Last updated on November 25th, 2023.
Mind to Destiny
Let’s talk about your brain; your three brains to be exact. Growing up in your early years of schooling you have no doubt been taught that there is one big eight pound brain to rule it all. Maybe as you got into an intro to psych class or through an art class you heard there might be a left side of the brain and a right side of the brain. Perhaps in science class in early high school when discussing smells and memories you heard of something like the Limbic System. What we are going to talk about below are the ‘core’ three brains that make up the major physiological functions of your mind and how they are integrated to interpret experiences and protect you from threats, stressors and generally catalog what experiences are good and bad for your well being and overall survival.
Much of the information laid out here comes from the books reviewed in this site, especially those within the neuroscience menu. The majority of the focus of what you’ll read below will be focused on the intentional restructuring of your brain in order to influence your life for the better.
We suggest going into this article with a question to frame your mindset: How do you maneuver yourself away from being a victim of circumstance and pre conditioned behavior to a creator of your own happiness and success?
The Three Brains
There are three brains that serve as the core infrastructure for what you think, feel and believe. Some of the functions within these three brains are within your immediate control and some of the functions occur without you thinking, feeling or knowing about them. The psychological sequence for what we’ll discuss more technically as we dive further in is:
Thinking - Doing - Being
This is a sequence of your being that has already been at work in your life perhaps without you being aware of it and it has been under constant reinforcement with the experiences that have been either placed before you or that you’ve sought out.
Enough context. Here we go. The technical names for each of these brains are:
- The Neocortex
- The Limbic or Mammalian Brain
- The Cerebellum is Reptilian Brain
This is the latest brain in the evolutionary sequence. The NeoCortex is where your conscious mind resides. These are our the open dialogue of our thoughts as well as what we hear when listening. The Neo Cortex is where we consciously create a plan for who we want to be. In the process of creating your new version of self, this is where the journey begins.
The Limbic Brain
As mentioned, the Limbic Brain is also known as the mammalian Brain. The major function of the Limbic brain is to control the chemical order within our neurological and hormonal systems. The Limbic brain has been dubbed ‘the feeling brain.’ This portion of our brain acts as an intermediary between our conscious thoughts and perceptions of experiences to what is implanted into our memories and hardwired into our subconscious. The Limbic brain is the epicenter for our emotional judgement and this is a critical piece of the Visualization exercise needed to influence our future self and lives.
As Dr. Joe Dispenza describes, the reptilian Brain is the “seat of our subconscious mind.” Within the cerebellum is the programmed conditions and behaviors related to fight or flight. Once we have an experience and it is sensed, and after we have created an emotional judgement of the experience we then hardwire it into our subconscious self. The continued reinforcement will create for a deeper impression or should there be a new experience and resulting emotion then we conversely soften the impression. The Cerebellum is the final stop in our journey to developing a new self. The journey is continuous as we are creating different experiences all the time, but the behaviors we now have within our bodies and minds are seated within this portion of our brains.
(To learn more about the subconscious mind, check out these Ted Talks on the subconscious mind!)
How We Become Hardwired
There is a sequence of how we experience life in concert with our brain that is important to understand and the premise for our ability to change our lives. Here is the sequence: When you experience something, during and after the experience you are producing thoughts about what is being experienced. These thoughts are produce emotions as you judge whether or not the experience is positive or negative and also whether there is a high or low degree of amplitude associated with the benefit or loss. The resulting emotions then lead to a patterning of how you feel about the experience with in turn leads to behaviors that reinforce that feeling.
When situations arise within your life that resemble previous similar experiences, your conditioned behaviors will lead you to react to the situation in a manner that corresponds to an already preconceived belief of the outcome. You may have heard the saying, “his mind was already made up.” This is exactly what has occurred. As human beings our minds are designed to draw from previous experiences subconsciously with a limited amount of incoming information in order to be able to make quick but estimated decisions about an experience. The mechanism for connecting what is being sensed immediately within an experience and what has been ‘learned’ and planted subconsciously is known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS). What you expect to occur, what has been emotionally programmed and reinforced through knowledge and emotion, is what I believe to be true.
