From Lee Gerdes
A traumatic event is a significant disruption of the physical and/or psychological world we live in on a daily basis. Pain is a record of physical disruption in the nervous system. Sin is missing the mark–movement away from long-term wellbeing and missing the target for a life oriented toward health and peace. Brain rhythms are the common denominator of all three—trauma, pain, and sin.
In the Judeo-Christian faith, freedom from sin is forgiveness. As believers we observe Holy Week on the calendar to remind ourselves of the act of God to assure us of this freedom from sin. When we receive or when we offer forgiveness we constrain the sin to the past rather than allowing it to manifest in the present as shame, resentment, or fear. Forgiveness is a big deal. It is in fact how we allow our present as well as the future to be free of unwanted baggage. Wow, I’m glad I know forgiveness. I’m also glad I know how difficult it can be when my brain is stuck and continues its old patterns.
Yet, when we think about forgiveness, isn’t it actually the brain networks which are holding the act of the past sin in the present? And, isn’t it actually the brain networks which hold any past experience in the present, be it a past physical experience of pain or a past experience of trauma? Both pain and trauma are held in the present by brain networks which are playing the past in the present. Brain networks which are stuck in a pattern of the past can carry the past into the present and in so doing can disrupt our future—ugh! Maybe freedom from pain, from trauma, or from sin are really all freedom from brain networks stuck in the past. Maybe the work of prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are all practices which help us be free of unwanted brain patterns dominating the present.
Let me give a couple of the more obvious examples: sometimes, those who have lost a limb in war or in an accident will experience a phenomenon known as phantom pain, whereby the amputated limb continues to cause pain. We know there is no actual limb to feel pain since it has been amputated, but the experience of the trauma may continue to be incredibly painful. Generally, when the brain is allowed to fully relax itself, and when there are not significant barriers for the brain to form new networks (barriers may include medication, drugs, or alcohol), then it is highly likely the phantom pain will diminish or disappear entirely. This relief from pain is performed completely by the brain itself – relegating the past trauma of the body to the past.
I believe that in trauma, in pain, and in sin we are slaves to a brain pattern. As we learn to relax the brain, to allow it to formulate a new pattern for itself, these issues are constrained experientially to the past and the new, flexible brain rhythms which follow allow us to experience the present—and move toward the future—freed from past-brain-driven experiences manifesting in the present.
I know that achieving freedom from past brain patterns isn’t easy. In fact, this is precisely why Brainwave Optimization® was created–to allow the brain to deeply relax in all corresponding lobes so that it can reset itself. Brainwave Optimization is closely aligned to prayer, meditation, and mindfulness, as all of these are ways to be free of past brain patterns.
Balance your brain and enjoy the neuro-flexibility and freedom which will result.
How does one perfect the art of shooting? Brain balance – symmetrical hemispheric rhythms and low-high arousal proportionation of energy. And how does one achieve this brain balance? One way is to be clear about one’s values and what one believes as his/her role in the Greater Good, and then be consistent in life actions for those values and beliefs.
In the movie American Sniper, the central character is a highly balanced person–strong family background, clear values and beliefs (God, Country, Family), and the adoption of responsible action as consistent to make those values and beliefs real in the world. He’s a super shot under great pressure and that requires an extremely balanced brain. Chris understands his gift as a means to help his fellow soldiers stay out of harm’s way. He does it by eliminating others who meant to harm those soldiers.
American Sniper is based on the life of Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who became a living legend during four tours of duty in Iraq. It is said that if the ground troops knew Chris was covering them, they would think themselves invincible—and they were. For Chris, providing protective cover to the ground troops was just doing his job. For the ground troops he protected, though, it was a placebo effect. They believed they were invincible with his protection and they acted that way. It all started, however, with the balanced brain which drove Chris.
In pharmaceutical trials, placebo effects are attributed to the sugar pill used to measure how effective the believe system is in relieving disease symptoms. These placebo effects are often as good as or better than the actual medication being tested. Doesn’t that tell us that the believing brain is doing the symptom relief?
As Chris demonstrated, however, the greater the gift the greater the responsibility. It isn’t easy to be really good. There is a lot of opposition to doing the right thing as best as we are able, our actions aligned with our beliefs and values. When he finally came home and his role changed from expert sniper protecting his fellow soldiers to husband and father, Chris had difficulty adjusting and the stress and trauma became too much for him. Chris demonstrated all the aspects of post deployment syndrome. He no longer felt useful. He was no longer living in integrity, acting in the world in a meaningful way consistent with his beliefs and values. His brain was no longer balanced.
An inspired doctor/counselor advised Chris in his state of compromise that there were still soldiers to assist right there at home. And so he began to work with them. He became a support and an asset. He was once again acting in a manner consistent with what he believed and valued. And it was in this new state of regained brain balance that his wife stated that she was proud and amazed he had become such a tremendous husband and father. Brain balance provides one that opportunity, as well as a deep satisfaction in being alive.
So when you face those times of inconsistency in your life–those times of confusion about what you believe or value–then it may be a time to work on your brain balance and find ways to achieve consistency between the beliefs and values you hold and your actions in the world. Brainwave Optimization® can help. And then, meditation/consciousness/mindfulness can all strengthen you in your journey to keep your optimized brain well balanced.
Whatever you choose to do, you will do it as well as is humanly possible with greater brain balance and harmony.
Joseph Goldberger was a physician who worked with public health. In 1914--strangely 100 years ago--he was assigned to work on pellagra, a disease which caused weakness and loss of ability to walk, horrific sores, dementia, and ultimately death. Tens of thousands of people died from Pellagra across the southern United States and many more deaths occurred throughout Central and South America.
Through his research, Doctor Goldberger proved that Pellagra was not, as many had assumed, an infectious disease. To prove this fact to his peers and the public at large, he and his colleagues went to unthinkable lengths, going so far as to ingest and inject all forms of secretions and disease cells from patients afflicted with the disease. Even still, others criticized and discounted Doctor Goldberger’s position. Everyone could see that that the condition was spreading. How could it be anything other than an infectious disease?
Doctor Goldberger proposed an alternative theory: Pellagra was a dietary issue. To test this theory, he conducted an experiment. Inmates from a prison were isolated and fed corn, grits, sweet potatoes, and corn bread. After two weeks, the first symptoms were reported. After five months, more than half of the inmates were diagnosed with Pellagra.
Doctor Goldberger and his colleagues also visited an orphanage where many children were dying from the disease. After a period of observation, they had the orphanage change their daily menu to include all food groups in a balanced manner. Even as the sick children started to recover and new cases ceased to appear, no one believed him.
Decades later, pellegra was conclusively determined to be a vitamin deficiency disease connected to a method of processing corn initiated around 1900. The process removed niacin, and as corn was the staple of the Southern diet, pellegra quickly became a wide-spread issue.
There is no doubt in the world that the body itself ultimately heals itself, and no doubt that the brain is the upstream driver for this healing.
There is no doubt in the world that the behavioral health issues faced by so many people are often issues originating in the brain. And yet, those working with people facing these issues seldom even look at the brain rhythms.
A balanced and harmonized brain, where rhythms are proportional and balanced, is optimal for wellbeing and all aspects of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual life. I pray I see the day when the majority of the world can accept and incorporate this notion of wellbeing. In the interim there are those who understand and seek ways and means to balance and harmonize their brain rhythms. Over 70,000 such people from around the world have used Brainwave Optimization® to help themselves do that. It is an honor to work with so many seekers of wellbeing who recognize that the source of wellbeing is the brain.
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