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Powers of the Mind

December 12, 2013

super brain

In this piece I am going to provide you with some resources and ideas I have found recently from my study that illustrate the power the mind has.

Much of my latest thoughts have come as a combined result of reading works by figures such as Deepak Chopra, Rupert Sheldrake and personal meditation. The knowledge Deepak has of things to do with mental empowerment and health is very thorough and wide-ranging. He has a medical background and you can see that his ideas are informed by many years of practice and experience in this domain.

Let me start with some of his ideas for empowerment in the book Super Brain. Firstly he dispels some prevalent materialist myths regarding the brain that can be disempowering to us. These include:

  • The brains hardwiring can’t be changed.
  • Aging in the brain is inevitable and irreversible.
  • The brain loses millions of cells a day, and these can’t be replaced.
  • Primitive reactions overrule the higher brain.

His arguments against these myths are very persuasive. For example, research shows the total brain cells is similar between age 20 and age 70, and specifically that several thousand new cells are created in the hippocampus every day. Similarly he shows how the mind through the power of intention to change our habits, can rewire the neuron circuits in our brains.

The recognition of this alone can be very empowering, but at the same time it is slightly worrying that these myths, if that is what they are as they seem to be, have become so dominant. What has allowed such disempowering beliefs to form the dominant cultural paradigm? It is easy then to start getting into conspiratorial thoughts. The better path is to see that these materialist myths are a short-term stop-gap. They are not consciously proclaimed, it is more a case of an unconscious bias. Our society has changed very quickly, and it will take time for our minds to fully evolve in line with these changes, I believe. But now is the time to make a start.

Later in the book Chopra suggests some CBT-style thinking practices to help empower your mind in your day to day thinking and behavior. They are as follows:

  • Stop giving away your power. I.e. By holding grudges, following the opinions of others or “the crowd”, deciding others matter more than you, letting others make your decisions for you.  It may seem a friendly, honorable and altruistic thing to do at times, but if it becomes a habit, it is a self-perpetuating form of low self esteem, where with each act of this kind you chip away at your self-worth, till you no longer can get enthusiastic and joyous about life.
  • Examine why it’s “good” to be a victim. Following on from the first point. It is easy for us to be a martyr at times, and suffer in the name of things we think our “good”. Chopra says many forms of this suffering need to be avoided for our personal empowerment: Taking the blame for someone else; covering up abuse; allowing yourself to be belittled; not speaking your truth; letting your children disrespect you; denying yourself sexual fulfillment; pretending to love; working a job you hate. To break out of these patterns, recognise that your role is voluntary, you are not trapped by fate, destiny or the will of god. And recognise who you have hired to be your victimizer, and take steps to fire them.
  • Develop your core self: Don’t live for approval, not crushed by others disapproval; Give respect, and receive it from others; You understand your own emotional life and are not swayed by other peoples emotions. This is all about growing up and maturing. A process taken for granted, but one that many never properly complete.
  • Align yourself with the flow of evolution.
  • Trust in a higher power. We cannot control everything, we cannot even control many things involving our own destiny. So this is all about having goals, but not being too attached to the outcome, and having trust that things will work out well. Believe or not in god and higher powers, this certainly is a very effective means of achieving certain difficult things that take time, effort and patience.

So there we go, empowerment according to Deepak Chopra. There is a lot of wisdom in some of these words, and I think they are best appreciated through steady reflection and meditation. They are not quick fix, they are not self-help, in the standard sense. They are more about adopting a whole new lifestyle. In this era, to break our conditioning, and to take our minds to the next evolutionary level, this kind of deep-seated commitment is required.

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