Friday, March 07, 2014

The Great Deception

Interesting article by a Marriage Counselor on Brain Reconditioning that can apply to multiple areas of life...


We’re Less in Control Than We Think

By Brent Atkinson

At the tail end of a sweltering, humid Chicago day in 1993, I took my family to the community pool for a dip. As the children splashed gleefully, I sat nearby reading Robert Ornstein’s new book, The Evolution of Consciousness, unaware that my life was about to change.
Libet’s findings ran contrary to the way most of us experience ourselves. Most of us think, “When I move, it’s because I decided that I was going to move.” But Libet’s studies showed that impulse and inclination preceded conscious intention. It was as though somebody else in the subject’s brain decided when he or she would flick his or her wrist. Initially, Libet’s study stirred a storm of controversy, but over the next few decades, his findings would be replicated time and time again, with more and more sophisticated technologies, leading to him winning a Nobel Prize for his contributions.
Gradually, I began to accept the concept that conscious understanding and effort weren’t the mighty forces that I’d assumed they were and that automatic urges and inclinations were much stronger than I’d ever imagined.

The evidence is clear—meditation conditions the brain to produce automatic inclinations that help people be more attentive and optimistic and less affected by stressful circumstances and anxiety. In other words, the nervous system changes promoted by mindfulness can serve as a stable platform that enables people to act more skillfully in all areas of their lives.
This process includes:
  1. Conscious pursuit of understanding and change. We need to use our conscious minds to understand our lives, develop ideas about what’s healthy and unhealthy, and pursue concrete changes that move us toward health and well-being.
  2. Stress reduction and rejuvenation. We need to develop nervous system inclinations that reduce stress, relax the mind, and rejuvenate the body.
  3. Distress tolerance and self-regulation. We need to develop nervous system inclinations that help us tolerate the inevitable stress that accompanies making difficult changes and self-regulate in emotionally charged situations.
  4. Emotional accessibility. We need to develop nervous system inclinations that produce feelings that connect us to others.
  5. ..
  6. Brent Atkinson, PhD, is director of postgraduate training at the Couples Research Institute in Geneva, Illinois, and Professor Emeritus at Northern Illinois University. He’s the author of Emotional Intelligence in Couples Therapy: Advances from Neurobiology and the Science of Intimate Relationships and Developing Habits for Relationship SuccessContact:

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