Jonjhua

Surely we are asking the wrong questions.

Why are we alive?
Why do we exist?
What is the purpose of life?
What’s the point?
What is going on?
Why do we die?
What is reality?
I have figured out – the right question to ask is Jonjhua.
Jonjhua we alive?
Jonjhua we exist?
Jonjhua purpose of life?
Jonjhua point?
Jonjhua going on?
Jonjhua die?
Jonjhua reality?
What is Jonjhua?
Patience. 🙂 Read on…
All our questions are based on trying to figure out reality.
Let’s see how well we do on “reality” on a day-to-day basis.
What we normally refer to as our experience of the world is actually a set of events that have already been significantly transformed with respect to the world and bears only a shadowy resemblance to the real world.
What we see is just a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Photons of wavelength between 400 to 700 nanometers strike receptors in the retina of the eye. All wavelengths below and above this are undetected and unexperienced by us directly. The photons between 400 to 700 nm are detected by our receptors and create an impulse which travels through the optic nerve passing through larger complex structures (eg. distinct nerves, lateral geniculate bodies, hypothalmus etc.) and leading to the occipital lobes. At each of these stages mapping through neurlogical processes changes or adds on to the data stream that serves as the initial input to the receptor.
(Simple translation: What we see is not what is really out there, but a version of it corrupted by our own receiving antennae)


John Grinder in ‘Whispering in the wind’ says –

The image we see of what we take to be in front of us is actually behind us on our occipital lobes. We “know” that that occipital lobe image corresponds to some event in front of us through learning and especially the multiple descriptions of the our experiencie of the world that we create through a comparioson of the products of the neurological transforms that define the individual sensory modalities – in particular touch and audition. The sound we hear emanating from behind us is an event that is actually occurring on our temporal lobe – but we have learned as in the case of vision through coordination with the other modalities and in particular by arrival time differentials as refined as 1/250,000 of a second between the two ears where in the space around us the source of the sound is located. Again similar descriptions are available for the other sensory channels.

Case in point – Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is made ‘stainless’ by a thin film created when chromium, oxygen (from air and water) react with iron, chromium, manganese, silicon, carbon etc. This thin film is invisible and prevents additional corrosion by acting as a barrier that limits the access of oxygen and water to the underlaying metal surface.
What this means is – that stainless steel does not corrode – because it is already corroded. Since, we can’t see the new film – it looks “stainless” to us.
Similar sequences of corruption of each sensory channel can be described. What we hear is within a limited bandwidth. What we feel is too. What we smell is again inhibited. And so is what we can taste.
We can’t hear dog whistles.
We see stars which are probably long dead.
A dog can smell what we can’t.
What we experience is not reality. What we experience is a shadow of reality – mutilated, corrupted, modified, added on,
changed beyond recognition by our own neurological receptors.
In his book, Grinder gives a beautiful description of this distinction –

You are likely sitting in a comfortable chair holding this book in your hands as you read these words. You are sensing a vast number of things; most of them occur without your being aware of them; some force their way into your consciousness. We invite you to back out of your present perceptual position for a moment and look at this reader seated comfortably in a chair, holding a book. What is the larger context in which you observe him or her holding the book?

This reader whom you are observing is awash in a sea of electromagnetic energy – the entire electromagnetic spectrum is in active play in, around and through her, her chair and her book. The reader has very limited access to this vast spectrum of events. Her eyes are capable of detecting wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers. Her ears register the arrival the sound waves, alternating compressions and attenuation of sound waves generated between 20 cycles per second and 20,000 cps. The tactile sensitivity of her skin responds to differences in position, temperature, moisture… within extremely limited ranges. The rest of what is happening — indeed, the vast majority of those events that occur in the electromagnetic spectrum that defines the actual world — occur without any awareness, in fact, without the possibility of unaided awareness (that is, without instrumentation) by her. In the time that it took her to read the last paragraph, a large number of sub atomic particles have literally passed through her body.

