Thursday, December 30, 2010

Breaking Free from the Reptilian Mind!

According to neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean, we have a three part brain, consisting of reptilian, paleomammalian, and neomammalian sections of the brain.
- The reptilian section regulates the body's life-support systems, such as respiration, cardiovascular and nervous functions. It is also responsible for survival and instinctual behaviors, such as aggression, dominance, territoriality, competitiveness, hoarding, pain and fear response (fight [anger] or flight [avoidance]) and ritualistic or repeating behavior (including addictions). It is 'cold blooded' (lacks emotion), and controlling (if we let it).
- The paleomammalian section (the limbic brain) is generally associated with long term memory and emotional learning.
- The neomammalian section (the right and left cortex you normally think of when you picture a brain, unique to mammals) is the 'thinking' and 'feeling' part of the brain, involved in advanced levels of cognition, such as logic and reason, language, creativity, planning, perception, emotion, and holistic levels of integration of sensory information.

What is somewhat surprising in our culture today is how much of it seems to be designed to get us to rely primarily on the reptilian brain functions. As soon as we enter school, we are taught to sit down, shut up and obey the teacher (fear and routine based). Rather than creative learning through exploration, discovery, and optimization, children are taught through rote repetition and memorization. TV often shuts of the higher levels of consciousness and feeds directly into the lower levels, hence the focus on power, sex and greed. Sports often feeds our instincts towards violence, competitiveness, aggression, and dominance. Video games teens play are full of first-person-shooter scenarios where the child routinely kills dozens if not hundreds of virtual human beings in gory bloodbath of destruction. As adults, we become slaves to the clock, filling our lives with routine, seeing work as an extension of school... sit down, shut up, and obey your boss. There is little spontaneity, free expression of ideas, discovery, or creativity. Outside work we spend our days either shuttling the kids to various competitive events or vegging in front of the TV. Is that how life should be?!?!?!?

We can continue being subservient to our reptilian brain, or we can choose to rise above it and become truly free. The first step is awareness, awakening. Realize that life does not need to be a series of routines imposed on us by others. Authority is not always right. The norm is not always the best. We can go higher. We can rise above the din. We can seek truth and goodness and love. We can be free. How?

What if we turned off the TV and spent some time sharing our deepest selves with each other? What if we shut off the video games and spent time exploring nature, helping those in need, sharing with others, becoming more aware of the beauty of the creation? What if we dropped our daily routines and acted more spontaneously? Let life flow naturally instead of always trying to beat the clock (like people did before clocks were invented)? What if we questioned authority, challenged assumptions, lived fearlessly? What if we sought the truth and lived in love? What if we broke our psychological conditioning and became truly free individuals?

What if? Why not? Why not start now? Refuse to be manipulated by the media or those in power who would like to keep you controlled, passive, predictable. Think differently. Seek a new perspective. Seek truth, goodness, and free creative expression guided by love. The truth will make you free! Ready, set, GO!