From Lee Gerdes


American Sniper movie posterHow 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.


Adopting New Ideas

Published in From Lee Gerdes

Josep GoldbergerJoseph 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.


The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) of the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) presents Positive and Negative Valence ideas for research and consideration. This is also a helpful way to consider overall wellbeing.

When one thinks about “valence” in positive and negative senses, it may be helpful to think about the positive and negative sides of overall wellbeing. The positive valence side is made up of positive states of satisfaction, contentment, and relaxation, while the negative valence side is made up of states of suffering, distress, sadness, or anger. To see these exact states of wellbeing  and positive or negative valence change in a human being in a short time (1 hour to 3 weeks generally) is amazing, and it’s amazing to see such dramatic shifts happen coincidentally with shifts in brain patterns and rhythms, while life situations remain relatively constant.

I’m convinced that the key to wellbeing as the key to positive valence is in the brain rhythms and not simply situational. I’m convinced that when I realize these brain rhythms are driving my perception of my own wellbeing in the moment, and the situation I find myself in at that moment is only a temporary state, my personal power, confidence, and overall wellbeing are as great as they can be.

As the world studies and better understands what the NIMH is encouraging in their effort to seek RDoC research, I’m also convinced that the world will be a better place; We humans won’t be as apt to react in ways disproportionate to a situation and we will endeavor as individuals and collectively toward a greater sense of wellbeing—a positive valence—driven by a balanced brain.

It is important for us all to respect and honor this brain power.