As many of my clients have learned, my response to their suffering is always the same, “Are you doing your practices?”
Be it a mental, physical, or emotional illness. It might be the loss of a career or a loved one. It could be the fear we sometimes feel when finally going for something big or the most devastating of life experiences. It doesn’t matter. It is always the same. The practices are my primary focus when you come into a session with me, not because I don’t care but because I care so deeply.
No amount of comfort, words of compassionate support, or guidance will help you live a healthier, happier life faster than learning to modify your brain function. No amount of education could expand your thinking more than having a brain that thinks in an inherently expansive way. Nothing will alter your experience of life faster or in a more permanent way than triggering the right chemistry to have you see the world from the perspective of advanced brain functions.
An important thing to note is that understanding your brain won’t significantly change your brain. While this book may spark life-altering inspiration, significant change comes through working the muscle. Think of it as exercise. You would probably agree if I suggested that lifting heavy weights will strengthen your muscles. You might also agree that this is true for all people. However, understanding this won’t make your muscles stronger. You must lift the weights. This process is the same. We’re not dealing with the variables of consciousness here. We are working with anatomy. To make a difference, you must work the muscle.
The key to success in this process comes from doing the right exercises in the right way to trigger a specific chemical reaction. Done consistently, for at least twenty minutes a day, it will alter the wiring in your brain, and it will alter it permanently. Within weeks to months, you’ll experience significant change. Within a few years—less for some—your life could be free of suffering entirely, but you must ‘do your practices.’
The most important thing to recognize as we create healthy brain functions is how we feel as a result of those functions. We don’t need to pick apart the experience we’re having, but we do need to be able to recognize the by-products of certain brain functions if we hope to control them.
In Phase One, we will learn to recognize how our experiences connect to specific brain functions. Then, we will explore the least healthy mechanisms and learn practices to improve even the most extreme reactions.
The beginning practices follow a three-part process set as a foundation to improve base brain functions. I’ve arranged this as a building block system, so remember to take your time in each section. The better you get at one, the easier the next will be. To begin Phase One, we will:
As we move into Phase Two of the program, we will learn practices to help us finally break free of the fight-or-flight/ rest-and-digest cycle entirely. But, for now, let’s get started with Phase One.