Do you ever think about your brain? I mean, as a functioning organ in your body. Do you ever just sit back and observe it? I think when most people think about their brain, it's in the context of what could go wrong with it. Will I get Alzheimer's? Brain cancer? Have a stroke?
Just like the stomach, just like the liver, just like the thyroid, intestines, and kidneys, your brain is just an organ in your body. A very important one, one you can't live without, but guess what? You have lots of other organs you can't live without. Our brain is unique in that it is the organ that creates consciousness for us, and unconsciousness. Because of this, we believe that we are our brain, and our brain is us.
Granted, our brain does control how we present ourselves in the world. The way we move, the way we interact, the fidgeting we do, the habits we soothe ourselves with, the verbal crutches we use when we, like, talk. But, we have far more control over this vital organ than we think.
All our behaviors have been created over our lifetime, chaos arranged into dependable order by the incredible automation of our brain. Thank goodness we don't have to stop and ponder how we are going to open a door every time we come upon one. Deep brain automation ensures that we can just grab a handle, turn a knob, or push without consciously thinking about it.
But this automation can happen in other areas of our lives that doesn't necessarily work in our best interest, especially when it comes to health.
If your automated routine in the morning is rushed, you might then depend on a sugary breakfast bar and coffee to go, rather than getting a nutrient dense meal in your belly to start the day right.
Or maybe your automated nighttime routine is to getting into your PJ's, sitting on the couch watching television, and digging in to your favorite ice cream or snack.
Or perhaps at work you have a daily routine of getting a sweet coffee drink or soda as an afternoon pick-me-up.
In all these instances, that behavior had a beginning. And your brain rewarded you for the sweet treat, caffeine bump, or tv show that allowed you to zone out. And rewards make us do things again, and again, and again. And after a time, that behavior has it's very own neural loop built into your brain. Your amazing brain just did what it's designed to do, automate to make your life easier.
Here's where the thought of being elevated above that comes into play. Our brain, this organ that we identify ourselves with, and thus have a very hard time disconnecting from, also has the capacity to allow us full consciousness. We have the ability to observe ourselves. To think about our behaviors. To notice what neural loops have developed that work against us, and to make the choice to change it.
But be warned, this is usually no easy task! It takes work, because as far as your brain is concerned, if you're alive, all is fine! Why shake things up? Change is destabilizing, and a destabilized situation can lead to death. Dramatic, I know, but that's what our brain, and every cell in our body, is trying to avoid. So when we try to create change, even when our elevated self knows the change if for the better, the deep, automated part of our brain wants nothing to do with it. And this is good, because this means your brain is doing exactly what it was made to do; protect the organism it belongs to.
So one of the basic facts about any change your are making, or trying to make, is that it's going to lead to discomfort, period. Have you ever had or manifested a really great change in your life, and you're happy about it, and your family and friends are excited for you, and then all of a sudden these thoughts start to creep in... are you sure about this? Do you really think you can do this? What if you fail? What if you get embarrassed? What if you do it wrong?
I think that last is one of my brain's FAVORITE questions to ask. What if you do it wrong? Has this ever stopped you in your tracks? It has me. But my elevated self can answer that question in a number of ways:
Then I do it wrong, and that's ok.
I can keep trying until I do it right.
"Failing" is just one more step to the top of my game.
There is only knowing in the doing.
Creating change in our life requires awareness, commitment, and the acceptance of the fact that it could get uncomfortable for a little while. But setting our mind to change, and achieving that change, creates pretty incredible feelings when you come out on the other side.
So don't be afraid to try, even when your brain tells you not to.