Can we escape from our biology and become more evolved?

Neuroplasticity challenges the idea that brain...

Image via Wikipedia

My blog today is written from a place of seeing the pain that some people close to me are going through…… and light to them.

Can we escape from our biology and become more evolved? – To coin a very well known phrase “YES WE CAN”

Why is it that when 2 factory workers sit side by side and are exposed to the same carcinogenic chemicals for 20 years that one manifests cancer and the other doesn’t? Maybe, just maybe, there is some kind of internal order at work that supersedes the  continual environmental exposure to harmful chemicals which are known to genetically alter tissue. Is it possible that managing our own internal environment, regardless of the external environment we can maintain or change our genes?

There is a growing body of studies & evidence that points to the effect of stress on our bodies and it points to the fact that most species live in a primitive state of survival. This limits our evolution as the chemicals of stress alter our internal state and pull the trigger of cellular breakdown thus chronic long term stress weakens our bodies. Over a period of time we begin to like and cannot shake the internal state of turmoil and we rely on the chemical state that drives us to experience confusion, unhappiness, aggression even depression etc.

So, why do we cling to relationships or jobs that that logically no longer work for us? If it is the conditions of our job that we dislike so much, why don’t we just get another one? If there is something in our personal life that causes us to suffer, why don’t we change it? why does changing ourselves and our conditions in life seem so hard?

The answer to those questions are that we choose to remain in the same circumstances because we become addicted to the emotional state they produce and the chemicals that arouse that state of being. Is change easy? For most people I would say the answer to that is no which is why some people choose to stay in situations that produce the kind of troubled states of mind that plague them for their entire lives – Ouch, that’s gotta hurt!  People choose this state of ‘ being stuck’ partly because of genetics and partly because a part of their brain has become hardwired by their repeated thoughts and reactions that limits their vision of what is possible. Everyone probably knows someone that isn’t happy unless they are unhappy !

When it comes to evolution, change is the only element that is universal, or consistent to all species on earth. To evolve is to change by adapting to the environment. Our environment as human beings is everything that makes up our lives. You know, all those complex circumstances that involve us, our loved ones, social status, where we live, what we do for a living, how we react to those around us & even the times we live in.

When we change something in our life, we have to make it different than it would be if we left it alone. To change is to become different, it means that we are no longer who we used to be. We have modified how we think, what we do, what we say, how we act and who we were being. Personal change takes an intentional act of will, and it usually means that something was making us uncomfortable enough to want to do things differently. To evolve is to overcome the conditions in our life by changing something about ourselves.

We have an innate ability to be neuroplastic – the ability to rewire and create new neural circuits to make substantial changes in the quality of our lives. Our ability to be neuroplastic is equivalent  to our ability to change our minds, to change ourselves and to change our perception of the world around us; that is, our reality. In order to accomplish this we have to change how the brain automatically and habitually works. When you effect neuroplasticity your brain has permanently changed; it neurologically tracked a new way to fire off circuits, by making new neurological patterns that work in a different pattern.

Here is a great example… what do you see when you first look at this image? Now, look at it again and what do you see?

Maybe you first saw a candlestick or maybe you saw 2 people looking at each other !

What you first see in the form of a picture will be what is the most familiar pattern in the shape you are looking at. Just above your ears, the temporal lobes (the brain’s center for decoding & recognsing objects) locks in a memory. The picture activates a few hundred million neurological circuits, which fire in a unique sequence and pattern throughout specific parts of your brain, and you are reminded of a candlestick or 2 people looking at each other – cool !

So, going back to neuroplasticity,  what if you saw the candlestick and I told you to no longer see that object and to see 2 people looking at each other instead. For you to accomplish that feat, your frontal lobe would have to force your brain to “cool off” the circuits that are related to candlesticks and reorganise it’s circuitary to imagine 2 people looking at each other instead. The ability to make the brain forgo it’s habitual internal wiring and fire in new patterns and combinations is how neuroplasticity allows us to change.

Breaking the habit of thinking, doing, feeling, perceiving or behaving is what allows you to see the world and see yourself differently. You change your mind by altering the brain’s typical firing pattern and by strengthening new chains of brain cell connections, and thus who you are has changed as well.  Umm, does this then mean that change, neuroplasticity and evolution all have similar meanings?

Put Yourself in Good Hands – Your Own !



recovery on 8 March 2010 - day 67

Image by Leonard John Matthews via Flickr

What is Addiction
An addiction is when a person becomes powerless to stop a destructive behavior, causing their life to become unmanageable. “Some people consider addictions to be simply bad habits that can be conquered by willpower alone, but many people become so dependent on a behavior or a substance that they no longer see how to abstain from it. They lose perspective and a sense of other priorities in their lives” (“Introduction,” A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, v.)

