The issues of the day cost a lot of energy. Thinking consciously about your habits and inner desires is often too much. Why is that so hard, and how can you fix this?
It’s a significant challenge to be human in a hectic society. We still have the primitive brains of a neanderthal with the digestive system of a hunter/gatherer. Our brain, which is millions of years old, don’t bother about those final 300 years of evolution in which life became fast and furious; they continue to see things ‘simple’, which in my opinion, makes modern society un-humane.
The brain that makes us human
In the previous post, I mentioned neuroplasticity, the ability to change our brain. But it’s not as simple as the popular press makes us believe.
Our primitive brain always chooses the most effortless way because it’s less energy-consuming (in ancient times, very efficient). They think short term and are crazy about instant gratification. Tom Hannes, a Belgian Buddhist, writer and coach, says you can compare the primitive brain with a rabbit behind a powerful race car, and that rabbit likes to control, deny and embed our behaviour.
The good news is that we also have a more fresh, new brain (the cortex) in which the ratio, the conscient mind, genius inventions, and art like music, philosophy and literature (everything that makes us wonderfully human) reside, just like the long term thinking.
The bad news is that, the primitive brain is older and uses its permanent appointment to control our behaviour. This tenured brain rules from a strong instinct emotion to survive. It creates a lot of problems because his paternalistic advice is too simple for a complex world. The outcome is that we distort or deny, or even distrust reality. The way we perceive reality is mostly wrong.
It's our fate
The cortex, this conscient human part of the brain, is just the tip of the iceberg. Nevertheless, we explain everything with it, but unfortunately, a scared, short term thinking rabbit with powerful tools, the part underneath the water, controls the cortex.
You probably start to understand now why willpower or a diet plan doesn’t work well to change our lifestyle: our intentions are emotional or based on desires that overrule our conscient cortex. This means that the other way around, it’s far more complicated to be conscient about old habits, patterns, desires and fears: this consumes a lot of energy, and before you know it, you grab those cigarettes, chips, or the wrong boyfriend or girlfriend and patterns again. Or you easily get manipulated by popular press and politics who address those desires and intentions you no longer want or need.
To quote Carl Jung: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
Imagine that your only mistake is that you think there’s something wrong with you (I am not productive/skinny/obedient enough, I am an imposter, too sensitive, not worthy) and that everything you create comes from this narrative?
That’s life. That’s destiny. That’s our fate.
No, it isn’t.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
We live in our thoughts instead of reality
There once was an ordinary man named Sydney Banks. He didn’t have a PhD, Master, nor a propper education; he was a Scottish welder. Nevertheless, he had a significant impact on Psychology.
He created the three principles that embrace all life.
The first principle is Mind, the source of energy that makes life possible, heals wounds and reproduces life.
The second principle is consciousness through senses and feeling. How more powerful this consciousness, the better you can observe, the more human experience.
And then there are thoughts. Our life is a neverending series of thoughts. They pop up, after which we react with emotion as if that particular thought is real, but it isn’t. Thoughts are just thoughts. We think we react to something outside of us, but we don’t. Everything is within our control.
Think about it ;-).
you always have a choice
Everything in our world is constructed. To realize this is the first step to live consciously and to get a grip on your reality. If we understand the link between our two types of brain, a whole new world opens up.
Obama understood the duality of the brain very well: he wore the same suit for eight years of his presidency. The fewer small decisions he had to make, the more energy he had for big decisions.
Life coach Ali Campbel says that the fundamental human condition is to improve our relationship with our lingering thoughts, to become intelligently aware enough to observe our personal emotional state… Because our young brain (cortex) can indeed choose for itself.
You can choose how you react, you can choose not to look away, to confront the bully, the oppressor, to pick your own autonomy, and you can choose for love over hate: IT MAKES YOU HUMAN.
This all sounds complicated and a lot. And it is. Honestly, I believe we can all use a therapist (brainwork) and life coach (execution work) in this ‘modern’ society. They are the professionals who know the pitfalls of human behaviour and the path to our goals. They help to close the gap between what we want and what we do. But yoga philosophy, the right books or podcasts, scientists and experts without a hidden agenda can help you see clearly and become fearless.