CAVEAT: I love scientific explanations of the brain, but you may not find them interesting – I ask that you bear with me and read through the write-up at least once.
Following is some information and exercises that can clarify and can help you to “know thyself.”
NOTE: The following are simplified extracts of the mind and are not literal/complete descriptions. The mind and your memories (JAR) are much more sophisticated than this description; but at the same time, this description can provide you with a useful model. I am providing the model for the exercises that come later in this write up.
The main point that I’m getting at with this model is that your own brain conflicts with your desires – you’ve probably listened to internal voices in your head (often imprinted by parents, teachers, religious leaders, etc.) and these voices contradict each other. Simple example: “I need to lose some weight, so I will eliminate cake and ice cream from my eating plan.” But the other internal voice says, “This is a special occasion (birthday, thanksgiving, etc.), so I deserve some gravy on my mashed potatoes and dessert after the meal on this special day.”
I know the internal conflict is not typically clear and simple; more often, you may just have an impression and then you’ll get these twinges of doubt – not even getting enough information to know when and where you got imprinted with these conflicting beliefs (JAR).
CAVEAT: I mentioned hearing internal voices, but to clarify I am being metaphorical. Some people will actually hear a voice or several voices – you can ask them where do you hear that voice? And, they will tell you where the voices are located. On the other hand, most people feel they are getting conflicting information, but it isn’t clearly a voice or anywhere they can determine. Okay, some people are schizophrenic and definitely hear voices – if you hear a voice(s) telling you to hurt yourself or someone else, it’s time to see a professional.
A Useful Model of the Brain
The brain in a human’s head is often described as being made up of multiple segments or units (the meat; I know most people don’t like to think of the brain as being a piece of meat, but it is). In general, all the units work together, but strangely there are times when the units have been accidently separated or damaged in some way and the individual stills functions – not always exactly like the pre-separation of the units, but still often the individual seems to be functional. Thirty years ago the brain was considered a fixed piece of meat after reaching the age of 18. A popular analogy was “you can’t teach old dogs new tricks;” and many companies did not want to hire a person after age 35. Hospitals relegated severe head trauma cases to the back mental wards because they were considered irreparable. But happily a lot of head trauma, stroke, and heart attack victims got better – rehabilitated themselves. This is now known as Neural Plasticity – our brains rewire themselves around the traumatized areas.
Dendrites: Let’s start with one of the most flexible parts of the brain – a dendrite or dendrites. A dendrite is basically an electromagnetic connection (called a neuroconnector) – no meat involved – in every part of the brain. To be somewhat more correct, it starts as an electric or chemical flash in some area of the brain and either dies immediately or with repetition creates a long-term connection. For example, you go to a foreign movie where the actors speak Croatian and based on the actor’s actions and your friend’s explanations, you sort-of get the meaning; so you’ve had an electromagnetic flash (i.e., dendrite stimulation); but then you leave the movie and never hear Croatian again, so the flash dissipates (dies). Or, say you get a guitar and start learning the scales and finger movements; you study diligently for months and months, so each time you practice, you flash electromagnetic energy to various parts of your brain. The repetition causes your brain to form long-term dendrite connections – sometimes referred to as memories.
Chemicals: The brain and body are loaded with chemicals dealing with every fluid function, e.g., digestive enzymes in the stomach; but I’m not going to deal with these functional chemicals here. However, the brain also has a number of chemical mixtures, for example: (1) adrenaline – energy source which is sometimes good and sometimes bad; and (2) dopamine – basically created when the individual is doing something that pushes him/her to exhaustion or pain, like long-distance running. Dopamine is the body’s version of morphine and provides exactly the same pain relief.
NOTE: Recreational drugs often kill dendrites and brain cells as well as body parts like the liver. It is extremely hard to see the damage of drugs on the brain until it does extensive damage.
CAVEAT: I describe the right-side and the left-side of the brain as being the same for every human being, but the fact is that some left-handed and some ambidextrous people’s brains switch some functions and memory storage. For the most part it does not matter – it does matter if an individual is seriously injured, but even then a CAT or MRI scan would be needed to evaluate the extent of the damage. So why do I bother? It matters because it provides a useful model for learning – increasing dendrites – and for improving psychic messages and paranormal abilities.
THE BRAIN HAS FOUR (4) MAJOR SEGMENTS OR HEMISPHERES.