Marijuana Addiction

The chronic marijuana user is medicating their emotions. Did they set out to do this on purpose? Of course not. No one says “Oh, I’d like to avoid feeling my emotions today, so I think I will smoke some marijuana.”  It obviously does not happen like that. But what does happen is that anyone who has smoked weed every single day for any length of time can tell you, they slowly begin to fall into a pattern where they naturally will use the drug in order to medicate unwanted feelings. This is especially damaging to younger people who are still learning how to properly process and handle emotions in a mature way. Instead of learning and growing through the emotional process, they are simply medicating those emotions away using marijuana. When you get high on marijuana, it erases your current mood. It eliminates and seriously minimizes emotional turmoil in your life. Say you had a bad day at work, and you are angry at your boss. Normally, a person would hang on to this emotional state for several hours, and they may talk about it with friends and family in order to process the feelings. But if they instead come home from work and smoke some marijuana, the emotional distress they were feeling is vaporized with their high. It is erased. Some remnants of it may remain, but the intensity of the emotions and the amount of time that they think about it is greatly diminished.

Now multiply this example out by every single day. Chronic marijuana smokers do this over and over again, every single day of their lives, using it to deal with every single unwanted emotion. Over a period of years this stunts emotional growth. Even if you are an adult, you are stunting your emotional maturity and keeping yourself stuck in a very immature way of dealing with life. It all comes back to our emotions on how we are avoiding them through the use of the drug.

 Love Addiction

Love addiction involves a pattern of frequent relationships that often begin with intense passion and end relatively  quickly. A variation of this is involvement in long term relationships with dramatic highs and lows, thus simulating the range of emotions that are found in short term relationships. As the pattern continues, the negative impact that the “low cycles” have on a persons esteem becomes greater and greater. Of course, this then causes a more definite need for a new relationships or commitment to an ongoing relationship (can’t let go even when it is over).

Those involved in a pattern of love addiction do not do this knowingly. It is their absolute belief that the person currently targeted is “the one that was meant for them” and they will be together for the rest of their lives. In fact, it is this exact thought process that provides so much comfort and relief. Love addicts tend to have a low self esteem, are uncomfortable in social situations and possess a sometimes debilitating immaturity when it comes to personal relationships of any type. Intensity is what drives the relationship not reality. Love and sexual addiction overlap in many ways. Feelings quite often associated with love addiction are abandonment, failure and devastating loss. The root of most love addiction can be found in early relationships, for example childhood trauma involving abuse, death, abandonment, parental neglect, parental domination or performance pressure.

You are the only person standing between yourself and achieving everything you ever dared dream of. Whatever has happened in your past to cause you to be where you are today, is just that, it’s your past. Is it does not have to be your future.  Addiction of any type is nothing more than a unique way of regulating your emotions and avoiding facing whatever it is that has hurt you so much and put you in the place that you are now . When we go through life it is perfectly normal to experience a whole range of human emotions, from being happy, sad, to scared and angry and anything else in between. Fear is a part of every person’s emotional make up.

A desire to understand yourself:

  1. Suffering is not basically a medical problem, even if the body is affected, but that with suffering goes a misunderstanding of life.
  2. These misunderstandings stem from patterns of fear not love.
  3. What you think & do in life is vitally important.
  4. You have the power, responsibility & freedom if you choose to have it.
  5. That your choice, made by your thoughts, creates your reality.
  6. If you don’t like your reality, it’s your mind that needs re-educating to produce positive results for you, not other peoples mind.
  7. That in understanding & learning about yourself brings you self love as you do so which means you can truly love others in the right way which brings peace, harmony, intuition, unity & abundance

All you have to do to achieve a wonderful future full of everything you ever dreamed of is:

  1. Choose to change.
  2. Say what you want to achieve and believe it.
  3. Be willing to change.
  4. Be willing to explore what happened in your childhood or life since then that created the emotions you are pushing down deep inside yourself.
  5. Be willing to let go of any beliefs which do not serve you in your life now and will not take you to where you want to be.
  6. Be willing to forgive those that helped shape where you are today.
  7. Get some help be it a 12 step addiction program, therapy of some sort or whatever resonates with you – this is too big to do alone, recognise that you need help & be willing to take it.
  8. Stop hanging around those who are addicted to what you are
  9. Take control of your mind daily, taking baby steps first and reduce the need for the addiction until you have eliminated it.
  10. Want to live a bigger life than what you are living
  11. Spend time with those who are empowering and positive.
  12. Eat good food and use nutritional supplements to aid your body through change.
  13. Exercise regularly and try yoga and meditation to calm the mind
  14. Commit to relearn/rebuild healthy relationships & maybe even rebuild sexual values/boundaries.
  15. Integrate new learnings & feelings of love for yourself into healthy relationships and your new way of life.