Changing Brain 3: Neuroplasticity, a Deeper Look


In the last blog we started looking at neuroplasticity and how we can literally change our brain via various mechanisms. This research has taking me on a very fascinating journey of sorts. This journey has had both book and video literature research and dream-like visions of what this means to us as a species at this time in history.

After having a brief, but good introduction from Super Brain ( written by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudy Tanzi Ph.D), I went on to other research. There is a lot of good research out there. A few of the books I found were particularly good and very interesting.

The first one was The Brain that Changes Itself  by Norman Doidge, M.D. There are some interesting YouTube videos and a CBC documentary, if you have time, that can literally blow your mind out of old belief systems: You Tube 1  and  You Tube 2 .

The CBC Nature of Things with David Suzuki is a documentary that was done back in September of 2008. It is a great video of the kind that only CBC can do; in it we can see many of the major players in the science of neuroplasticity.

These books and videos show us the landscape of the many researchers who have been working on neuroplasticity since the ’70 and ‘80s. They have had success with people who have learning issues, phantom limb problems, Alzheimer’s disease, people who are missing a whole hemisphere of the brain, and patients with several forms of autism. People were able to ‘see’ without eyes, using other senses (like sensations on the tongue) to help them navigate. Neuroplasticity helped people with severe balance issues to have a normal life. All of these were done without the aid of medication. They were accomplished by the power of the mind, often by doing repetitive tasks and utilizing will power to rewire the brain. These people literally built new circuits in their brains to fix or replace those that were causing the problems. This is very amazing, as most of neuroscience has stated that this is impossible.

Interestingly, it has been shown that one of the simplest ways to increase a person’s own neuroplasticity is to walk around bare foot and really feel the earth under your feet. Many people have been talking about this grounding phenomenon (often called Earthing). I have strongly prescribed to this for my whole life, and often used it in ceremonies I work with in the summer or warm locations. I walk around the farm barefoot as much as possible. I have used it as one of the simplest ways to get a person out of their head (including myself), also finding it beneficial to curing sciatica issues. The Mother Earth (Gaia, Pacha mama) can heal us in many ways.

If that doesn’t work for you there are a number of video and computer games that can aid in re-programing a person’s wiring. This has helped reading and learning problems in thousands of children. Other computer programs have helped elderly people develop brains that act 10 to 20 years younger than their actual age. Who in their 60’s doesn’t want that! Grounding yourself and/or using media to re-wire the brain is where the rubber hits the pavement, as they say, with practical results. I like to see it as our feet grounding into a deeper communication with our Mother.

If you have taken time to look at those videos, you have already seen what some of our potential is. If that is not enough to convince you, there is another great source of information in The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force by Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley . Here again are some great YouTube videos to look at: You Tube 1 and You Tube 2

This shows us some of the practical uses of brain rewiring in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Schwartz takes OCD patients through exercises which engage them in intensive mental effort through what he calls relabeling, re-attributing, refocusing, and revaluing (the new 4 Rs). The important point for Schwartz here is not simply that modified thoughts and behaviors permanently altered patterns of brain activity, but that such modifications resulted from, as he calls it, “mindful attention”- conscious and purposeful thoughts or actions in which the agent adopts the stance of a detached observer. This comes from a Buddhist point of mindfulness.

Schwartz believes that a quantum reality is what changes these conditions.

He makes a good case for quantum mechanics being compatible with such a non-materialist view of mind. Unfortunately his argument falls short of demonstrating that consciousness is the key to resolving the quantum measurement problem.

We can look at this in future blogs.

During the whole time I was doing this review of the literature, I kept having visions of how we as a people have got ourselves ‘wired’ into ruts, or habits that do not serve us. For many, we need a strong wake-up call so we can re-wire ourselves to a higher purpose, to help our fellow journeyers to a higher level of consciousness.

We have wired this neuroplasticity into a mundane world controlled in part by marketing and governments. We need to wakeup and seek a new direction. If we do not find that direction ourselves, our Mother (Gaia, Pacha mama) will guide us along the way. Like mothers around the world have done for millennia, sometimes a little discipline and ‘hard love’ is needed to get us to push ourselves to evolve.

Can we do this ourselves, or do we need major Earth Changes, strong weather patterns and disasters to guide us on the way? The thing is, the choice is ours.

We need dramatic change if we are to survive on this planet that is for sure. Once we have made the decision to change — We can do it. It could either be that we are pushed, kicking and screaming like little children in a temper tantrum, or we can go gracefully, of our own accord. We can change the physical wiring in our brains so we perceive higher dimensional consciousness. That could make us happier beings and better neighbors in the ecological community of our planet.

 Just saying!!