Making Way for the Present: No Mind, No Coping, Just Living

Mary H/ January 13, 2014/ Paul Brenner, MD, PhD

(Original Post from Dr. Brenner’s personal Blog, January 13, 2014)

The brain is matter and the mind doesn’t matter……..any longer.

Neuroscientists become quite upset when human brain is compared to a computer. Personally, I feel that the brain is no more than a biological computer.  The brain is a composite of electrochemical connections that work similar to a binary computer processor that has the capacity to store memory.  The brain is programmed by the five senses and the mind.  The brain is an organ of survival.  The mind is not the brain. The mind is a collection of thoughts formed out of our learned historical past.  The mind is capable of both creation and destruction.  The mind has enabled us to survive for almost 200,000 years.  But the mind may be presently a threat to our survival.  An old coping skill adage is: “What saves as a child, can kill us as an adult.”

The mind can stimulate the brain to produce neuropeptides and hormones.  These chemicals (referred to by Candice Pert as molecules of emotions) course through the body.  Our perception of the molecules are called “feelings”.  We then name, label, these strong feelings good, bad, painful, fearful, angry, etc.  These labels are the source of our judgements, comparisons and disconnection to others.  But these molecules of emotion are just that, chemicals.  They are circulating inert substances that formed in response to the mind’s perception of reality in the moment.  If we interpret these molecules as fearful, they are stored in brain receptors as long term memory.  This is a survival strategy to avoid harmful experiences at a later date.  If our interpretations of the molecules are neutral or joyous they are not as significant and are not as readily retrieved.  In fact, in addiction, over stimulation of pleasant experiences diminishes receptors.  Therefore consumption is increased in order to obtain the desired pleasurable experience.

The brain does not have a dictionary filled with words, synonyms or antonyms.  The brain does not hold pictures of the past.  The brain does not name things or create stories. The brain simply translates the mind perceptions into binary, waved impulses which are formed as engrams, a strings of informational packets.  If any part of the engram is recalled, the entire engram is re-constellated. These engrams are held in various memory centers of the brain.

For example, if I repeat my telephone number to you over and over, and then just give you the first three digits, you will remember the next seven.  If I now say the last four, you also will recall the previous six numbers instantaneous.  A simple color or smell  can immediately recall a complete past experience.  If any part of the experience was life threatening, the entire emotional experience, engram, is re-produced chemically in the brain in the form of neuroproteins and hormone.  The mind now perceives the emotional content (feelings in the body) that are similar to those feelings in the past.  And the mind immediately re-creates the imagery of the past in the present which triggers the brain to produce the same chemicals and anxiety again, ad nausea.

The initial emotional experience might have been felt in Vietnam, it can be seen, felt, smelled, heard and tasted ten years later in San Diego. The initial threat to survival was held in its entirety in long term memory to be recalled at a later time, if necessary, as a survival mechanism to be avoided.  In PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) if any part of the original experience presents again the entire original engram is assured to be recalled.  The evidence based treatment for such a condition is to deconstruct the engram by changing negative thought forms with those that are positive or other through various therapeutic modalities such as desensitization, medications to reverse the conditioned response.

It is the mind that names, categorizes and strings words into thoughts and stories. We tend to think of words as packets of letters that have specific meanings, but words can either enhance or adversely effect brain function.  In his book, “Words Can Change Your Brain”,  Andrew Newberg M.D.,PhD discusses how words can have an epigenetic effect on genes.  Again, the epigenetic response is how environmental factors such as toxins, radiation, changes in environmental and even the psychological environment can impact the expression of genes.  The change is not found in the sequencing of the amino acids but in the expression of the genes.  The environment functions like a dimmer switch that regulates the neuropeptides by either increasing or decreasing the gene’s production.

Words like “Love” and “peace” promote the brain’s cognitive function and resiliency.  While angry words interrupt those neurochemicals that protect us from stress and diminish clarity of brain function.  Words can change our brain and perception of reality, as sight, tastes, touch, smell and touch. Is this dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, etc?

Our fears, pain, judgment, unmet needs, values, and desires are passed down to future generations.  In a  recent article, in “Nature” fearful memories were passed down to mouse to future generations.  In a recent article in “Nature Magazine” Dr. Kerry Ressler, a neurobiologist and psychiatrist at Emory University trained mice to smell a specific, pleasant scent and after a period began to shocked the mice simultaneously as they waft the sent over the mice.  As expected, the mice developed a conditioned response to the scent– a shudder.