So, what does it take to break the cycle of our current thoughts and habits and make room for growth and understanding? What if what we believe is false or prohibiting us from expanding and becoming someone new, achieving greater things and living a more fulfilling life?
The answer is simply new thoughts, emotions and experiences. These in turn will create new behaviors, further reinforcing new experiences and creating a new self.
Becoming a Creator
“95% of who you are by the time you are 35 years old is a set of memorized behaviors and emotional reactions that create and identity subconsciously. ” – Dr. Joe Dispenza. You have become an automatic machine that operates independent of the conscious self. Let’s borrow an analogy from Eckhart Tolle who in turn had borrowed it from a Zen master. The automated machine behind the majority of our thoughts is similar to a man riding a horse with seemingly important and intentional purpose. As the rider he only has so much control in the reins but really the horse is wild and doesn’t obey them. The more wild and untrained the horse, should you wish to know where the man is headed on his journey you would be better to Ask The Horse and forego talking to the man himself.
So how do we become someone knew and create for ourselves a better life? Well, there is a saying in neuroscience and psychology that says ‘Neurons that fire together wire together.’ Every time we learn something new there is a new synaptic connection taking place in the brain. In order to change the way that we think we must therefore create new experiences so we can learn something new and also by doing this we inherently unlearn what we don’t want anymore.
What has happened is that previous experiences have created chemicals that were released within the Limbic Brain. These chemicals, or emotions, are why we’ve created memories for emotional events. The brain itself also takes a kind of ‘snapshot’ which is why the memories are so vivid. Examples of things like this are maybe a first kiss, graduation from high school or surfing trip off the coast of Hawaii. The brain actually physically changes with these experiences.
What is especially important to understand is that the opposite of this is also true. Experiences that are routine and therefore do not produce a chemical or emotional reaction are not remembered. This is why remembering something as simple as what you had for dinner the night before is so difficult. What can be especially difficult for some people is the addiction that can come with the chemicals that are produced. Whether these are good emotions or bad emotions we can become addicted to the chemical itself and therefore in the case of negative emotion addictions a person can get caught within a cycle of exhibility the same behaviors over and over which leads to the same experiences over and over without even the person recognizing the cause of the cycle. This person has now become a victim of circumstance and conditioned behavior. The way to break the path begins with a desire to produce a different outcomes and making a conscious decision to create a new vision and path forward; to become a creator.
Thinking - Doing - Being
If you’ve made it this far into the article you now understand we are hardwired through past experiences, seemingly subject to our subconscious but have the ability to create for ourselves new minds and therefore new lives. Here is where we simplify what what looks like and outline the steps into those three phases mentioned earlier: Thinking – Feeling – Doing
Within our brains sits neurons that are highly dopamine sensitive. The majority of these are located in a physical section of the brain known as the frontal lobe. With these dopamine sensitive neurons in place our minds are chemically wired to provide us a risk vs reward mechanism that provides judgement to (good or bad) and reinforces our experiences. This is also exactly the system we will be leveraging to make changes in our minds. As Neuroscientist Richard Restak describes the frontal lobe, “This is where we integrate personality with emotion and transform thought into action.”
The Neo-Cortex specifically is where our conscious thoughts reside. We have the ability to create conscious thoughts within our minds and transform those thoughts into action. And, because our bodies don’t actually know the difference between experiences that are actually occurring or experiences that are being produced by thought alone. This is where we can begin the transformation process starting with just thinking.
The mechanism for putting this process into motion is called Visualization. This isn’t just your run of the mill visualization exercise where you envision what something might look like. This is an exercise of focused thought embedded with emotion that completely ‘fools’ the brain into believe the visualization is actually an experience. Here is where, as you may have guessed, MIND IS THE MASTER. You, meaning your conscious thoughts, the part of you that has decided who you will be, becomes the captain of your mind, body and destiny.
