The Art of Change
Change requires becoming aware of old habits and deciding you want to be free of old patterns. It requires “unmemorizing” emotional states that have become part of your personality and then reconditioning your body to a new mind. Here, Joe Dispenza, author of Evolve Your Brain, shows you how.
Change requires becoming aware and deciding how you no longer want to be. And that level of awareness takes a certain amount of mental effort and restraint. But why should we, or why would we want to change? Why would we actually want to create a new self or a new life? What are the benefits?
Change is all about expansion. It’s about unlearning certain traits that we’ve memorized and relearning new states. It’s about breaking the habit of your old self and reinventing a new self. It’s about your decision to no longer think, act, or feel in predictable ways. And with this, it requires pruning synaptic connections and sprouting new connections. It requires unmemorizing emotional states that have become part of your personality and then reconditioning your body to a new emotion or to a new mind.
In neuroscience, we have three brains that allow us to go from thinking to doing to being. The thinking brain is the neocortex. And every time we learn something new, we forge a new synaptic connection in our thinking brain. The neocortex is that corrugated brain that sits on the outside, allows us to gain information from our environment. So when we begin to learn new things, we add a new stitch to circuits that represent the three-dimensional tapestry in our gray matter.
Now it’s not enough to just learn that information. It’s important for us to apply what we learn, to personalize it, to demonstrate it. We have to take what we learned intellectually or philosophically, the knowledge that we’ve gained, and apply it, personalize it, demonstrate it, and change something about ourselves. When we do, we have a new experience.
Our experiences enrich the brain because, when in the midst of a new experience, everything we’re seeing and smelling and tasting and feeling and hearing, all of our five senses are gathering information from the environment and it’s sending a rush of information back to the brain through the five different pathways, causing jungles of neurons to organize themselves to reflect the event. These neurons begin to represent the environment and produce chemicals that begin to signal the body. And when that happens, we activate the second brain, called the limbic brain, or the emotional brain.
The moment we begin to modify our behavior and we have a new experience, we are instructing the body emotionally to teach it what it has intellectually understood. Now we have two brains working together: We have mind and body in unison. We are embodying knowledge now.
Now it’s not enough to have the experience once. You have to be able to repeat it, do it over and over again. You have to memorize it. You have to neurochemically condition your mind and body to the point where your body knows as well as your brain. And when you do that, you move into a state of being. And when we’re in a state of being, that’s when our thoughts and feelings are aligned to a concept and we activate that certain brain called the cerebellum, the memory center in which we’ve practiced it so many times, we no longer have to think about it.
The process of change requires us to go from thinking to doing to being. Our hardwired thoughts, our habituated behaviors, and our memorized emotions determine who we are. And the quantum field tends to respond to who we are. Not so much our desires or what we want, but who we’re being. So moving into a state of being then allows us to change not only our health, but avenues and venues in our lives.
Putting It All Into Practice
So let’s give an example of how this all comes together. Let’s say that you read a book called From Forgiveness to Love to Personal Freedom and Transformation. Let’s say you were so enthralled by the information in this book that you spent hours driving in your car, thinking about everything you’ve learned. You piece together new ideas from the information in this book and you’ve listened to the companion CD. We could say that all this information is intellectual information. It’s theory and philosophy. It’s all stored in your thinking brain.
And as you begin to review this information, as you begin to think about it, what you learn and what you review and what you contemplate, what you memorize in your head, causes neurons to begin to develop a long-term relationship. We could say that the concept in neuroscience “nerve cells that fire together wire together” means that you are wiring new information in your brain philosophically.
Now you’ve read this book. You’ve reviewed all the information. You’ve put some hardware in place to reflect what you’ve learned. As a matter of fact, every time you’ve thought about it, and every time you’ve repeated the thoughts over in your brain, you were reminding yourself and reinforcing those circuits.