The channels of access – her sensory apparatus – to this booming buzzing riot of movement, energy and flux are as small knotholes in a fence through which she attempts to peer as if to catch a fleeting glimpse of the great game being played out there.
Having already demolished the reality of the real world – let us now zoom in to what seems to be going on inside our mind.
Thought.
Memory.
Imagination.
Reasoning.
Cognition.
Decision Making.
Sentience.
Subjectivity.
Self-reflection.
These are the tools or appratus available to us through which we are trying to figure out the ‘meaning’ of reality.
What makes us believe that these tools are enough? How do we know that there are not other tools that exist and are available – just not to us?
We are not equipped to “see” the real world.
We are not equipped to “hear” the real world.
We are not equipeed to “feel”, “smell” or “taste” the real world.
What makes us believe we are equipped to “think” about the real world usefully and come to ‘real’ answers?
And isn’t the construct of an ‘Answer’ merely that – a construct?
What if our intellect operates within a limited range and once one goes beyond this range (which is of course, not possible) – the whole construct or idea of things having an answer or solution dissolves and something unknown takes its place?
What then?
And then – comes the problem of ‘framing’ the question. Our experience of the world – is not real. It is merely First Access. It’s messy. It’s corrupted. It’s downright inaccurate.
But at least its a representation ( a re-presentation, we present the world again to ourselves ) through the apparatus available.
To this cocktail of confusion – we now add Language. It is like doing tequila shots when you are already pissed drunk so that you can get a grip on reality.
Language is not even a re-presentation. It is a re-presentation of a re-presentation.
Remember First Access? Language deletes, distorts and generalizes from the First Access and tries to make sense of the world.
This means – language undergoes two levels of corruption (the more appropriate word is “transormation”).
Now imagine – you are trying to figure out the meaning of reality (or life) by using tools of language – which are a representation of a representation of reality – when the first representation itself is assuredly inaccurate.
Good luck with that!!
Hence, Jonjhua.
Jonjhua is the word I have invented to describe a language construct – which uses a range of mental faculties not available to us so as to get rid of all the limitations posed above. If we use Jonjhua – we are not dealing with the challenges of corruption in language. We are not even dealing with the challenges of corruption from First Access.
When you use Jonjhua in language – it directly (and what must seem like magic) connects one to “reality”.
And using Jonjhua helps you access the unknown “stuff” that helps ‘real’ reality makes sense.
Jonjhua we alive?
Jonjhua we exist?
Jonjhua purpose of life?
Jonjhua point?
Jonjhua going on?
Jonjhua die?
Jonjhua reality?
If only, it were possible.

धन्यवाद् प्रेमचंद ! :-)

मुंशी प्रेमचंद से मेरा साक्षात्कार बचपन में ही हुआ था। शायद, ‘हीरामोतीकी कहानी से। तब से, प्रेमचंद मेरे प्रिय बन गए। उनकी अनेकों कहानिया, उपन्यास मैंने पढ़ डाले। उनके लिखने में कोई ऐसा जादू था, जितना पढता, उतना ही ह्रदय बाग बाग हो जाता। उनकी जीविका भी पढ़ी। कैसे एक साहित्य के मार्गदर्शक, एक महान लेखक का जीवन दुःख एवं आभाव से भरा पड़ा था। कहते हैं, मसीहा को अपने देश में कभी नही पूजा जाता। प्रेमचंद आज विश्वप्रसिद्ध हैं। उनकी कहानियो एवं उपन्यासों का अनुवाद अनेको भाषाओँ में हो चुका है। उन्हें हिन्दी साहित्य का एक अविलम्ब चिह्न माना जाता है। परन्तु अपने जीवान काल में, तो उन्हें प्रसिद्धि मिली, ना ही सम्रिध्य। अपनी सरस्वती प्रेस को चालू रखने में ही उनका जीवन गुज़र गया।

प्रेमचंद शब्दों में निपुण थे। अपनी भाषा, अपने लिखने के तरीके से, वो ऐसा समां बांधते, कि लगता उनकी कहानियो के पात्र कागज़ से निकल कर आपके सामने खड़े हों, आपसे बातें कर रहे हों। उनके सभी पात्र असली थे, कोई भी बनावटी था। उनकी कहानियो ने मुझ पर एक गहरी छाप छोड़ी। आज भी, उनकी पुस्तकें मेरे पास हैं।

मैं प्रेमचंद का आभारी हूँ, उन्होंने मेरे जीवन के कुछ क्षण बहुत ही यादगार बनाये।

धन्यवाद्!

