The images that we create in our mind as we process different streams of consciousness leave footprints in the vast endless fields of neurological landscape, which creates the identity called "you". For the "you" as a sentient being is immersed and truly exists in the interconnected electrical web of cellular brain tissue. How our nerve cells are specifically arranged by what we learn, what we remember, what we experience, what we envision for ourselves, what we fear, as well as what we think about ourselves defines us individually and it is reflected in our internal neurological wiring. We are a work in progress.
The brain is the organ of change. There is a concept in neuroscience called neuroplasticity, which demonstrates that the brain alters itself every time we learn something new. It also changes when we have any novel experience. It begs the question, "How many new things have I learned recently that I can remember and how many new experiences have I had lately?" Our grey matter is also rearranged during the times we choose to modify our behaviour in order to do a better job in life. In other words, when we really change our mind, the brain changes...and when we change the brain, the mind changes.
Here is what I mean. By definition in neuroscience, mind is the brain in action. Mind is the brain at work. It is the product of brain activity when it is animated with life. Now with 100 billion nerve cells seamlessly wired together, it becomes apparent that we can produce many different levels of mind. Virtually, we can make the brain work differently because we can influence the brain to fire in different sequences, different patterns, and in different combinations in order to produce many diverse states of mind.
For example, the mind we use to put on our makeup is different from the state of mind we use to drive our car. We make the brain work differently when we brush our teeth compared to when we play the violin. Equally, we make a different mind when we play the victim in contrast to when we demonstrate joy. All of this is so, because we can quite simply force gangs of nerve cells to fire in many diverse ways.
Not more than 30 or 40 years ago, there was a unanimous belief in the field of neuroscience that the brain was hardwired, meaning that we are born with a certain amount of neurological connections and the finality in life was that we were going to turn out like our parents. It was an accepted perception that this delicate organ called the brain was unable to upscale its hardware. But with the advent of the latest technologies in functional imagery (brain scans) it is apparent that it is very possible to make the brain work (process mind) differently. In fact, some of the research out of the University of Wisconsin has proven something as simple as attention or focused concentration is a skill just like golf or tennis. In other words, the more you practice being conscious or mindful the better you get at it.
Now herein lies the paradox. If we can truly change the brain and change the mind, then who is doing the changing of the brain and the mind? The brain cannot change itself. It is an organ just like a kidney or a liver. The brain is nothing without life. The mind cannot change the brain because the mind is the product of the brain. Remember, the mind is the brain in action. So who then is doing the changing of the brain and the mind? The answer is the word that has been eluding scientists and philosophers for hundreds of years. It is consciousness that uses the brain and the body to produce many different levels of mind. And it is only when we are truly conscious and aware that we can make measurable changes in who we are and how we control our lives.
In addition, functional imagery has clearly proven that we can also change the brain just by thinking differently. For example, if we had two groups of people who never played the piano and we instructed the first group on how to physically play one-handed finger exercises like scales and chords, their brains would change as a result of this new activity. So if they practised two hours a day for five days, the before and after results of the functional brain scans would clearly show new areas of the brain activated. In essence, they not only would be making a new mind, but they would literally be growing new brain circuits. However, if we then asked a second group to mentally rehearse the same scales and chords in their mind for the same amount of time, they would grow the same amount of brain connections as the group who physically demonstrated the activity. Simply put, when we are truly focused and attentive, the brain does not know the difference between what is happening in our mind's eye and what is happening in the external world.
Other research has proven similar results, not only in the brain but in the body as well. These tests have shown that there is absolutely a mind-body connection - in fact, the mind changed the body. In one study, subjects who were asked to do a finger exercise against the resistance of a spring over the course of four weeks for an hour a day showed a 30% increase in muscle strength. (Nothing special there.) However, the second group never lifted a finger. They mentally practised the same activity for the same length of time and demonstrated a 22% increase in muscle strength without any physical activity.
This research is significant because it clearly showed that the body as well as the brain changed before the experience of really pulling the spring. What I mean is this: without touching the spring or physically doing the exercise, the body was stronger to reflect a mental effort not a physical effort. These two studies are significant because they show that physical changes can occur by our thoughts, our intentions, and our meditations.
Because of the size of the human brain's frontal lobe, we can make thought more real than anything else. That's the privilege of being human. And when this phenomenon of mental training manifests, the brain on a synaptic level will look like it has had the actual experience. And with consistent practice, the brain and the body will be physically changed in physical reality without ever having a physical experience. We are ahead of that particular reality because our consciousness has made changes in physical reality. We created the neurological hardware to use in the future experience that awaits us.
By applying this understanding to the quantum model, which states that our subjective mind has an effect or control over our objective world (consciousness creates reality), we can begin to explore the idea that if our brain and our bodies are evidencing physical changes to look like the experience has already happened as a result of our mental efforts and before the physical manifestation of consciousness has occurred, then theoretically the experience will find us!
Dr Joe Dispenza is returning to Australia in June 2015
Researcher and bestselling author Dr Joe Dispenza is a leader in the fields of neuroscience and quantum physics to heal illness