Think About What You Are Thinking About

4 Apr

Let’s start with a juicy topic.  If you think about God, what do you think about?  Is your perception of God authoritarian or benevolent?

Research shows that those who embrace an authoritarian God tend to favor the death penalty, want to spend more money on the military, want to give the government more power to fight terrorism, and insist that prayer should be allowed in public schools.  Envisioning an authoritarian God will activate the limbic (emotional) brain that generates fear and anger. Thus, the brain is primed to fight.

Those who perceive a benevolent God activate a part of their brain that can envision love, compassionate images, faces or thoughts. When stimulated, it suppresses the impulse to get angry or frightened.  It also helps generate feelings of empathy towards other who are suffering or hurt.  This part of the brain is called the anterior cingulated and sits between the emotional brain and the thinking brain.

As far as the brain is concerned, if you give an experience a label (God) and saturate it with meaning (authoritarian or benevolent), you will perceive your experience as something that actually exists in the world. The personality you assign to God has direct neural patterns that correlate with your own emotional style of behavior.

Basically, we all have two brains – one selfish and suspicious, another that is open-minded and can be kind.  If you’re wondering which brain will win? It’s the one you feed!!  What you think about creates your reality.  Needless to say this extends beyond God, it plays into your perception of other people, situations, activities, beliefs and values.

You can change your perception of other people, situations or God by choosing what part of your brain you feed.

Based on research, you can rather easily develop neural circuits geared towards compassion and open-mindedness.  (Easy, as in, it doesn’t require a lot of training or resources, however, it does require consistency and intentionality!)  Here’s what you do, absorb yourself in thoughts associated with the feelings of kindness and love as you breath deeply and relax. Do this for at least 12 minutes per day for 6-8 weeks.  You will begin to build and strengthen new neural circuits of compassion.

In addition, if you consciously interrupt pessimistic thoughts and feelings with optimistic beliefs – even if they are based on fantasies rather than reality – you will stimulate your brain to create new circuits that decrease fear, anxiety, and irritability and increase your sense of peacefulness.

FYI, if you obsess on doubts and worries, your emotional brain will slow down your thinking brain which decreases your ability to be empathetic and feel pleasure.

When love goes up – fear goes down.  When anger goes up – compassion goes down.  If you focus on a benevolent God, the authoritarian God recedes. You can control non-conscious circuits in your brain when you choose what you think about. The choice is entirely yours!

2 Responses to “Think About What You Are Thinking About”

  1. Brady Wilson April 9, 2013 at 7:26 am #

    REally nice work here once again
    Thanks for all you do for all of us Sue
    Brady

  2. David July 4, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

    Dr Caroline Leaf says a similar thing about new neuro connectors and such. However, she states that such re-wiring might needs continual maintenance in order to remain. So my question for all neuroscientists is why, if the brain is so pliable, do we have to continually rewire the brain toward the positive (if we are “naturally pessimistic people”), and why is it we slip so easily back into “wrong” thinking. Surely, a renewed mind does not un-renew, otherwise, by implication, it was not renewed, but merely in the process of being renewed; a process which ceased to continue the moment stimuli was stopped, and thus reversion occurred.

    The trouble is, I haven’t studied this. I don’t have nor have read the “research”, which, again, unfortunately, is a non-spiritual understanding/FALLEN human understanding of how the brain works (by that I don’t mean an incorrect one; merely an inCOMPLETE one).

    Again, as my comment on a different article states, why are we so obsessed into getting everyone to “think the same”? Or think healthily. Or successful? This “the choice is yours” theory is only applicable to those with the capacity to change (which whilst we all have in varying degrees, are not all at the place in our lives to ACT on that capacity) and our humility to embrace the fact that NO-ONE has the right answers (on who God is or is not, how He acts, why He acts, etc) and thus thinking about God in “one way” is not the right way to the exclusion of the other. He is “all things to all men”, so surely He is able to deal with each “type” of person in a bespoke manner, no a one-brush-approach as stipulated by pro-choice people.

    In fact, those who struggle with “choice”, merely feel MORE condemned by the fact they feel powerless to “choose” because all around them constantly say “MAKE A CHOICE! DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR! CHOOSE LIFE!”. If they felt they could…errr…they would! So it becomes cyclical. Only those who are already pro-choice WILL choose; and those poor, depressed, stressed souls struggling with choice, well, they won’t even be LOOKING for this blog or people who are pro-choice.

    So again,all those who are helped are merely those who are helped BE THEMSELVES, which they already were, and are NOW learning to embrace their uniqueness, rather than try to change or fit the mold.

    Again, I may be WAY off on all this. I just run with what my fingers type on an “intuitive level”. Lol

    David

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