A very important thing to remember is that the actual brain works as a unified whole; these four hemispheres, dendrites, and the various chemicals are definitely there, but they are not autonomous units. The exception is the individual who has been in a serious accident or malicious event (e.g., caught by an improvised explosive device or severely beaten) or birth defect.
REPTILIAN PART OF THE BRAIN: At the base of the brain, touching the spine is the old brain – an informal description or colloquialism is to call it the reptilian brain. This part of the brain does a lot of the things that keep you alive – for example, it hooks to the stomach and regulates digestion; it keeps you breathing; it works with your liver, kidneys, colon, and bowels to cleanse the body of toxins; etc. The reptilian brain also tells you “to take flight or fight” and dumps adrenaline/fear into your body. It is a pretty good work horse, but it is completely unable to hear conversational complaints – it doesn’t have even the rudiments of a language. In general, the reptilian lobe does not understand moderation; for example, you see a shadow that sort of looks like a snake, your reptilian brain screams threat and loads you up with adrenaline/fear; you quickly see it is only a shadow and try to talk yourself into being calm. Your reptilian brain doesn’t understand and just keeps flooding your body with adrenaline for several minutes. That’s what the reptilian brain is supposed to do. But then you get in a car and deal with numerous erratic drivers and your reptilian brain goes into hyper-drive. Wow, great job of overloading the brain and body!
So what do you do to calm the reptilian part of the brain and stimulate dendrites? One thing that works is to have a stiff drink or two; not really a good idea to over-indulge on a daily basis, but the reptilian brain understands food and drink. Or, you can massage the side of your face or your leg; or you can get a full body massage. I know it seems strange to be massaging your face or whatever part of your body you want, but the reptilian brain knows touch and is calmed by touch. Or, get yourself a muscle grip – it looks like a piece of hard rubber or wax – and squeeze it; again physical action (touch or massage) calms the reptilian part of the brain. Music with a throbbing beat – like the sound of a drum – is also a good way to sooth the reptilian part of the brain or to excite it (for example, night club dancing). Remember, you are stimulating new transmission routes in the reptilian part of the brain.
MID-BRAIN: The mid-brain is actually segmented into two separate units – again a colloquial description being (a) the left-side of the brain and (b) the right-side of the brain. It actually goes all the way to the back of the skull and is in direct contact – hookup – with the reptilian brain and the pre-frontal part of the brain. In the past, there was a common surgical process to separate the left and right-sides of the brain – called a lobotomy. The connecting fibers between the right and left-sides of the brain were cut to prevent/control seizures for severe cases of epilepsy. One of the big problems is that when severed, the two sides don’t communicate with each other anymore and the person starts to have some peculiar behavioral problems. A classic example is that the individual can be shown a picture to one side of the brain using specially designed goggles; but when the picture is shown to the other side, the individual does not recognize it. It got stranger, the patient learned an individual’s name with one side of the brain – the researchers in the hospital did a controlled experiment – and when the patient saw the subject in a space available to the other side of the brain, the patient could not put the individual’s name together with the actual face of the subject. The subject recognized the face and the name, but could not put the two together to form a whole – gestalt. There are a lot of other problems, but that would lead us too far astray.
Basically, the left-side of the brain communicates with the right hand, the right side of the body, and the right side of each eye. The right-side of the brain communicates with the left hand, the left side of the body, and the left side of the eye. NOTE: The eye is split down the middle as far as being in contact with the brain. This right-left crossover isn’t really important to most of us as it is done so quickly and automatically that it is not generally noticed by a healthy individual. Obviously, a severe stroke or heart-attack victim notices.
THE LEFT-SIDE OF THE BRAIN: The left-side of the brain basically deals with creating patterns and order; it likes consistency. It is also the repository for rote learning like the alphabet and mathematical algorithms (e.g., 2+2, 3 times 4, etc.); the speech center is in the left-side of the brain for most people (about 85%) – even for left-handed people.
It is important to remember that the school system puts a lot of emphasis on exercising the left lobe of the brain; i.e., teaching English, mathematics, reading and writing. Then many people go to college and continue to exercise the left-side of the brain – studying such topics as accounting or law.
Exercise to enhance the left-side of the brain: Become a life-long student in subjects that involve writing or book type learning.
