Is it really possible to change our brain?Do we have to learn how if we want to change our brains? Is it hard? As far as our brains are concerned we do one of two things everyday. We either introduce different (new) data, or we reinforce old data. The data we collect over the years makes us what we are. All that data dictates what we think we are. The data dictates what we think about the world. We are what we think. If we are not happy, not at peace with ourselves, we might opt to change how we're thinking.
We might say, "there is nothing wrong with my brain, it's all the other stuff that goes on that drives me crazy". If we allow the stuff going on to drive us nuts it's still ours to resolve. This doesn't mean the problem stuff we see around us isn't there. There are millions of brains, spinning, arguing, killing each other and plotting the future of mankind. How other people should behave has been the issue for complainers, activists, critics, artists, politicians and authors since the beginning and will go on till the end.
None of that stuff out there controls our happiness. Individual happiness is up to us.
ReactingWe all have mental habits - Thinking habits. The longer we are unaware of our mental habits the more entrenched they become. Changing the way we react to things is tough, but not impossible. It helps to understand a little about how the brain works. Think about all the data we take in everyday. Multiply this by a year and so on. That's a lot of stuff. All that stuff is recorded. It may not be consciously accessible. We may not know it's there - but its there. The content of the brain is a result of our lifelong data gathering. Gathering data is largely unintentional.
For example, we have thoughts and feelings around self worth. Ideas like - I'm not really of much value - aren't ideas anyone is born with. These ideas are learned by taking in data. We don't get to choose the type of data we collect when we're young. Some of us got crummy data. It's also true that when we're young and being bombarded with data we haven't honed the evaluating skills we might develop later. Doesn't it stand to reason that if all the stuff in our heads got there through the data input method that to change we need different data? Can we have better thoughts without better data?
If we want to we can start our own data input process. We can start over. We can identify those ideas which create the negative feelings. For example having a low opinion of ourselves. If we pay attention we can see these habitual thoughts when they happen.
Using meditation technique to make things betterMeditation as focused attention. The more we focus our attention on our thoughts the more apt we are to identify negative thought patterns. Then we can look for where these negative thoughts may have come from. Then discard the data that produced these thoughts. We want to replace negative data with positive data. Our main asset in this process will be time spent paying attention. We can become aware of what we are thinking and why.
On the other hand, meditation won't disolve the beliefs, ideas and, what we call "negative thought patterns", it only aids in finding them and knowing they're there... Meditation doesn't unlearn things for us. Our self-image is one hundred percent learned. Our mental (existential) fears are learned...
There are only two items that cause us trouble. One is the vision we have of ourselves. The other is the vision we have of the world around us. These visions, these pictures of ourselves and the world out there, fall into one of two categories. They are (1) real, or (2) imagined. The real vision only makes us aware of trouble. The imagined vision is cause for big trouble. A more indepth discourse on meditation and problems with thinking from Diego Fontanive. You can also visit a new addition to dgswilson with some of Diego's writings at What is Mind
Our vision of the world