Fake

How easily our lives get swept away by the fake world of borders and stock markets, advertisements and sports, being good-looking and looking good, the evening news and the morning newspaper, the talk shows and the reality tv, the national elections and the international ones, the wars and the freedom struggles.

How easily we make that business deal over there, matter to us so much that we develop ulcers over it. How effortlessly we get swept away in the world of distractions that surrounds us – till we forget to be with ourselves. Then – we are alone and we want the TV on, or that magazine to read. The distraction from life has now become life – while life looks on – hapless as an accident victim, the only witness to it too busy to take note and rescue it.

Almost nothing that touches us in real life is real. Almost nothing.

Money is fake. Countries are fake. Passport and Visas are fake. Stock Markets are fake. Deodorant and Perfumes are fake. Clothes are fake. Cars are fake. Sports are fake. Movies are fake. Advertisements are fake. Religion is fake. Godmen are fake. Promotions are fake. Laws are fake. Currency notes are fake. Banks are fake. Police and military are fake. Schools are fake. Colleges are fake. Degrees are fake and Ph.Ds are fake. Organizations and corporations are fake. Houses are fake. Rules are fake. All traffic signs are fake. Marriage is fake. Divorces are fake.

Almost everything that touches us in real life is fake. The things we care about, get high blood pressure over, cry, scream and wail over – are fake.

Money, passports, visas, bank-statements, insurance claims, bills – pieces of paper which we have agreed to mean something. Fake.

Promotions and Corporations – invisible designations in artificial constructions called organizations make us feel good or bad. Fake.

Degrees and Education – Spend so many years visiting the same buildings with the same people, sitting in the same rooms, pretending to study the same thing, answering the same questions, getting different marks and you have graduated. Learning – is optional. Fake.

God and Religion – A megalomaniac of a God, waiting to hurl punishments and the everlasting fires of damnation upon you if you dare to break his rituals, forget to remember him or worse still – pray to another god. A needy clingy monster egoist god who would not smile and bless you till you kneel in submission at him, for the rest of your life. By the way, he loves you. And he’s always a He. Fake.

Marriage – a fire, a ceremony, a party, a court-paper, a judge, two witnesses is what you need for marriage. Not understanding and compassion and growth and expansion and creativity and sensuality and love and laughter. A paper, with four signatures and a seal. Fake.

Divorce – a court proceeding, hurled accusations or amicable separations – must be legal. A couple married long ago – bored, stiff, unfulfilled, no conversations or love or laughter or sensuality, a limp resignation and cynicism about each other, hoping like hell to be somewhere else every minute they spend together – are still married, unless the paper says so. Fake.

Houses and Cars and other Toys – who you are is everything around you except you. Who you are is the house you live in, the car you drive, the mobile phone you use, the gadgets you own – You don’t exist, you have no inherent value – the Toys make the man. Fake.

Rules and Laws and Codes – Everything that is held sacred now, was up for sale once. Everything that was held sacred once, is up for sale now. Societies keep choosing the way they wish to live. And keep changing their choices. It gives workability, transient – in the moment – workability. Fake.

Countries – lines drawn on sand, grass, desert and across seas by an invisible hand-mind-gun invoke passion, fury, hatred, love, pride and breeds violence. Fake.

Then, what is real?

What is intransient and exists.

Music is not fake. Music is real.

Learning is not fake. Learning is real.

Love is not fake. Love is real.

Fear is not fake. Fear is real.

