each other. Given these figures, it’s been calculated that the number of possible brain states – the number of permutations and combinations of activity that are theoretically possible – exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.”

V.S. Ramachandran, Phantoms In The Brain (1998)

Now that you have gained a better understanding of the vast potential of your cognitive (thinking) mind, there is something more to consider…

Needs; not necessarily what you assume

a) Present moment (what you know)

b) Pre-existing (what you don’t know)

What prevents us from meeting our own needs??

Answering this basic question will help unlock access to your vast inner potential. The answers are multi-fold, unlike delusional beliefs offered by quacks and reinforced through Hollywood movies. There is no magic bullet for you to unleash your brain’s full potential. The complexity of your brain (of which the mind is but the thinking component) cannot be expected to offer such quick and easy solutions. Reality demands that your needs extend far beyond what you assume to be true (let’s call this, “what you know”). Virtual reality of the mind is based on your distorted awareness of past needs (for simplicity, we’ll call this, “what you don’t know”).

You are required to remove your blinders if you wish to uncover (and respond to) the truth of your present day needs. You are constantly constrained through default mode operation, a residual of past experiences (i.e. what you don’t know). These pathways take root with minimal effort, quickly becoming habit. Your present state of mind (i.e. what you think you know) contains a window to the past, as it filters your long-felt needs through your present lens of experience. A self-denied need (i.e. what you don’t know) may confer much greater urgency to action than a conscious need (i.e. what you know), since awareness offers you free choice, i.e. ability to shift your thinking mind.

Why is this so confusing??

If it sounds confusing, the truth lies in the confusion!! Early on, as infants we had one pre-eminent need, that for survival. In innocence, our awareness (even before we were thinking beings) was driven solely by the need to survive. Your survival need is met by maintaining the vital bond to your caregiver, prompting all secondary needs to take a back seat but not to disappear. This rule sets your default apparatus down, a habitual operating mode that may last a lifetime and sends your unfulfilled needs into hiding. This pre-condition for your central nervous system remains in place even once you have outgrown our need for it. It may cause you untold suffering in later years.

 As adults, especially those living in democratic first-world societies, we have been conditioned to believe we have capacity for free choice. Mental conditioning supports delusion. You remain unaware that freedom of choice may be upended by old circuitry. Residual thought patterns (conscious and unconscious) of old belief systems block your ability to achieve, and sabotage the pursuit of your goals. Uprooting old circuitry is the basis for re-establishing access to your unlimited potential within. Pre-existing conditions are not quick and easy to resolve. Change requires patience, practice, dedication, and a positive attitude.

 How many of us steadfastly apply all these virtues to our endeavours??

Today, the pursuit of knowledge can instantly be addressed via your fingertips, as cyber waves meet your quest for answers by connecting us to “Google”. Today’s minds lack initiative and opportunity for creative exercise in the same way our bodies lack tone and vigor, having become conditioned to sedentary lives. No gain that comes without effort is truly cost-free.

How do we recover our potential for access to true freedom of choice?

To achieve a well-toned and well-conditioned physique, it is necessary to stick to your intention to create change, over the course of many months and years. The process requires you to nourish the conditions for growth, and commit to years of subsequent practice to sustain all hard-won achievements. All seductive tools and marketing ploys aim to exploit human weakness looking for a quick fix. There is no substitute for hard work. There is no better option than to focus your attention on learning skills, followed by repeated practice of skills to establish new behavioral patterns. This formula offers you the closest thing to a guarantee for achieving your desired results. You will build the best body your genetic code permits. It’s really as simple (not easy) as that!!

 Dedication is the true cost of admission to the access point for all your creative potential. Just as for physical conditioning, fulfilling your mind’s creative potential requires your total commitment to the pursuit of self-examination throughout your lifetime. Painstakingly cultivating all pre-conditions for your mind’s growth offers the closest thing to a guarantee for freeing it from the obstacles that constrain it from within.

No pain, no gain.

Oh, What Greatness Lies Within – Part 1

“A piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand would contain one hundred thousand neurons, two million axons and one billion synapses, all ‘talking to’ each other. Given these figures, it’s been calculated that the number of possible brain states – the number of permutations and combinations of activity that are theoretically possible – exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.”

V.S. Ramachandran, Phantoms In The Brain (1998)

 

What The …??

The need to challenge the precision of the above quote may wrongfully render its message less than true. The data may be questioned, however its accurate implication is that every event, observation, and spoken word (expressed and heard) throughout your lifetime, generates an impact inside your brain. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” (Newton’s Third Law) An event’s relative impact is recorded by how the information is both processed and stored. Together, these actions bring about perception; that which lends unique meaning to life experience. Perception of each life event will affect your overall ability to live a purposeful and meaningful life.

As humans, our brains are uniquely endowed with expansive grey matter that allows for a vast network of internal communications. From this broad foundation, problem solving, interpersonal communication and creativity are born. As the previous quote implies, we were given the awesome birthright to render the impossible, possible. While demonstrating gratitude for this legacy is primary, let us next consider how to make the most of our inheritance.

