Living Beyond the Reactive Boundaries of the Brain
Just for Sake of Intellectual Fun
I like seeing something like onion layers of truth in our intimate reality and its architecture composed of neurons and that "something" still inconceivable of a possibly metaphysical nature.
On each layer another angle of observing may be applied, which allows a layman like myself to play smart on the superficial layer on topics that scholars are still theorizing about on those inner layers, closer to the essence of the enigma.
To make my excuse for this intellectual playfulness a little more acceptable, let us remind ourselves that if we waited for those geniuses to explain for us the true nature of electricity, we would still be burning torches. Thus, for the sheer sake of having some fun, why not probe a little into this topic of our mysterious potential of conscious mind and brain.
As we will see, from the pure practical standpoint it makes a difference whether we are "mentally present" in our conscious mind -- which I will call just mind -- as opposed to being present in brain, the site of our subconscious mind.
But first, let's see a little what's all the fuss in the scientific circles about how much of our brain's potential we are actually using. We'll come to the mind shortly after.
How Brainy We Are --- in Numbers
As if those sciences wrapped around our health like medicine and nutrition are not confusing enough with their often contradictory theorizing, there comes a bunch of neuroscientists joining them with their opposite views.
It appears to come from that "old school" that we are only using a certain small percentage of our brain; those assumptions probably further encouraged by the invent of the Intelligence Quotient, or I.Q. calculation. Well, in my view that's a very ambitious but terribly limited way of assessing someone's true level of intelligence.
One reason being that, since "intelligence" basically means the ability to solve problems, people may be "geniuses" in solving one type of problems while failing miserably in another. So, a chess player or a mathematician with a "high I.Q." may be a total idiot in the field of maintaining constructive personal affairs.
Good old Alby, as I like calling Albert Einstein out of endearment and love, could serve as an example of it. Considered to be one of the most brilliant geniuses ever, Alby was not nearly as smart in other areas of life, and I don't merely mean letting that white fungus on his head and under his nose grow that uncontrollably long and messy.
However, let's jump back to that question of the percentage of brain being used. Those machines called electroencephalograms, or EEG may be another misleading yardstick of it, because they are not perfect, but have a limited range of frequencies they can detect. Namely, brain may work also on some other level for which EEG is a wrong instrument.
Which surely brings to mind so called "chi energy" operating in the network of chakras and meridians - although still unrecognized by mainstream science, but widely talked about in Traditional Chinese Medicine outdating modern science by some millennia.
So, if we would assume that the crown chakra has an undetectable effect on brain's activity, of which the EEG-detectable brain waves are only a side effect, we would find ourselves in a situation of measuring miles with pounds.
Still keeping in focus those percentages, what comes to mind is that well documented case of a man who --- to the astonishment of doctors -- hardly had any brain mass at all, but was functioning normally. So, there falls the theory of the " percentage of our brain being used".
We Are Consciousness - Not Brain
O.K., we may ask, what was that dude using instead of brain? That's where we have drift into some intellectual adventurism, because that's where the reductionist and mechanistic "realism" propagated by mainstream science stops making sense. Namely, we are not just a thinking machine, a heap of molecules organized into a living organism and guided by firing between brain's cells.
We are much more than that --- we are conscious wonders of nature, using mind, and allow me to go philosophical for a moment --- we are actually BEING that consciousness. Everything else occupying our personal space is secondary to our true nature of conscious beings.
Now, silly as it may sound at first, in my opinion, the most of our problems are generated from our not being aware of this fact. When you stop laughing, come back and let me explain.
It makes an enormous difference "where we are present" --- in our mind or in our brain. When we see our true identity in our conscious mind, which is actually a branched out and personalized version of the universal mind --- we are "present" in it, we become it, or better yet, we become who we really are.
Being beyond brain, conscious mind is that sense of self, of "I-ness", of beingness", which stays with us whether we are happy or sad, healthy or sick, thinking or observing. It's that creative principle of reality in us, from which stems our will to live and grow and change. It, itself doesn't change, while brain may change and actually is changing.
Crap - in, Crap - Out
So, what's all that about "being present" in mind, as opposed to being present in brain? Brain is the organ through which the mind expresses itself. Brain is given the autonomy to operate all our bio-chemistry with all organs and functions involved. It's a wonderful and divine organ, with more combinations of exchanging the information between its neurons than there are stars in the Milky Way.