The pups (litter) of the conditioned mice, who were never exposed to either the sweet smell or electrical shock shuddered more violently to the sweet smell then their parents to the presence of the smell.  More stunning were the findings in the next experiment. In this experiment pups were born to a surrogate mother through in vitro fertilization (ova obtained from a female mouse exposed to smell and shock  were fertilized with sperm from a male mouse who was also part of the first experiment).  The fertilized eggs were implanted in the uterus of a mom who was never exposed to the smell or shocking. These in vitro pups born from the surrogate mom shuddered when wafted by the sweet smell.  These pups had their own litters, as did their pups and all three generations shuddered when exposed to the sweet smell.  Their conclusion was that the fearful conditioned response had an epigenetic impact on the regulation of the DNA of both the sperm and eggs and the conditioned response was carried through to future generations.  This research is overwhelming.  It changes all medicine and our treatment of chronic illness.  It validates Albert Einstein’s remarkable quote, “There are thing we do not see that move what we do see”.

I have observed trans-generational emotional patterns in cancer patients.  Painful emotional pattern’s of unmet needs passed down from previous generations may be the cause of various chronic illnesses.  I have found that the unmet needs of early childhood are extremely similar to or identical to their parents.  I believe that each generation effects the expression of genes to either increase or decrease the immune system.  Either an increase or decrease of the immune response can lead to illness.  (Please see my past blogs: two on April 3, May 15, June 19, July 5 & Aug 3.)

Our mind is the creator of life’s meaning.  Between 50 to 80% of all our thoughts are negative.  Without thoughts of judgements, comparisons, needs, stresses and fears we would experience a life of connection. Life gets lost in our fears.  ***The meaning of life is simply to experience the experience.*** In such an evolutionary process, we would be sentient beings, beings with unstructured consciousness, living in the evolving, magical present without a past. Music, art and taste would simply be experienced throughout our senses without “learned” judgement and criticism.  The mind would be free of the beliefs and opinion of the past.  We would move towards those life experiences that resonated with our unique biological being in the “moment”.

When we were a weak, young species, we needed words to label experiences as a coping mechanism for a hostile environment.  We created words and thoughts so that we could recall fearful experiences in order to survive.  The brain is an organ of survival!  The brain houses neuropeptides of past environments, peoples, and groups who appear foreign to ourselves.  Fear is the creator of our mind, the distorter of our reality and the unconscious belief that planet earth is alien and must be destroyed.  Death, on the other hand, is unconsciously sought as the end of suffering.  If the mind’s limitation and distortion are not addressed soon, it can impact planetary survival.

In the past, there was never a moment to express or obtain our internal, emotional, unmet needs.  We hold nearly 2,000 millennia of unexpressed feelings of being unsafe, and not having enough. These are the progenitors of our inner feelings of fear, unworthiness, not being enough, nor worthy of love.  Unfortunately these feelings have been projected out on the external world as an addiction for “things,” “love” and external gratification.  Even our giving is often to get.  Our ancestors worked their butts off in order it create a safe environment for future generations.  Now that we are safe, we can begin to heal our inner existence and fully live by experiencing change and uncertainty without fear.  Uncertainty is multi-potentiality.

The reality is, that our environment is in a constant state of change and there is no such thing as certainty.  Death is the one certainty that we are trying to avoid.  We think we are changing yet are often unaware of our addiction to the familiar.  Folks on the carousel of life, who fear change and ride the same white stallion every time,  think they are also evolving but never realize their chosen white horse is cemented in their childhood.  Individuals, who fear change, want the brass ring, a free ride without realizing the next ride is no different then their first go-around.

We are entering a period of time in which we are assured of obtaining our external needs.  Now it is time to heal the emotional p ain and internal patterns of our inherited past.  Each generation takes on the conditioned, painful, unmet needs and fears of previous generations at conception and are being asked to heal their ancestral past and prepare for the health of the yet unborn generations.

If our present and subsequent generations do not meet this challenge,  we will continue to be driven by fear, fear of not having enough, not being enough and having an insatiable need for more external gratification, addiction, to numb our emotional inadequacy.  The external game of life in the past was safety at all costs.  Survival in the past was based metaphorically on, “Eating from the tree of knowledge”.  The tree of knowledge is the mind and represents the collective past.   It’s time to partake of the “The Tree of Everlasting Life”, the wave of the present moment — the evolving present.

To surf the wave of the present moment is to heal the emotional patterns of the ancestral past that lives within us ( please order the workbook, “Seeing Your Life Through New Eyes” published by Read How You Want Books/Amazon and Do The Work).  This task leads to self-love.  Self-love leads to seeing that same love in all people and all things.  In deleting the mind, the need to judge, compare or understand ( Brugh Joy’s books,work and The Kinship Project), you are free of your inherent fear of uncertainty, addiction to the familiar, death and enter the magical life of direct knowing, and what it truly means to be a human being and One with All Life.

Dr. Paul H. Brenner