This topic began on the first of this month with an overview on trees. The rest of this thread will look at the applications of the Brain Overview" post.
Last week, we looked at the first feedback loop (formation of a full thought) in this post on the logical brain (cortex).
In the next post, we looked at how the cortex and the amygdala (emotional portion of the brain) interact.
In the previous post we will look at the final part of the Brain Overview post...how the second feedback loop is completed.
The book that helped me make the connection between what we've been discussing on this blog for the last two plus years and the latest discoveries in brain research is Dr. Leaf's "Who Switched Off My Brain?"
This week we will look at the behaviors and principles that would most help our thought processes and physical health. In the previous post, we saw the most damaging thing a person can do is to choose not to intentionally deal with a memory in their hippocampus (short-term memory).
After 24 to 72 hours, the memory is burned away as heat energy. When this happens, every cell in the body apart from the cortex has a memory of the event. The stress between the cortex and the rest of the body results in toxic chemicals that can eventually lead to physical illness. This is also known as "living in denial".
To the person who lives in denial, they literally don't remember the bad behavior. However, every cell in their body knows about it and their amygdala actually uses the bad behavior to justify even worse behavior...that the individual can choose not to remember.
What OUGHT we to do in order to avoid this damage?
ANSWER: We OUGHT to express our will about every memory in our hippocampus before it is lost!
We OUGHT to reconcile our mind with the rest of our body. In the previous post, we saw last week's edition of USA Today published the latest findings on how to lessen your chance of experiencing old age dementia. People who thought about the events of their life or people who had a spouse/partner were better able to avoid old age dementia. Notice, it is still better to file away the information incorrectly instead of not at all. When information is filed away incorrectly, it can be fixed later. Information that isn't filed away at all is lost to the cortex...but not the rest of the body.
It would be great if everyone did this, however, notice that a person's ability to reconcile all these events depends on two things:
1)The number of events to be reconciled
2)Time to reconcile the events
Have you ever noticed which people live to be 100 years old? Teachers, writers, salesmen...people who have relatively few things to reconcile and plenty of time to think.
Fifty or so years ago, the culture of our country changed...we got busy. We may have only had 10 events a day, but these events left us little time to reconcile. Once we got used to not reconciling, every decade increased the number of events we could experience in a day. Technology didn't give us more free time to think...it caused us to experience more in a shorter period of time AND allowed us to experience even more with the rest of our time.
Last month we covered the Meaning of Life. We saw the Bible says it is focused on ARE...yet our flesh focuses on DO (activities) and HAVE (possessions). Look again at this post. In order to be healthy, we need to focus on ARE...yet everything in our culture has only led to an increase in focusing on activities (DO) and possessions (HAVE) that allow us to be more distracted by activities (DO)! Our culture is taking us the opposite direction of the Meaning of Life and the ability to become healthier!
Is it any wonder that the rate of occurrence of disease is increasing? We want to say it is an effect of our environment...that the chemicals are coming from outside ourselves. However, Dr. Leaf's book is saying that 87% of the illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life...we are dying from within. (For years the percentage of males in China who smoked was far greater than males in the U.S. AND the rate of lung cancer was less OVERALL in Chinese males than U.S males. It is only recently with the increase in industrialization (stress) that lung cancer rates have increased in China. What is the REAL cause of cancer? In the previous post we saw that everyone has cancer cells in their body...yet not everyone has cancer.) Our thought life causes our own bodies to produce toxic chemicals. Our thought life causes our bodies to slow down processes meant to heal us.
What is one possible solution to help us reconcile? What if we all had people that caused us to face our problems? It could be a spouse/partner like the USA Today article referenced. However, it could be a friend or a group of friends.
Where are we going to find a group of people who will cause us to face our problems? How often would we meet with these people? Isn't it going to cause more stress when someone outside ourselves brings up uncomfortable circumstances? Isn't this impolite?
