Almost everyone yearns for change in their lives. We all want to experience more happiness, fulfillment, and peace. We want lifelong good health and an end to fearing the aging process. By combining the fruits of modern neuroscience and timeless wisdom, you can achieve those goals. That is what your brain is designed for. The key is realizing that you are the user of your brain. If you choose, you can influence every aspect of your brain, and therefore every aspect of your life.
In our new book Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being, Dr. Rudolph Tanzi and I make a distinction between the everyday brain and super brain. The everyday brain could be dubbed “the baseline brain,” because it operates at the minimum functioning to keep you alive and healthy. It controls your heart rate, your blood pressure, your immune function, all of your subconscious impulses. That’s not a minor role; the baseline brain is a marvel of complexity and efficiency. But too much of it is devoted to habits, old conditioning, unconscious reflexes, and lack of self-awareness. We believe that the brain is designed to deliver much more. By removing the obstacles that have built up over time, you can grow your brain from baseline to super brain.
Super Brain provides detailed guidance on how to tap into your brain’s infinite potential and become the user of your brain. As we describe, your brain is waiting for you to give it direction. You can lead your brain and inspire it. You can actively shape new neural pathways. You can keep your memory intact, preserve your brain’s health, and minimize the risk of aging and senile dementia, things that are greatly feared as people grow older.
Here are a few of the most important practices for moving from a baseline brain to the power of super brain:
Practice self-awareness. You can expand your awareness in many ways, and as you do, your brain will evolve. It will grow physically by developing new neural pathways, synaptic connections, and even new brain cells. Perhaps more importantly, it will evolve to mirror the expansion of your mind into new, creative areas. Self-awareness includes awareness of your mental realm, which encompasses your thoughts, feelings, energy, and emotions. Self-awareness is also your awareness of the world, which you experience through the five senses (sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell). Pay attention to your sensory impressions and be aware of those five ways that the world comes to you. Self-awareness also includes awareness of your body. Most people aren’t in touch with their body and tend to live in their thoughts. When we’re in touch with our body, we’re attuned to our intuition, needs, and desires and will be in the best position to make evolutionary choices for our health and wellbeing.
Practice self-reflection. Every day, take some time to meditate and cultivate inner quiet. Then ask yourself what I call the “soul questions”: Who am I? What do I want? What is the purpose and meaning of my life? How can I create a better world? The more you reflect, the more your life will move into the answer. The interesting thing is that you don’t have to know the answers—simply asking the questions and your reflection itself causes the rewiring of the brain.
Meditate. A few moments of inner peace and quiet allows the brain to reset itself. You become more centered as this happens, since the brain is clearing out distractions and too much “cross talk.” So take some time each day to bring clarity to your inner world. Experiencing the silence of meditation doesn’t have to be complicated. You can lie on the floor with arms and legs outspread, paying attention to the sensations in your body. You can observe the outflow and inflow of your breath. You can also go to a park and let the impressions of nature calm your brain. You can learn more about meditation and download a meditation guide at the Chopra Center’s Meditation Resource library at chopra.com/ccl-meditation/.
Practice conscious choice making. A fixed habit is supported by old, well-worn pathways in the brain. When you make conscious choices to change a habit, you create new pathways. At the same time, you strengthen the decision-making function of the cerebral cortex while diminishing the grip of the lower, instinctual brain. So without judging your habit, whether it feels like a good one or a bad one, take time to break the routine, automatic response that habit imposes. Here are a few ways to face a habit and say “no” to it: Go outside your fixed routine; turn off the computer and the television; find a new outlet for your down time; talk to someone who holds a viewpoint contrary to yours and pay respectful attention, really listening.
There is a need for everyone’s brain to be imprinted with more self-enhancing impulses: the impulse to peace over violence, love over fear, compassion over selfishness. In the larger scheme, an endangered planet may depend on the evolution of consciousness. Survival of the fittest can take us only so far; competition and aggression have brought us to the brink of self-destruction. What is needed now is survival of the wisest. You can participate in this shift by expanding your own awareness. At the level of the mind, you are part of the human mind; at the level of the brain you are part of the global brain. This is a perfect example of becoming the change that you want to see.
About the Author
Deepak Chopra, M.D. is a bestselling author and the co-founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. The Chopra Center offers a variety of signature programs and event, including the Journey into Healing: Super Brain workshop, taking place this August 22−25 at La Costa Resort & Spa. Join Drs. Deepak Chopra and Rudolph Tanzi and other renowned experts for an in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to heal and transform the body. For more information, visit chopra.com or call 888.736.6895.
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