Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Michael Merzenich, a renowned neuroscientist, says this about the brain:

"Now, one of the characteristics of this change process is that information is always related to other inputs or other information that's occurring in immediate time, in context. And that's because the brain is constructing representations of things that are correlated in little moments of time, and that relate to one another in little moments of successive time. The brain is recording all information and driving all change in temporal context.

Now, overwhelmingly, the most powerful context that occurred in your brain, is "you". Billions of events occurred in history that are related in time to your "self" as the receiver, your "self" as the actor, your "self" as the thinker, your "self" as the mover.
Billions of times, little pieces of sensation have come in from the surface of your body, that are always associated with "you," the receiver, and result in the embodiment of "you". "You" are constructed. Your "self" is constructed from these billions of events; it's constructed, it's created in your brain and it's created in the brain by physical change. This is the marvelously constructed thing that results in individual form, because each one of us has vastly different histories, and vastly different experiences, that drive into us this marvelous differentiation of self, of personhood."

For the whole speech, visit http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_merzenich_on_the_elastic_brain.html

Here's why this is amazing to me.

We have the power to shape our own brain through our choices. Our choices about behavior and what to feel/think about events will create connections in our brain. We shape our own creation. 

"You are in charge of your happiness, well being, capacities--capable of continuuous improvement. You are the agent."

Connect this to another thought:

Jesus said,  1. Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Okay, simple enough. But heaven knows, this simple phrase has incredibly complicated implications.

Let's look at this from two perspectives. If you judge, you will be judged. If you judge not, you will not be judged. Is this only talking about the afterlife and the giant judgment in the sky? Or is Jesus referring to a pattern of every day living that will lead to greater happiness here on earth? I believe inspired teaching can be applicable in the eternities and in our every day. 

He follows it up with this:

2. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you again. (Matthew 7:2)

Is this a lesson in fairness? Is this a cosmic revelation of the theory of karma?

It would seem that he is saying--You have the power to determine your own brand of justice. How so? How do I create the reactions I will get from other people? Am I casting a spell on them?

It seems all hocus pocus.

And yet--we see it happen all the time. Like attracts like. Kindness begets kindness.

But this isn't even talking about actions--it's talking about JUDGMENT.  Judgment is simply how we view another person--how we THINK about another person.

The admonition says nothing about how to act towards that person, it is simply saying--

Watch your thoughts about others--because the way you think about other people--is the way others will think about you.

Is this true? Can I change the way others view me by the way I view others?  Do I really have the power to shape the way others think through my own thoughts? 

I wonder.

Just as we create our brains--we are also shaping the universe that we live in.

Some of us live in a cold and mean world. Others live in a comfortable and exciting world.

I believe that understanding the power we have to create connections and thought patterns can ultimately help us to create the universe we hope for in our mind's eye. It is not just imagination. Scientists are documenting physical evidence that certain thoughts and behaviors are actually changing the shape of the brain. In the same way, the ways we think about others can shape how others will think about us. With this knowledge, we can shape our world. We can create experiences of optimism and love--or we can create experiences of doubt and hatred.

Today, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to create connections in my mind and in the universe. Every day. Every connection. Every thought. I am creating. 

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