Mary H/ January 29, 2014/ Paul Brenner, MD, PhD

(Original Post from Dr. Brenner’s personal Blog, January 29, 2014)

Recently, I was with my sister-in-law, Rita, and she related that as a child she “needed support” from her family but later found that “support” from her husband. When the three of us that were present asked her to give an example, she mentioned that, “He always gave me ‘freedom’ to do whatever I wanted to do in life.   I personally cherish “freedom” and initially , when I heard her use the word, “support”, I cringed and associated what she said with a “sense of entrapment”.  I interpreted “support” as limiting my “freedom”.  Another individual who was present thought “support meant “money”.  Yet there was also an experience of anxiety associated within him when “support” was mentioned.   For most of his life, he has had mixed emotions concerning”supports”.  He was a child in France during the Holocaust.  He moved with his family from place to place “without two pennies to rub together” yet “support” for him brought up mixed emotions. If his parents could scrap together enough money, they had “support”.  Safety would be guaranteed for awhile.  If not, they lived in utter fear and anxiety.  To this day, he has deep resentment towards the wealthy whom he feels control the fate of the less affluent.  For him, the word  ”support” holds mixed emotion and is experienced as “fear”,”safety” and so “anxiety”.  The third person interpreted “support” as “love”.    She felt, as a child, that the greatest gift she received from from her mother was her mother’s “support”.

All four of us had our own personal definition and emotional experience of the word “support”.   But the sound frequency of the word “support” instantaneously evoked different brain neuropeptides in each of us. This was based on our own emotional experience and long term memory of “support”.  These emotions ranged from “freedom” to “entrapment” and “anxiety ” to “love”.

We have created a rainbow of words to connect the polarities found within our five senses, since we all have a need to share our understanding of reality.  However, our unique understanding of the various  shades of words too often can disrupt our relationships and lead to unfounded judgements, comparisons and understanding.  Too often,  we assume during a conversation  a common ground of understanding, thinking we are all on the same page, of the same script but usually this is untrue. The variances of our personal experiences, families,  teaches and other  knowers, as well as those long term memories within our brain, have shaped our mind and altered the emotional perceptions of what is really unfolding in each moment.

Experiencing life without naming the feeling or defining the emotions is “beginner’s mind”, the untaught mind.  Beginner’s mind demands being present in the moment to what is happening and allowing life to be our road map rather then our past.
Yes, to truly ” know” is to not put words on our experiences but to experience the experience.  The present experience tells us the meaning.  But that knowing is only valid in that moment. To hold on to the moment is to miss the next moment.  Can we make life into a personal movie that has been written on life’s wave.  If so, now we can walk into our life’s story without knowing the next scene.  All it takes is trust.

“What one believes to be true is true both true experimentally and experientially, but these beliefs are to be transcended.” John Lilly, M.D., “Center of the Cyclone.”

Our future is bright!