And yet, it's failing us miserably. You see, one of its crucial functions is to collect skills, or call it strategies for psycho-physical survival. While it sounds good enough, it turns into a problem when we are present in it and we feed wrong programs of survival into it. Being basically a computer, it feeds back to us what we feed into it. In our human terms, it's crap going in --- crap going out.
Instead of staying where we belong, on our high pedestal of conscious mind, we lower ourselves to the realm of brain, tampering with its otherwise good instinctual programs which are to keep us well.
Hey, who says I won't come with all this to the everyday drama of living, where we feel more at home! So, here I am, reminding you of our boss suddenly becoming that "threat"; and our mother-in-law getting registered as a major stressor; and our kids translated in our neurons as a chronic worry-pattern.
You see what I mean? When we are not present in our conscious mind, which would otherwise simply mobilize its pragmatic mode of functioning and find a practical solution for each of those apparent stressors, we are dipped into the very fabric of brain's knee-jerk reactiveness, identifying ourselves with something that we are not.
To borrow a few examples --- like when we identify ourselves with our possessions, our looks, our age, our state of health, our life circumstances, all that which we are not. Ultimately, life is a creative game, and our possessions, along with our status, and even our body are our toys, our creations.
Yes, I included our body, because we are constantly re-creating it; and we can do it with our conscious mind, or we can let the brain's programs play a number on our health, vitality, and our rate of aging.
Giant Squeezed in a Lamp
If you would want still another example of folks being present in their brain, just think of a depressed or anxious person --- how they are constantly spying on the "engine", so acutely aware of their heart rate, their level of energy, their sense of survival somehow being threatened --- all those functions of brain.
When you listen to them, they are complaining about being hot, being cold, about outside negative stimuli ranging from weather to politicians. They are just receiving the impulses from their brain which they wrongly programmed with false or unnecessary information.
So, that's what gives our brain a bad name. No wonder someone said: "Brain is a loyal servant, but a cruel master". (Actually, in the original saying it was "mind", not brain, but what was meant was "subconscious" mind with its site in brain).
Being present in the brain is experiencing a short circuit of life, which in its long circuit involves our conscious mind. In some of my other articles, I called it "being switched to our automatic pilot". Remember the classic story of Aladdin and his magic lamp? That magic-producing giant dude could not do any of his magic as long as he was squeezed into that lamp.
That's how our conscious mind gets squeezed within the confines of our automatisms of brain. Sometimes I also call it "living our life with our nerves, not with brains", and that looks so obvious at so many folks. Doesn't it?
Brain's Programs Played Out
While with still fresh memory of the mentioned giant in the lamp, how nicely comes that expression of "thinking outside of the box".
These days we are witnessing --- or actually being immersed into the tragicomedy of a massive collectivistic don-quijoteism of charging against some windmills resembling an enemy. It's a sad example of people unwilling to jump out of the box and come face to face with realization that they are changing nothing with their programmed knee-jerk reactiveness.
Caught in their short circuit brain-thinking, they may not even know what they are really protesting --- it merely comes natural to them to do it. Inside conflicts are finding their equivalent expression in outside conflicts, while some outside symbolisms of events are the mirror images of their inner unresolved issues with those inner voices of authorities.
If they could only get out of their box of preconceived political convictions, they might see their priorities elsewhere. But, well, let's leave this theme at this.
Joy of Living Consciously
Unlike those mentioned folks present in their brain and aware of all their bodily sensations --- there are those bright examples of individuals who are detached from the survivalist concerns of the brain, while being present in their conscious mind.
Who would first come to mind if not those war heroes who ignore the best interests of their surviving, obviously being present in their mind, not their brain. Or, take those artists being all absorbed in their work as if lost in time and space which are the properties of their material brain and body. So often neglecting sleep, food, maybe even abusing their body with alcohol or strong coffee to keep them up through their nightly inspiration.
And why is it that we meditators lose every sensation of our body while sinking deeply into our spiritual essence where no concerns of survival have any place. Also, isn't it true that the happier we feel, the lighter we feel in our body. It seems like we are present somewhere beyond in a realm of beauty, peace, and eternity where time doesn't really matter a bit.
So you may witness a happy meditator even looking younger than his age, enjoying a health and vitality of a biologically younger person. All because they maintain high frequency emotions of being present in their conscious mind where they feel free to just experience their beingness.
You know what I mean by "beingness"? When you say "I am..." and then nothing else comes after that.