So if we say that every time we learn something new is forging a new connection in your brain, we could say that remembering is maintaining and sustaining those connections. Through the process of repetition, you’re actually reinforcing the circuits so that now those circuits are in place longer than a few moments.
So now, all this information is stored in your thinking brain. And you’re invited to a company party. As you start thinking about going to this company party, you’re excited because for the last couple of weeks you’ve shared with all of your friends all the information from this great book you’ve read. All the information is in your head. You haven’t felt it yet, but you’ve thought a lot about it. You could tell your family and friends at dinner what it is to forgive and how to love and what personal transformation is. You could give advice at parties to your friends and you could become an excellent philosopher. But it’s still theory.
As you’re invited to this company party, you hear that one of your enemies, someone who has betrayed you, someone who has misrepresented you, or someone who has borne false witness about you, is going to be at this party. The moment you hear that they’re going to be at the party, you start to think as the old self what you’re going to say, how you’re going to think, what you’re going to do, how you’re going to feel.
As you begin to think in this old, familiar way, you suddenly have this thought: What piece of knowledge, what piece of philosophy, what did I learn from that book that I could actually apply? What could I demonstrate? How should I change my behavior and do exactly what the book says in order to have a new experience?
In other words, how can I get my behavior to match my intentions? How could I get my actions equal to these new thoughts? The moment you are sitting on your couch and you begin to review and think about and remind yourself and contemplate on everything you learned, and you begin to think in new ways, you’re forcing your brain to fire in new sequences, in new patterns, in new combinations. And whenever we make the brain work differently, we’re making a new mind.
So the process of your contemplation is literally creating a new mind, and if you do that enough times, you’re putting the hardware in place ahead of the actual experience.
Now you have some circuits to use when you get in that experience. As you’re driving to the party—and reminding yourself who you no longer want to be, how you no longer want to act, how you’re not going to feel—you can think about and become conscious of those unconscious propensities. The mere fact of reviewing them means you’re restraining certain circuits from firing. And the principal in neuroscience says that “nerve cells that no longer fire together no longer wire together.” In other words, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
As you become conscious of those automatic kneejerk reactions and then begin to think about a new way of being, you’re cultivating new hardware neurologically and putting the circuits in place before the experience actually happens. When you get to the party and you see your enemy, instead of responding in a predictable way, you now decide to do exactly what the book says. You forgive. You let go. You no longer hold him or her to the past. You no longer revisit the same emotion.
As you use this process and approach this person as your new self, and you actually go through the process of forgiveness, the moment you do exactly what the book says, you begin to feel a sense of love. You feel a sense of personal transformation and freedom the moment that happens.
You’re in a new experience because you changed your behavior. You are teaching the body what the mind has intellectually understood. In other words, the body is learning chemically what the mind has understood philosophically. Thoughts are the language of the brain and the mind, and feelings are the language of the body.
The moment you do exactly what you’re supposed to do, and you feel the new feelings of love, liberation, and forgiveness, that second brain is activated and the body and mind are working together. Now you know you’re embodying that knowledge, and you know what forgiveness and freedom feels like.
But it’s not enough to do it once. We can’t forgive our enemies once and think we’re done. We have to be able to repeat it over and over again. We have to memorize a new state. And as we begin to neurologically wire that hardware in place and then condition the body emotionally, the repetition of that over time both neurologically and chemically turns on the third brain, called the cerebellum.
Now you’ve gone from thinking to doing to being. And if you practice it enough times, when you move into that state of being, your mind and body will be attuned. If you can maintain that modified state of being and memorize it, you’ve memorized an internal order so great that no condition in life can move you from it. And when in that state of being, the quantum field in your life begins to flow as a result of who you’re being.
90% to 95% of who we are by the time we’re 35 years old sits in a subconscious memory system in which most of our habits and behaviors exist. So our natural desire in life is to go from thinking to doing to being. And when we can make those states of mind called love and forgiveness and compassion as automatic as the ones that drive us to our lowest denominator, we are on a new adventure. We’re headed to a new life, a new reality.