SOS BOOK Chapter 50: Better understanding the 2nd key.



WE NEED MORE THAN JUST SURVIVAL & SAFETY.

As humans our primal urge is for survival & safety. Our basic animal nature pushes us towards pleasure and away from pain or suffering. It does this automatically by reflex. This animal nature is not designed to work out what’s best for us long term. It just provides a temporary reflex-type response.


Our higher evolved nature is designed to seek overall wellbeing, inner peace & fulfilment. That’s why our individual quest should be for personal development and a higher consciousness. These are our higher order goals. We are searching for a more positive state of wellness and being. We might call this permanent happiness, joy or bliss. But how do we get there? That is our quest!


REVIEWING THE 2nd KEY: SELF-AWARENESS LEADS TO A BETTER OUTCOME.

To optimize our personal development, we need to start an inner journey. We alone are responsible for this. No one else can force us or do it for us! But how do we start that inner journey? What do we actually do? The answer is to increase our AWARENESS of our true situation. This will require some further discussion of the 2nd key to personal success.


We can optimize our mental state by selecting which thoughts we pursue. We first observe all our thoughts in an unattached & impartial way. We engage only with positive thoughts. We can promote the very best of these, simply by giving them more attention.


Increasing our awareness allows us to upgrade our perception of an event and our subsequent behavior. Our perception influences our view of life. In this simple way we can raise our level of happiness and improve our life!


WE CAN OBSERVE AND CHANGE OUR THINKING.

This 2nd key also invites us to utilize our human intelligence & wisdom. Humans have the ability to change their own thinking. We have the free will to select and direct a line of thinking. This separates us from other animals.


We don’t need to study the psychology, or the neuroscience involved in this process. We don’t need to understand neural networks, neurotransmitters or the control mechanisms involved. The ability to observe and direct our thinking is a natural human process. It’s an innate human ability. We can just do it... if we choose to!

…Do you recognize your innate ability to observe and direct your thinking?


THE BRAIN CORTEX ENABLES HIGHER FUNCTIONS.

Mental functioning is enhanced by having an increased brain capacity and advanced cortical structure. This allows us to better assess & manage our thoughts.


The human cortex is our so-called ‘intelligent brain’. This advanced cortical function allows us to assess and change our behavior. These functions can override our lower order or ‘primitive’ brain. This includes the emotion-based limbic system & the brain stem. But we must consciously choose to select this override function.


ONLY ENGAGE WITH YOUR POSITIVE THOUGHTS.

There is a simple way to change our life. We start changing ourselves! We start with our thinking. We practise slowing down our thoughts and observing them more objectively. This means being less attached and more impartial to them.


We learn to empower only our positive thoughts. Particularly those that align with our deep inner needs & desires. We simply do this by giving them more attention.


We promote the most positive & meaningful lines of thought. Particularly those with a high vibe! This enables a rapid improvement in how we feel and our actions too. All this leads to a positive change in our external world.


CHANGE HOW YOU PERCEIVE YOUR SITUATION.

We can also modify our interpretation of events or relationships. We can even choose a totally new perspective on life. We can view things in a new way! This is called shifting our perspective or a frameshift.


It does take some effort to change a well-established pattern of thinking. That’s because strong neural pathways have already formed in the brain from habitual use. Despite this, a rewiring can still be achieved with perseverance & effort. We just need the right intent and sufficient determination.

…What past event will you choose to interpret in a more positive way?


UPGRADE YOUR BRAIN’S SOFTWARE & HARDWARE.

As we observe our thoughts, we can adjust the outcome! In computer terminology we are programming & upgrading the software of our brain. So, this is like a personal software upgrade!


At the same time, we are re-sculpting our brain’s physical hardware. This happens through an increased demand for new neural networks. Old unused networks are bypassed. All this occurs automatically when we do the work!


WE CAN BUILD NEW NEURONAL PATHWAYS.

What a sophisticated programming & engineering feat! Yet, we are capable of doing this ourselves. We just need to understand and then practice this simple process. We simply select positive lines of thoughts with the highest vibe! We use our ‘higher awareness’ to help us do this. In this way, higher awareness is more advanced than the ‘sensory awareness’ provided by our 5 physical senses.


Let's look at the scientific support for all this. Research shows that neuronal connections & pathways are in a constant state of flux. So new connections in the brain can form rapidly. Repetitive use of these neural pathways reinforces them. They become stronger with regular use.


MEDITATION UPGRADES OUR BRAIN’S SOFTWARE.

Certain regions of the brain can also be trained to increase their activity. For example, meditation training can upgrade functioning in the left prefrontal lobe of the cortex. This area is involved in processing happiness and provides positive inputs to other parts of the brain.


Meditation similarly diminishes activity in the right prefrontal lobe, which leads to reduced negative perceptions. These changes have been objectively confirmed using functional MRI scanners and real-time PET scanners. One such research study observed Buddhist monks who had practiced regular meditation for many years. A dramatic change in these prefrontal lobes was noticed.


THE BENEFITS OF MEDITATION OCCUR RAPIDLY.

But what about people who have never meditated before? How long does meditation take before the brain rewires? In novices, six weeks of daily meditation exercises produced detectable brain changes. So, meditation seems to support an upgrade in the brain's functioning.

…Have you introduced meditation into your daily routine?


How do we apply all this to our daily life? What is the best motivation and outlook to have on life? We discuss this next with a further discussion of the 3rd key.


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