The most powerful tool and the greatest blessing
The proper use of the brains
Getting back to "unstupid"
The potential benefits of properly using the higher brain
The prototype of equanimity
Special affirmations, coping, and other statements
Our actual SELF is simply that which is able to experience and able to learn. (See Who I Really Am.)
FIRST, REMEMBER TO ENGAGE THE (HIGHER) BRAIN
Our normal modus operandi is to rely on the automatic functions of the body and mind.
To do otherwise, we need to develop the habit of noticing when something comes up where we should bring in the "big guy" (the higher brain). We do this by
1. Pausing (as it interrupts the automatic happening), and/or
2. Asking a question (as simple as "what is the wisest thing to do right now?"
Operate on this basis and you'll find your life running much smoother, with far fewer mistakes, and, believe it or not, life will be easier when it is run more by the higher brain!
THE MOST POWERFUL TOOL AND THE GREATEST BLESSING
Although every other support system we have that enables living is vital, the most powerful tool that raises life to a level not experienced before or elsewhere in this world is the higher brain.
This is the gift we've been given that an animal doesn't have. The animal operates mostly from pure instinct and in a more mechanistic way, with great support systems. But it doesn't have a higher consciousness.
It is the higher consciousness that makes us who we are.
But this piece is not about the incredible blessing, but about how, and when, to use it to create much, much greater happiness.
THE PROPER USE OF THE BRAINS
As covered in how the mind developed, we have uniquely developed a higher brain after developing two lower brains. Those lower brains are more primitive and mechanistic and not very intelligent. But they serve, as you know, vital functions. They warn against danger and emit chemicals to make us act. They scan for danger without us thinking about it, so we can use our higher brain for doing other things. They run the body and monitor all that is going on.
The lizard brain (the most primitive) and the monkey mind (a step above) are essentially very loyal and very capable of doing a set mechanistic procedure, a bit like a good soul who is a bit retarded. I call these Dumb and Dumber. We should utilize them, but never let them (unintelligently) run the show! Never put "the kids" in charge of running your life!
The higher brain is the reasoning, logical brain. It is by far more powerful and more intelligent than even the best computer, and it has much more storage capacity and a much faster operating speed! (See The Structure Of The Brain to see what it can actually do!)
The primitive brain, which was designed mostly even before caveman days, is strictly here to run the mechanics and to assure you survive. It needs to be told that you are safe (in some mode and manner) so that it won't overdo the job of sending out danger alarms.
Those alarms are experienced as feelings from thought-fears. And when the body is in fear of survival (or something its simple brain equates to it, such as "being loved"), it alters your entire physiology to prepare for doing the vital functions of fight or flight in order to survive.
In doing so, it shuts down all unnecessary functions, such as the slower,
not-needed-at-this-time higher brain. Basically, you become stupid (but safe).
(A quick comment here: We often "make up" the untrue belief that when we are "run by our emotions" that it is our child running us, but, no, it is just primitive thinking that can be mistaken for the less intelligent, naive thinking of a child.)
Basically, I do not recommend "stupid" as a mode of operation. (Duh!)
OUR JOB IS TO...
Since we have not evolved much past the caveman days, we are not equipped to handle all the "stimuli" that we are bombarded with in this life, unless we learn to use our higher brain to sift the potential stimuli through our higher brain to screen our the thoughts not worth acting on.
That is the key task of modern man to learn in order to have a good life.
We minimize it in this life, but the Eastern cultures understand it. And the brain scientists also give us another tool that works: to rewire the part of the brain (left prefrontal cortex) that sorts out the thoughts that make sense and the ones to ignore, making it more automatic.
GETTING BACK TO "UNSTUPID"
So, before we can make better decisions about life, we need to re-engage and re-enable the higher brain to work.
Since we are in a "diminished state of operability", we need to have some simple things easily ready to use to reengage the brain and/or to have us act appropriately.
Those need to be rehearsed so that they will come to mind at the time. We can also just fix the idea in our head that we need to look at our list of instructions on what to do to reengage the higher mind (and do so, of course). (Such a list can be kept in one's wallet or purse, but also a copy should be in something like your Reminders Notebook.)
You could say that these simple directives are operated from by the primitive brain being told to do so or by a glimmer of the higher brain, trying to reestablish itself. It doesn't matter which, as long as we know what to do to cause that reengagement.
As in other sections, to go from an undesired condition we simply need to engage in the opposites to whatever causes the undesired condition.
For instance, the opposite of a danger, panic, fear signal is assuring the primitive brains you are safe. Assuring yourself that you are safe is a form of a "coping" statement.
Unless the alarm is real (your life and limb are actually threatened), it is not a signal to heed (or get upset about).
THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF PROPERLY USING THE HIGHER BRAIN
The benefits are virtually unlimited. With the higher brain running the show you can live a much happier life, with these benefits to achieve that through:
Use for the function that is appropriate
Providing what works for the mechanisms, the lower brains
Creating directly pleasant experiences
Directing one's thoughts to feel better (i.e "not feel bad"!!!!)
THE PROTOTYPE OF EQUANIMITY
Though he can experience upset, Paul uses an "enlightened perspective" to reengage the higher brain or disengage from a harmful loop in the primitive brains (i.e. to not start the spiral downward).
He has decided (as you must) that some ruminations of the primitive brain are simply random and not something to dwell on in order to survive. He uses disengagement from a useless, untrue thought process, as, indeed, you must!
"It is not solvable, so I'll let it go."
He also appears to have decided that he need not be the victim of fear and that he can create something good after the triggering event is over, and because he has that confidence, the upset is not exacerbated and remains small. He practices something similar to the basics of Fearlessness and being responsible once Undesired Outcomes occur, as they inevitably will. He recognizes that other people's upsets about him or circumstances most often have little to do with him, as in the Cognitive Distortions write-up. But if they do, he doesn't fault himself about it - he just corrects it. (Learning the concept of "No-Blame" and practicing it is a major psychological step forward.
SPECIAL AFFIRMATIONS, COPING AND OTHER STATMENTS
(As always, we recommend you pick the ones you want and/or derive other ones that you think would work as "instructions" or "regrounding" statements. As always, we recommend that you have them readily accessible, either physically or in memory. The Reminders Notebook is a handy, usable place to keep them.)
These statements are from Dumb and Dumber and aren't true. Relax and let go.
I am safe. I am in charge. I'll handle this.
This is a small thing and not worth worrying about.
I've survived before and I will survive this. Life works itself out.
I am the driver of my own bus and I can choose the routes.
I must use my higher brain now. I must take control. There is no reason to not think this out. And when I think this out, I'll come up with the best solution.
I'll give this to my higher brain and the answer will come.
I can accept this as is and my life will still work even if this stays the same. I have the power to create much happiness overall!
I'll just change to another track of thinking, as this stuff is just nonsense and nothing I can do anything about.
I'll relax my body and get in touch with my heart rhythms and I'll return to a higher state. (This is part of what makes HeartMath work, as it is the opposite of the body being upset and out of sync [homeostasis]. Using the items in the Relaxation page also work.)
These are just uncomfortable chemicals. I can tolerate them and be fine on the other end.
I may lose this, but I have plenty left over. Life is good.
I'll put this aside until I can get my higher brain back in gear. It'll solve it.
Other statements that are more in the realm of spiritual, which works for many people and not for others:
What would Good Love say? (Asking questions is a great way to reengage the thinking brain.)