Courage is not fake. Courage is real.

Love, Fear, Courage, Learning, Music – is real. Is Life.

“Is it true?” vs “Does it work?”

Lately, I have been so intrigued by the question “Why” that it has clouded my life-long fascination with the “How”.

Trying to answer the fundamental Why questions remains a quest – its deep, its meaningful, even sexy.

Trying to answer the How is less glamorous. It is an arena filled with squabbling crooks, missionaries, conmen, charlatans, quacks and well… those like me. Since masses care about the How more than the Why, there has been commercialization of this space too.

Here is why I care about “How”

The lack of empirical evidence is more the norm than an exception of the discipline of mind-science (to use a not-so-graceful term).

John Horgan in his book “The Undiscovered Mind – How the brain defies explanation” says… (not verbatim)

Evolutionary Biologist Erns Mayr argued that no field of biology can match the precision and power of physics, because unlike electrons and neutrons, all organisms are unique. Even then, the difference between two different kinds of bacteria or different types of horses is trivial compared to differences between two human beings, even those who are genetically identical. Each individual mind may change dramatically when its owner is spanked, learns the alphabet, reads a book, takes a drug, falls in love, gets divorced, undergoes Jungian dream therapy, suffers a stroke. The variability and malleability of the human mind enormously complicate the search for general principles of human nature.

Investigations into the human mind have failed to generate the kind of applications that compel belief in a particular paradigm. Physicists can boast of lasers, transistors, nuclear bombs. Biologists can show-off vaccines, cloning, antibiotics. By-products of mind-science are less impressive: cognitive behavioral therapy, thorazine, prozac, shock therapy, IQ tests etc.

Millions and millions of people receive inputs through psychoanalysis, which Freud invented a century ago. Psychoanalysis also fares very poorly in empirical research. Freud has been described as a cult-leader who excelled at self-promotion and also as a genius whose insights into the psyche, though difficult to pin down empirically, still “ring” true. Each of these views is defensible, and the persistence of psychoanalysis proves the inability of science to offer an obvious superior explanation of the mind and its disorders. Freudians cannot point to an unambiguous evidence of their paradigm’s superiority, but neither can proponents of more modern paradigms.

The field of social psychology – which continues to speculate about human culture – coining terms that we are so intimately familiar with as teachers – like “identity crisis”, “conventional wisdom” or “learned helplessness” – these are not scientific theories but “help us think”.

A slightly different approach then, would be to judge paradigms of thought, not on what they say – but for what they do. The question shifts from “Is it true?” to “Does it work?”

Early advocates of Quantum Physics could only describe results from esoteric experiments. Later, they had the supporting evidence from fission reactors, transistors, lasers, thermonuclear bombs – technologies that altered the course of history. For many physicists; whether quantum mechanics is true is almost irrelevant. It works.

I believe – the name, the label, the thought-movement or affiliations don’t matter. I discovered NLP and several other philosophies in a personal quest for meaning and growth and accepted that which made sense and matched my experience. This strategy has worked for me. I cannot claim in all honesty that I have not been skeptic or unfairly judgmental of certain bodies of knowledge. However, in such cases – the loss has been mine.

Reality is a purple blob

Floating heads like me are often urged to be “realistic” and “practical”
Another request often made is to live in the “real world”
In about 120 years, all seven billion human beings alive on this planet would be dead – and that is “really” realistic!
Being realistic and practical wouldn’t have mattered at all.
That can be deeply distressing or immensely liberating.
Which one is it?
🙂

Ambition or Meaning?

When I think about how I have evolved, there seem to be two main players.

