January 12, 2014

Smooth out Your Lizard Brain.

“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” ~ Carolyn Myss

Change is tough and scary for many.

It solicits more responses than merely going with the flow. Charts and graphs of emotions display where every reaction lodges in the body during times of stress, anxiety and deep transforming occurrences.

On a recent run through my neighborhood I found myself looking down more often than I was looking up. I was searching for cool finds on the road—coins, feathers, rocks, etc.—that I could possibly add to my collection of *angel winks* (as I like to refer to them) and meditate on the synchronistic timing of it all.

This morning, an interesting metaphor presented itself to me. As I was pounding the pavement and observing the grass more than the sky, a very large wrinkly object appeared. At first I thought it was an old prehistoric rock of some sort. Turns out it was an old and hardened baked potato that someone tossed out the window and left to rot. My first thought was why this person decided they didn’t want the baked potato—they were too full from eating other stuff, the potato was too nutritious for their own good, they were avoiding carbs that day—then I thought of a deeper meaning: lizard brain.

The lizard brain is a block in our pathway to creativity, moving forward, changing old habits and relating differently in relationship patterns.

It is a resistance to any new paradigm shifts of consciousness. For all different aspects of life, the lizard brain is rather old and prehistoric and can prevent any newness from reaching parts of our subconscious desperately trying to change. We over think. We get stuck in ruts. We analyze everything to death. Our hearts and minds are closed off to new information that could possibly help with furthering our purpose. This is lizard brain in full swing-drying up, dying out, and getting too crinkly and comfortable in the sun.

Similar to that tossed aside baked potato, the lizard brain will remain in a hardened and dried up state unless the mind makes a conscious decision to change. There is so much going on with the brain in an evolutionary way that the reptilian symbol mimics the simplistic nature of our own human brains. Reptile brains evolved before the human brain, yet remaining stuck in the B.C. era with old ways of thinking do not further the course of humanity or society.

I know, sounds almost too strange to even compare that to a tuberous vegetable, but the solid crumpled mass on the ground looked almost like an old small brain. And the odd part is it was tossed out the window. There were too many metaphors within that find to not investigate it further. Not the reasoning behind the potato per se, but our brains that are hardwired for certain things and can get stuck and rigid when it’s being eaten up with too much stimulus trying to create change.

The brain is an organ that is at the center of the nervous system, with its primary function to exert centralized control over other organs of the body. This centralized brain control allows responses to rapid changes in the environment, and generating patterns of muscle activity by driving the secretions of hormones. Much of how the brain works is still a mystery to neuroscientists and researchers alike, yet the old adage of the brain being separate from the mind is now consciously examined as further from the truth. The mechanisms of brain activity that give rise to consciousness remains very challenging to understand, yet it is similar to the modern computer in that it acquires information from the surrounding world, stores it, and processes it in a variety of ways. The basic operations of brain cells are now more understood in detail, but the way the cells cooperate in ensembles of millions has yet to be solved. Hence, lizard brain.

“Men ought to know that from nothing else but the brain comes joys, delights, laughter and sports, grief, sorrows, despondency, and lamentations.” ~ Hippocrates

We have a prehistoric pattern and makeup in our brains that is analogous to the primary blueprint of our soul. Every response to our environment is thought out and spit out in ways that can damage or uplift our society as a whole. When we are locked into patterns of behavior and certain old paradigms of thinking, the brain registers this in the cerebral cortex as comfortable and non-reactionary. It needs shaking-up-stimulus responses to keep these areas of the brain active and healthy: Here are the four areas of the cerebrum to help ponder the reasoning behind lizard brain.

1) The Frontal Lobe: associated with reasoning, planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions and problem solving.

2) The Parietal Lobe: associated with movement, recognition, orientation, and perception of stimuli.

3) The Occipital Lobe: deals with visual processing.

4) The Temporal Lobe: perception, recognition of auditory stimuli, memory association, and speech.

If you have ever noticed brain anatomy, it is a wrinkly condensed mass that is essentially designed for efficiency by increasing the surface area of the brain and allowing the neurons spaces to hide and process. The neocortex occupies the bulk of the cerebrum, which is related to “higher” thinking. Reptiles do not have a neocortex. Humans, primates and dolphins do. There is an emotional brain buried within the neocortex area of the cerebrum, and these mammals (including us) can process emotional responses to environmental changes.

A lizard or other reptile does not have this capacity.


Smooth out your lizard brain, let go of the resistance, and get busy living a life of your own creative passion.
The first full moon of 2014 is on the horizon, one that is craving security, nurturing yourself, busting up well-worn out beliefs and looking at the world and ourselves with fresh eyes, ears, heart and mindset.

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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: elephant archives

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