In order to begin the full sequence with thinking you must make the time to set your Visualization session up. If writing down your goals or what a new experience looks like helps in setting a vision for them then write them down. It’s also recommended that you establish a setting similar to mediation with little distractions and similar posture and breathing. This assists for many reasons such as shifting your brain waves back down from beta but that’s another topic. Remember, this is where you decide what you want and who you want to be. Begin with these steps:
- Begin with a snapshot in your mind of who you currently are then imagine yourself as having achieved your goal.
- Be specific to what it is you’re intent on achieving. Intention is everything.
- Think of the feelings you’re going to have not only at goal achievement but along the way in your journey towards achievement.
- Make a mental note that this is moment of achievement is meant for that moment but there are others still to come, although no energy needs to be directed to them yet.
Once you have set your mind into place with intention for the goal and a clear vision for what you will look and feel like as well as what the environment will feel like we can move into the feeling phase.
Remember the sequence of being we discussed earlier? Experiences produce thoughts which in turn elicit emotions that lead to behaviors. These behaviors become reinforced within us as we replay emotional events in our minds as well as have similar experiences which is what our own behaviors will lead us to do. This is how your subconscious mind has become programed. This is exactly the cycle we will either breaking should you want to develop into a different being and create a new life.
Now, to complete the Visualization exercise we will attach the emotions we envisioned earlier to the experiences. Whereas before you simply thought or imagined what they would look like here is where you imagine what they feel like.
- Within your vision of the goal or experience, in combination with the image of what the result looks like imagine what they will feel like.
- Let the feeling begin within your mind and flow through your envisioned self of the future.
- Imagine the feeling throughout your body and allow your future thinking to recognize the feeling, creating an awareness of the future mind and body.
- Take note of the smells, sounds and environment when you are at your moment of success. Let all of these things, your envisioned mind, body and atmosphere take form and exist.
- Finally, allow yourself a sense of appreciation and gratitude for the journey and the new experience or achievement that has come to be.
With the vision of your future self solidified and the feelings associated with who you already are in place, you can return your energy and focus to the present. The power to create change only every resides in the present. What you’ve done is hacked into a future ‘present’ version of yourself. You have set in motion changes of what you are already becoming because you’ve already experienced it. Those experiences have created thoughts about your emotions, those emotions will be manifesting in the present to reinforce the being you already are.
Your complete being today is a combination of your past experiences, future projections and ultimates your beliefs about yourself. This isn’t to be confused with your spiritual true inner self but instead it is the personality and resulting lifestyle derived from conditioned behaviors and a belief of who we are, our ego, as well as our past fears and successes. What you are affecting with Visualization, is who you end up ‘Being’ in the sense of form. You, with your mind as the captain of the ship of your life and self, have the power to transform who you are into anyone you can imagine. Actions only reside in the present
What is left after Visualization? Doing. You must put your envisioned future self into action. As mentioned above, there is no power in the future and the same is true for the past. The only power that exists to create will always every be the present, now!
What you have done is set a condition to influence your behaviors. Through Visualization and a reinforcement of this vision through repeated exercises you will continue to reinforce the experiences, thoughts and emotions associated with what you’ve envisioned. With those new behaviors already forming and taking place you can put into action a plan to achieve your future self.
Uncomfortable At First
Throughout your day you will be constantly reminded of the true purpose of your energies. Your body and past conditioning will defend itself and fight off the new version of you! You will be uncomfortable for perhaps weeks on end until the creation of a new routine and belief about yourself is seating within your subconscious mind.
Your past vision for yourself, your old ego, and the patterns of behaviors that have constantly been in place to reinforce your old being will resist the new version of self. Eventually, as Dr. Joe Dispenza describes it, “The act of rehearsing and mentaling closing your eyes… the brain doesn’t know what is real or not and you are installing the neurological hardware and that hardware [eventually] becomes a software program. We start living our future vision.” But this new practice will allow you to expand your mind’s horizons and be open to new and wonderful opportunities.
Your choices will begin to reflect your future vision. Your experiences and behaviors reinforce who you’ve already programmed yourself to be. By utilizing an understanding of the three brains you can become a new you!