We are not our Brain.
This statement might sound confusing but there is a growing body of research in the neurosciences that support this claim.
I see myself as a scientist working in my body’s laboratory. My Ph.D. is my ‘Personal Health Diploma’ which I obtained following a horrific motorcycle accident in which I sustained a severe Traumatic Brain Injury as well as many life-threatening internal injuries.
I have learned to awaken my brain’s healing capacity through my own experiments, extensive research as well as by consulting with an enormous number of doctors and specialists. My accident gave me the opportunity to realize that I was much more than my brain.
The following description of my near-death experience can’t be explained by medicine or science.
“I looked around. I was surrounded by bright lights everywhere. I felt an extraordinary feeling of peace, comfort, and bliss. Looking down, I saw myself swerving on my motorcycle to avoid the car. It was coming straight at me, and I couldn’t avoid it. There was a head-on collision, and I wouldn’t survive. The car smashed into me, and suddenly here I was.
Where am I? Some kind of tunnel. Somewhere? Everywhere? Nowhere. It was all the same. What’s all this around me? Never-ending streams of light were everywhere, and orbs of light were floating all around. I had never seen this before, but I wasn’t scared. It was wonderful and very peaceful. Images of my life appeared right in front of me. I watched, remembered, and I understood. Everything that had happened in my life began to make sense. Not just the accident, but also from the time when I was a child. It all was part of the plan for me for something bigger. Everything that had happened had prepared me for this day. It was all part of the same puzzle. Now I get it, I thought. Then it all ended. I opened my eyes, and I was in the Neuro-Trauma Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
My girlfriend, Sherry, was standing at the bedside. She looked ecstatic and told me with great excitement that I was alive. I had been in a coma for two weeks, and I was a patient in the ICU at St. Michael’s Hospital. The doctors had told my family that there was little chance of my survival and that I wouldn’t wake up from the coma. Even if I did, I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life and would need someone to take care of all my needs. There was no hope. From that point on I had to understand what had happened to me. What was it that I had just experienced? It was amazing and not of this world.”
So began my unrelenting search to understand life and my discovery that I was much more than my brain. My real self was invisible and not confined to my brain or my body. I learned that the “I” in me was beyond time and physical material.
The focus of Neuroscience is on the material or physical world. It is easier to understand and explain human behaviour from a physical or material perspective. Therefore, many scientists state that the brain is responsible for all human behaviour. It is from this material perspective that one concludes that when the brain dies, the mind also dies. I now realize that this is not correct.
The brain plays a role similar to the transistors in a television set. It provides a physical structure for delivering thought, just as a television allows you to see a TV show. For example, if someone receives a “No Signal” message when they are watching Seinfeld on the TV, it is not correct to say that there is something wrong with Seinfeld. We know the problem lies with the TV signal and not with Seinfeld. Similarly, our brain receives a signal from our mind. But, the mind is not something physical that we can see. Our mind uses our brain as a tool to broadcast its signal out to the physical world and perceive the world around us.
Those who question this statement might examine brain scans to find the location of the mind. However, you won’t find the mind or consciousness in the brain. Nothing lights up in the brain when you are aware of your sense of self. You won’t find the mind or consciousness in the brain. You simply know that you exist.
Just like an artist who creates a painting but does not appear in the painting, the mind creates pictures of the world but does not appear in the pictures it creates. To say that the brain creates who you are is like saying that paintings create their painters.
The brain stores all of your experiences and gives signals of what needs to be changed. You are the boss and can direct your brain as you wish. You are consciousness and it is your “Mind’s I” that is actually directing your entire brain.
Luckily for us, there is a connection between the mind, brain and the body.
What we can do with this understanding ?
(1) Realize that an injured brain can heal and change itself.
(2) Your mind creates the world that you live in. Not your brain. Every quality in your world exists because your mind creates it. Your mind can make choices that will influence the outcomes.
(3) Be adaptable to your situation. It will help you if you learn from your past and then put it behind you. Live in the present moment.
(4) You must use your brain as an ally. If you don’t, it will remain your adversary.
(5) Eliminate toxic beliefs. Changing self-defeating beliefs will help you overcome many conditions.
(6) Work to increase both awareness and self-awareness. This allows you to see patterns in your behaviour as well as in the world around you. Being mindful of your thoughts and feelings enables you to stay balanced and more in control. This leads to the development of new neural pathways in the brain. When one constricts their awareness, they constrict their brain and restrict their reality into old and unhealthy habits.
(7) Play to your strengths. Instead of focusing your attention on your weaknesses and limitations, focus your attention on your strengths. When you play to your strengths, you will feel happier, less stressed, have more energy and you will feel more satisfied with your life.
Your brain will change and evolve as you continue to make positive and life enhancing choices. The good news is that your brain, which registers and stores all your experiences, gives clear signals of what needs to be changed. Your mind can make these changes.
You are the master and you have the power to change your brain in ways that are healthy and beneficial.
References: “Super Brain”, (2012), By: Dr. Deepak Chopra