The data says keeping to ourselves and not thinking is going to shorten our physical lives. If we are going to agree to interact with others and think, it would seem we have three choices:
1)Intentionally give permission to a group of people to initiate deep sharing in our lives and make sure you connect with them every 24-72 hours (depending on our short-term memory). The goal of these interactions would be understanding and stating our will...not agreement.
2)Identify people who will respect our privacy and allow us to share when we feel like it. They need to focus on being polite, not making us uncomfortable, and respect "boundaries" (topics that are off limits). We can meet with them once a week...say, every Sunday.
3)Identify people we will be accountable to who can tell us what to do...and stay on us until we agree with them.
What does the Bible say?
Today, option #3 is widely used in recovery groups and some churches...they are known as accountability partners. I dealt with this in the understanding vs. agreement post. The Bible says we OUGHT to focus on being accountable to God...not each other.
"But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God. So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God." (Romans 14:10-12, ASV)
Option #2 is currently what we have in church. It is based on tradition and appearance. It is also known as "relationship". The word "relationship" is not in the Bible. Actually, the word in the Bible is "fellowship" and it describes Option #1.
I have written about this before in a post titled Fellowship. Take some time to review this crucial material that has eluded the present day church.
Fellowship is sharing...giving...love! Notice, Fellowship begins with a statement of the will of the individual to share everything. This isn't a stress to us because we chose to do it. The sharing also is for our benefit! We do it with someone who proves they have our best interests in mind...people who have proven they know how to love...which proves they are believers. We can trust these people!
The Fellowship post shows that we can't have Fellowship with each other until we first have Fellowship with God. This is why we don't see Fellowship in the church.
Instead, we see and speak of "relationship". Relationship means to give and take. It is option #2. God meant for us to have something more than relationship...He wanted us to have fellowship. One of the first signs a pastor isn't teaching the Bible is when he talks about the goal being relationship instead of fellowship.
Fellowship was one of the four causes of the Acts Church. Notice, they met daily! The people of the Acts Church reconciled their mind and body daily. While we may not be able to do this with our physical presence...technology (cell phones) allow us to reconcile daily.
I have been in a Fellowship group of eight people for over two years. It has led to growth in every person. We did it because we believed the Bible told us to do it. Now, Dr. Leaf has explained WHY it results in healthier thought processes and increased physical health and intelligence.
It is amazing the number of church people who have given this Fellowship group a hard time for being more open with each other than their spouses. In every case where this is a fact, the member of the group has been willing to be completely open with their spouse. Yet it is the spouse who chooses not to be open with them. Some spouses even want the group member to stop reconciling their mind with their body. The spouse literally wants the group member to damage their mind and their body.
The Bible says we OUGHT to be in Fellowship with each other...men with men, women with women, men with women, etc. regardless of marital status. (This topic is covered extensively in the Sequel to "Modeling God".) The bottomline is that everyone who hinders people from being in Fellowship, for whatever reason, is hindering the Word and Will of God.
Why would someone resist fellowship and encourage others to resist it? Do they think the Bible is against this? Do they think the Bible encourages behavior that damages our mind and body? Is it proof their thought process is damaged and they are in desperate need of fellowship?
Some people are in desperate need of reconciling. What does it look like when people go without reconciling?
Watch people who are overly busy, forgetful, late, filled with excuses, topic jumpers, and defensive. All of this is an effect of avoiding searching their short-term memory...of avoiding reconciliation of themselves (cortex) with themselves (amygdala and the rest of their body). They are afraid that recalling something they need from their short-term memory (hippocampus) will result in them having to face something they want to ignore.
They make themselves busy creating more short-term memories and chewing up the time they needed to reconcile...the opposite of what it takes to reconcile their mind and body.
Fellowship is one behavior that leads to healthier thought processes, increased intelligence, and greater physical health. It causes people to reconcile their mind and body.
Does the church agree with the Bible and encourage Fellowship instead of activities (DO) and possessions (HAVE)? Does the church encourage deep sharing instead of appearance and tradition?