For anyone who desires a life of purpose and meaning, you will be wise to first cultivate fertile ground in the mind…

Cognitive ability; the human capacity for thought via new connections between neurons

a) Genetics – Innate

b) Animation – Applied living

Clearly, the brain of Einstein and other great “thinkers” had some superior abilities to link old and new information, enabling them to use encoded information that had been stored as a result of past learning. Along with superior genetic ability, they required intention (i.e. to devote one’s life work to the discovery of universal knowledge (i.e. curiosity) along with commitment (i.e. persistent attention to their quest). This is the formula for engaging the brain in a ritual of cultivating new neural connections (i.e. creative insight). Harnessing the unique advantages of your genetic code permits you to act on free choice. From here, you can purposefully dedicate your life to humanity, in alignment with your highest goals. One might say that brilliance lies neither in our genes nor in our tenacity alone. Human genius ultimately lies in the balanced integration of both essential attributes applied to the quest for Truth.

 How is this awareness relevant to every mortal being?

There are likely few humans who own the rare genetic predisposition of Einstein or Newton. Yet, if you accept that the number of possible synapses (brain cell connections) is virtually infinite inside all of us, you are forced to conclude that each of us is heir to unspoken potential for limitless self-insight and awakening.

 

 

 

 

 

Where To Begin??

 ‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.’   Dr. Seuss

Can anything be more obvious than where to begin? There is nowhere better to begin than where YOU are, as YOU are, HERE…NOW.

This seemingly basic concept is so critical to beginning, that all 196 sutras (passages) of Yoga are premised on this very theme. The sutras are the individual threads of ancient Eastern knowledge, compiled by a dude (Patanjali) who sought to repackage age-old wisdom for the benefit of universal truth seekers for all time. Each sutra is a laser-beam of light aimed towards bringing us home, i.e. attaining our highest level of Self.

Yoga’s ‘how to’ manual offers up ancient yet relevant secrets that spell out how to live in the NOW with a more favourable ‘Wow’ : ‘Bummer’ ratio. The first sutra provides the foundation of all that follows, “NOW begins the time for direct instruction on the practice of Yoga”.

Yoga means union, referring to our potentially most sacred state of being; a state of oneness, where all energy is in union or flow with our Self, others, and the entire universe. “Oneness” brings us to bask in the chilled vibe of complete ease and peace, a.k.a. bliss, a reward granted without any external inducement (like addictive stuff some people opt for). If you don’t know what I’m talking about yet, don’t fret… all the more reason to stick with the program and discover how much inner power already exists by cutting through the dense layers that are blocking the way. A primary objective of Yoga practice is learning to control the natural wanderings of our mind (everyone has a degree of ADD) for the purpose of jiving within and without.

Still, there’s the problem of how do YOU begin NOW to transmit new knowledge into a brain that’s already fuller than full?? Yoga requires you to thoroughly digest and assimilate whatever is in this moment (it work similar to your gut), in order to gainfully metabolize your new skills.

You begin by understanding that you bring to the table all previous life experiences (including all lessons you were taught by those who love you most) that have conditioned you into believing that YOU ARE your story. You begin by understanding that it’s delusional to conceive new information through pure perception, having long ago become accustomed to seeing the world through a dusty (i.e. distorted) viewing lens. You begin to see that each experience since the moment of your birth, has etched its mark somewhere within you. From all experiences you recall with fondness or with dread, to the many thousands more that escape your recall; the psychic map of every life event lies embedded within your physical being. Within the vast, multiple layers of buried treasure that is our emotional trove, lays all our hidden motivations, responsible for every thought that precedes every false belief, every spoken word and every action. Who knew??

NOW begins the exploration. NOW begins the sweat and tears required for going down into the trenches to practice hard-won new skills. NOW begins the journey back to see the wizard; that all-important journey down the yellow brick road, past lions and tigers and bears, not to mention the terrifying witch and her broomstick; leading YOU back to your Self. NOW begins the experience of moving mindfully through Oz… into the light; to reclaim the spark of YOU that resides within. The discovery is none other than “There’s no place like home”, the core of your being; that makes YOU the truly exceptional, extraordinary, and unique individual that YOU are.

Through progressive enquiry combining insights of Yoga, psychotherapeutic tools and my own lived experience, subsequent posts of LightMoves.ca will be geared to offering you some insight, large or small, to assist you in finding your way back home. Home is where the heart is; Home is the centre of our being. Home, is where we  gain the courage, compassion, and inner-strength required to weather every storm without, to maintain equanimity within, to feel gratitude for all that we encounter, to live the life that is uniquely ours, with love and joy, wonder and peace.

I hope you will find new thoughts to ponder, new concepts to wrestle with, new dimensions to challenge you; and I gratefully welcome any sharing you have to offer. Through the skilful practice of communication that we have uniquely been blessed with as a species, humanity gains its best hope of learning through one another; understanding that every one of us acts as both student and teacher in this magical world we share together.

 

****I would like to dedicate each blog to someone who in some way inspired me in the direction of each post.

Today, I dedicate my first blog post to Sherry.