THE RIGHT-SIDE OF THE BRAIN: How science has changed - prior to 1981, the right hemisphere was considered, “mute and agraphic, but also dyslexic, word-deaf, and apraxic; and lacking generally in higher cognitive function.” In other words, it was thought to be a useless chunk of tissue.
The right-side of the brain deals with music, singing, poetry, art, dreams, and creativity. An oddity, a person who is a severe stutterer can sing without a glitch because the speech center is in the left-side of the brain, but the musical and poetic centers are in the right-side.
A little example, an individual agreed to be a test subject who was wired up and had his vision controlled by strange goggles in such a way as to restrict his access to the other hemispheres of the brain. He accessed his left brain and was asked to draw a picture of a woman – he drew her eye, an ear, and a hand sticking out of the side of her head. Oddly, sounds like a Salvador Dali abstract painting. Then the harness was changed to access the right-brain and, again, he was asked to draw a picture of a woman. The right-brain drew an outline of the entire woman’s body, but it did not have any details. This type of experiment taught the research-scientist a lot about the benefits of the right-brain.
Exercises to enhance the right-side of the brain: Study music or art. You can dance or get massages. The psychic development exercise is to become involved in meditation and participate in psychic message circles.
THE PRE-FRONTAL PART OF THE BRAIN: This part of the brain is often colloquially referred to as “the grey matter.” In a healthy brain, it is wrinkled and looks like it was forced and pushed to fit in to the skull. It is the youngest part of the brain; about 1.2 million years old. The reptilian part of the brain is about 1.5 billion years old.
The pre-frontal part of the brain is not fully developed in an individual until he/she is approximately 18 years old. The prefrontal area blocks novelty as it inhabits the individual – e.g., don’t do that; it isn’t safe. It may never be fully developed in cases of malnourishment, early childhood abuse or heavy use of recreational drugs. It is the part of the brain that handles logical and rational thinking. Now this is not completely true, but again useful, the pre-frontal brain is an observer, not necessarily a doer – to put it bluntly, if you watch the group who refer to themselves as “Jackasses” or watch one of their movies, they often do very dangerous things and often get hurt. They used their left-brain to come up with the Jackass idea and their right-brain to evaluate the fun quotient of the act; but, basically, they do not bother to process it through their pre-frontal lobe. Interestingly, stuntmen/women also do many high risk stunts, but the difference is that most movie stunts are well choreographed with planned extensive safety precautions. These stunt people are generally in very good physical shape, often specialize in one or two specific stunts – for example, an automobile stunt person probably doesn’t do fire related stunts, and are well trained in their specialty.
An exercise and process you can use to calm the left-side and right-side of the brain, as well as the reptilian part of the brain, is to breathe deeply and rhythmically for 3 to 5 minutes.
Exercise: Here is an exercise to help you create an anchor for mental focus. Sit quietly for a few minutes with your hands in your lap.
- First – gently tap on the back of your hand. Most people use their dominant hand to tap on the back of their non-dominant hand. You want to find a point on the back of the hand – it is between the little-finger and the ring-finger about a half-inch above the knuckles. You are to continuously tap throughout the entire exercise. You don’t have to be exact in where you tap – if you use two fingers, the first and middle fingers and tap with the ball of the fingers you will cover enough area to hit the acupressure point located there.
- Second – close your eyes for about three seconds.
- Third – open your eyes.
- Fourth – shift your open eyes down hard to the right.
- Fifth – shift your open eyes down hard to the left.
- Sixth – roll your eyes in a circle like you’re looking at the numbers on a clock. Don’t move your head; just move your eyes (clockwise).
- Seventh – roll your eyes in a circle to the reverse direction (counter-clockwise).
- Eighth – hum three seconds of a song (any song will do, you don’t even have to be good); an option is to whistle. This is a right-brain activity for most people.
- Ninth – count rapidly from 1 to 5. This is a left-brain activity for most people.
- Tenth – again, hum three seconds of a song.
You have just completely stimulated/massaged every part of your brain. After you become familiar with this pattern, you will be able to complete it in less than one minute.
The next step is the hardest, as you go through all ten steps, focus on how you experience shifting from the right-brain to the left-brain or vice versa. The beauty of this exercise is that it rebalances your entire electromagnetic system; also, you have created an anchor on the back of your hand that enables you to tap it quietly in a staff meeting or at a dinner party and, as an anchor, it will stimulate all ten steps.