Ambition and Meaning
These are the two principal actors in the theater of my life.
Ambition and Meaning.
Ambition takes center stage at times, his demeanor is assertive, his gaze fixed. He is full of passion and believes in his dreams. Ambition strives to succeed, to create, to partner, to conquer, to defeat, to win. Ambition takes a hard look at reality and proclaims “This needs to change” or “I will create this and that”. Ambition got me to be dynamic, learn skills of persuasion and negotiation. Ambition tells me I should hire an agent who will do a good job promoting me. Ambition got me to start my own company and persist in the face of odds. Ambition gets me to create new products, ideas. Ambition gets excited at the slightest mention of fames and riches and seeks glamor and the limelight. Ambition is full of energy, constantly dissatisfied, constantly striving, constantly improving.
Meaning on the other hand is much pensive. Much reflection, curiosity and intellectual honesty seem to have gone into the making of Meaning. Meaning strives to find, to connect, to synthesize, to combine, to bring together, to understand, to analyze. Meaning does not believe in perceptions. Meaning does not believe in the “outer world”. Meaning is beyond social, political, environmental and even personal happenings. Meaning only strives for intellectual honesty and believes only in the power of reason. Meaning does not care about glamor or riches or fame. Meaning only cares for an understanding, for things to make sense. Meaning seeks its place in the universe and its role in the scheme of things. Meaning does not even seek fulfillment or satisfaction – merely the beauty of “it makes sense!”. It seeks the higher truth, not worldly gratifications.
Here I am, typing these words into a screen with zillions of shimmering digital drops of lights. I run a company, care about my work. I make a difference to people’s lives – when I know in the ‘absoluteness’ of it all – it doesn’t matter. I strive to succeed, yet understand that success is an illusion. I seek fulfillment, yet understand that its impossible.
This is my malaise. Who do I choose to rule my life – Ambition or Meaning?
As of now, we continue with their uneasy co-existence.

When the student is ready…

I chanced upon a photo-album in my hard-drive. It had pictures of Gandhi, Richard Bach, Tim Berners Lee and others. At first, I just couldn’t for the life of me remember, why I had created this album and downloaded these pictures. Then it dawned on me. I was creating an an album with pictures of people who had really made a difference to my life. Who had mattered. People who had me look at life in a whole new different way. Usually, coming across them meant an intense and immensely satisfying period of personal growth and learning. I was never the same again after crossing paths with them.

Thought it would be fun to capture this list. So here it goes – in no particular order:
Kalpana desai: 1998 – She was the trainer for a Silva program I attended. She was kind, compassionate, loving and really cared for the audience. She was the first trainer I ever knew.
Sue Knight: 2002 – I attended a two day workshop by Sue called ‘Introduction to NLP’. After relentlessly pursuing NLP on my own for three years – finally getting to learn it from someone as insightful as her was a revelation. She also helped me make some powerful distinctions about myself.
Premchand: I am yet to find a better writer than Premchand. He makes me want to write. His stories and novels literally taught me the beauty of the written word.
Neale Donald Walsche: His book “Conversations with God” helped me create a model of the universe and its meaning – which held good for a very long time. It helped me build some of my core beliefs about the world.

Anthony Robbins: He introduced me to NLP
Sabah Carrim: She introduced me to pure philosophy and conversations with her about philosophy blew my mind. Everything I knew suddenly became a subset of something bigger, more wonderful. The fundamental questions I was asking about life and work changed. The brightest mind I ever came across in person.
Anne Townsend: Taught me how to facilitate. Her kindness and affection with a greenhorn trainer like me allowed me to build confidence in myself. She said one of the most powerful things I have ever heard “We are not different from each other, we’re different like each other”
Mark Wedgwood: Taught me how to facilitate. Anne and Mark were my first models of serious facilitation and I blindly copied (er… modeled 🙂 ) what they did in the first two years after I went solo. I also value his friendship and some amazing conversations we’ve had.
Dale Carnegie: In 9th standard, I read his book “how to win friends and influence people” – the first non-fiction book I ever read. Got me started on non-fiction.

