Conscious evolvement – where we are choosing to grow in some way through awareness and choice, comes in large part from our desire to no longer live in fear. Every negative thought we have arises from a past hurt or traumatic event that is still threatening our safety in some way. Because our brain’s only job is to keep us surviving, and we don’t have the consciousness (yet) to change the functioning of its threat systems that warn us of danger (real or perceived), attempting to manifest what we want based only on changing our thinking won’t lead us to make lasting changes. At least, not where limiting thought patterns continue to challenge us.
There is a physiological component to manifesting that can help to explain, at least in part, why we get so frustrated when we believe that our efforts to create the changes we want have failed. They haven’t, really. It’s just that we are up against more than only the mind.
Before my child died
Before my daughter’s suicide in 2005, I was fairly good at manifesting everything I needed and wanted (I began in 1983 with Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization). When I settled down a decade later, I felt relatively happy and content. By all accounts, I had a great life: a beautiful family and everything we needed. Despite this and remaining devoted to my spiritual practice, I constantly worried there was not enough. Though I grew to understand that this limiting thought pattern stemmed from childhood, I was frustrated that as an adult, I couldn’t seem to get past the blocks tying me to fear and worry. My response was to stockpile the pantry and meticulously control my environment in an attempt to fend off any potential threat to my family’s well-being.
When my world crashed
When my daughter died, my world instantly came crashing down. None of what I had previously obsessed about mattered. I lost my identity. I became weak and felt insecure. I lost all control over my environment and all sense of purpose and direction. Fear ruled my days.
While I later came to understand that changes to my brain were the reason for these rather severe symptoms (I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2014), in my effort to learn more about how the brain functioned so that I could better manage my life if not recover entirely, over time I began to question in general, the true extent of our ability to manifest all that we want as consciously-evolving beings, working against a brain that only functions to keep us alive, and where we instinctively react to its threat systems that warn us of danger (real or perceived – the brain doesn’t know the difference) to ensure our ongoing survival. Danger (real or perceived) could be anything from traumatic or less severe memories of childhood dysfunction and/or painful memories from experiences in later life that have threatened or are threatening us in some way.
One of the first things we learn in a manifestation practice is to believe we are deserving of what we want. We depend on positive emotions to overcome all fear-based living (i.e. using affirmations and vision boards). Yet, given that the emotional states that help us to achieve, remain calm and feel safe, are located in the new brain (frontal cortex) that has no ability to change the middle and lower brain functioning that drives us to react instinctually, we can’t just think or wish our life changes into creation.
So, what can we do?
It’s really important to acknowledge that we all struggle at some point to feel worthy and loved; confident and secure, regardless of where our feelings originate that tell us differently (though many do arise from childhood). We are all continually challenged by everyday stressors, worry and fear based on any number of issues and problems that arise as part of the human condition.
In my own life, after years struggling to understand why certain things were still challenging me or not happening fast enough (especially in grief and trauma), I found that by understanding the limitations imposed on us by our own physiology (the brain’s functioning), it was easier to get rid of the frustration we all feel when we believe we have failed at manifesting the changes we want. Frustration that is prevalent among the millions of people over decades who have tried or are trying to wish their life changes into reality, and after experiencing a little success, give up their manifestation practice at the first sign of “failure”. They conclude they don’t have any real inner power and that manifesting doesn’t work (neither are true).
Manifest inner change first
Here are two important things to consider. When the angels gifted me the practice of Divine Healing detailed in my book Divine Healing – Transforming Pain into Personal Power, they taught me that manifesting inner changes first, will ensure lasting abundance in all forms (both are true and a topic for a separate post). I’ve also found in searching for the best treatment for trauma that by nature keeps us in survival mode, by understanding where we came from and the nurturing we did or didn’t receive as early as in utero, we can develop the skills we need as adults to help us “re-route” our brain’s signals. Instead of instinctively reacting to triggers, we can learn to respond to situations by better managing our negative emotions, developing compassion and kindness (the best of the positive emotions) for ourselves and others to help us reach our full potential.
For more info check out www.vonnesolis.com.
Feature Photo by Josh Riemer on Unsplash; Pantry Photo by Martin Lostak on Unsplash; Photographs Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash; Light Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
6 Replies to “Understanding the brain: why we can’t just wish our desires into reality”
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Do you think that we can fully understand our human physiology such as the brain’s functioning? Do you think science will be able to provide an explanation for how the brain works and the different mental states of the brain? What do you think causes the brain/mind to have PTSD?
Great questions Skylar! The more I learn about the brain the more complicated it becomes. The science seems to be there in terms of understanding brain functioning within the context of our physiology. The mind is a different matter. The best I can answer as a layperson is that while we can understand what is happening in the brain in various mental states, it’s less clear for example, why some people acquire PTSD and others don’t when subjected to the same trauma. Studies are being done on the impact of compassion that is proving to be successful in healing (compassion focused therapy), so maybe one’s predominant emotional state factors into our overall brain/mind health (negative or positive) that can produce changes when impacted a certain way (again, negative or positive). As someone living with PTSD, I can attest to how well I respond to compassion and kindness, feeling this both for myself, and for and from others.
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