NOTE: An anchor is a memory device - a verbal anchor is like the alphabet song or saying “I love you.” Of course, you would need to spend some time and effort in installing the anchor – see the dendrite explanation about growing electromagnetic connections by repeated reinforcement of an action.
Finally, if you are still having problems discriminating between making-it-up and psychic – then do these simple exercises.
- Silently or out-loud start an alphabet-number countdown – that is, A1, B2, C3, D4, E5, F6, and so forth. Repeat for five rounds.
- Next, hum or whistle a tune for a few seconds or start playing a musical instrument – like a drum or a harmonica for five minutes. This will stimulate (create electromagnetic connections) in the creative area of the brain which is generally located (in about 85 per cent of the people) in the right-side of the brain.
Complete these exercises and focus on what happens to your mental thoughts and where you feel the alphabet-number countdown. Then focus on where you experience the music.
These simple exercises will increase the number of dendrites (electromagnetic connections) in the various areas of your brain.
Oh, an important JAR factor – have fun.
NOTE ONE: A well-trained fireman, police officer or soldier is also being bombarded with adrenaline (in hazardous situations, it is generally a stressful formula); the firefighter is physically and mentally in the dangerous situations, but uses the adrenaline rushes of the reptilian stem to face threats and challenge their fears to do what is needed. Training for these skills and composed reaction steps…training and systematic planning increases the density of synaptic dendrite (electromagnetic) connections and turns the tasks into a systematic or rote processing action (mostly, a left-brain function) and also creates what is called “muscle-memory.”
An example of a common-sense approach to dealing with a problem that kept getting worse and finally turning into a disaster with numerous deaths is the Costa Concordia cruise ship getting too close to the land outside Port Giglio, Italy and hitting a large boulder. The ship was going too fast, was too close to land (it was 1,000 feet rather than four miles) and apparently turned off the ground proximity detector. And the people who got on the boat at the last port still had not been advised about life-vests or which life-boat they were to use (maritime law says this will be done within 24 hours of getting on a ship). The crash started about two hours after leaving the last port. Then the captain’s alleged action was to leave the ship (got in a lifeboat) and did not provide the needed leadership to organize and maintain control of the panicking passengers and even the crew. Hypothesis: the captain and crew used their “left-brain” common-sense and got away from the damaged ship. The Italian authorities are considering charging the captain and several crew members with negligent homicide.
NOTE TWO: A person’s reptilian brain is both bad and good – it is bad when the adrenaline rush pushes the individual into panic mode, but it is good when the individual uses the flight-or-fight adrenaline to deal with a threat in an energetically focused way.
Damage to the brain-stem or reptilian brain is always dreadful. In what I think is the worst case scenario the brain-stem is partially severed and the victim goes into a conscious coma; they are totally relaxed, but not in a purposeful way, they cannot move, they cannot speak - a few have been able to communicate by blinking their eyes. It takes a miracle for any to recover.
NOTE THREE: Knowledge is power. Just understanding the functions of the various parts of the brain often enables an individual to maximize these various parts and get them to work together.
NOTE FOUR: Many functions of the brain are scattered throughout the right-left-lobes and somewhat in the prefrontal area; for example, memories. There is a chance of rehabilitation because of what is called the plasticity of the brain; for example, a soldier is hit with an IED (improvised explosive device) and it does a lot of damage to the left-side of his head and brain (the speech center is generally located in the left-side of the brain). Or, poppa has a severe stroke and the left-side of his brain is damaged. After extensive rehabilitation, he may learn to speak using part of the right-side of his brain.
NOTE FIVE: The right-side of the brain generally would not be that useful in a dangerous crisis. The exception is that when a person or group is in a situation for a prolonged period – provided they are still functional – then the creative flashes of the right-lobe may become useful (this is the exception not the general rule for most people). For most people, prolonged stress is unhealthy and damaging to mental processes and the body – for example, 25 per cent of soldiers return home with Post Traumatic Stress Disease (PTSD) and that does not include the soldiers seriously injured with missing body parts.
NOTE SIX: Crisis responses are seldom like they are shown in the movies or television shows. The most common panic reaction is for an individual or group to freeze (muscles lock up and their eyes glaze over – and they die), unless someone takes charge and gets some of the members organized. The freeze may only last for a couple of minutes or for as long as 30 minutes; generally enough time to die.