Azam Pasha: Discussions with him about life, love, creativity and philosophy added new dimensions to my thought
Swamini Vimalananda: Attended a Chinmaya Yuva Kendra camp in her guidance when I was about 12 years old. Met her again when I was 24. Her grace, depth and self-effacing humor probably got me interested in personal growth to begin with.
Ayn Rand: Fountainhead seared itself on my mind for years. I came across her in school – while I tend to disagree with some basic tenets of her philosophy, she helped me find my own voice.
Richard Bach: Introduced me to the magical world we live in and a philosophy of life which resonated true. Illusions remains one of my favorite books.
Purushottam Rai: My grandfather – every moment with him makes you want to be a better human being. Can I be like him when I am old, please 🙂
Gandhi: I read his autobiography in a train journey from Ranchi to Chennai. Life changed forever. Some of my fundamental ideas about our world, war, peace and society are derived from Gandhi.
Tim Berners Lee: Thank you for having the courage to give away the www to the world for free. it changed my life in so many ways that I cannot even begin to describe. I couldn’t sleep the night I came to know about the world wide web, in 1997 🙂

And the winner is…. Choice!!

Just before I started penning these words, I stared at the white blank space in front of me. The possibilities are staggering. With my thoughts, my mind and fingers, I have the choice to make any use of it that I like. I can write a poem about the beauty of rains, a story about a little girl and her dog, a hate letter against a country or community, a new manifesto for a better world, conversations with myself, haikus, an article about how to use nail-clippers better, a list of my deepest held goals and desires, a list of things i need to buy in the next one week, names of people who have hurt me, a love letter, a gratitude note to those who have touched me, a work mail, a love song, a swot for my company, a recipe for making littis, a manual on how to get an autorickshaw in bangalore, a litany of accusations against someone I despise, a list of reasons I shouldn’t write anything or nothing at all.

Anything.

The white space invites me to express any part of myself that I choose to bring forth today… right now. The possibilities, the potential, the freedom, the limitlessness, the infiniteness of it is very difficult to miss.

Life is a lot like this, isn’t it?

At any given moment, the next moment and the moment after that stretch before us like a blank sheet of paper. We have absolute freedom, total control, complete power over what we choose to bring forth in those moments. We can choose to write a beautiful story of our life, our destiny. We can choose to write lovingly or write with angst, we can choose to write with our soul or write with our mind. We can choose to admire or envy, we can choose to learn or weep, we can choose to grow or shrink, we can choose to bring forth that which is the best in us – our best version of ourselves or we can carry on – a humdrum existence or even a part of ourselves that is angry – full of hate and venom. We can also tear up the blank sheet of paper. But, we are free. We can be, do, think – anything we want. The only limitations we might apply are those that we have created ourselves.

It’s all about money, honey! Or, is it?

Of course, Money is important.

That is how most perspectives that explore the importance of money in our personal and spiritual growth start off. The tone is apologetic, often a bit guilty. The writers seem to be battling an inner incongruence between their soul’s desire for growth and expression and the harsh reality of insurance premiums and EMIs. It is a painful recognition of the role money plays in our day to day existence versus the heart which knows it matters not at all.

The reality says “I am judged, assessed, measured, accepted, respected, often even loved on the basis of the amounts of money I have.” The heart says “Money doesn’t matter – it is the self that does. There are plenty of unhappy rich people around.”

It is important to explore the role money plays in our lives and make peace with it for once and for all. I hope this article will help you do that.

Of course, money is important.

It is very important to notice where, how and why money is important. I believe money is an enabler in the external world. The key word here is “enabler”. Money is an enabler. It enables us to do things we would otherwise not be able to do. Like “walking” for instance. Walking enables us to get from one place to another. Or “swimming”. Swimming enables us to stay afloat while in water. Money similarly enables us to do things we would not be able to do without it. It enables us to travel to meet our near and dear ones. It enables us to avail of medical facilities to cure our body when we are sick. It enables us to buy nutrition and education. It is a resource.

It is important to distinguish money as an external enabler. It allows us to do things in the external world. Our internal world is different. It is made up of our beliefs, values, attitudes, thoughts etc. Our internal world has absolutely nothing to do with money and this awareness is crucial. Our internal world is the essence of who we are. It is the ever changing, dynamic landscape of our “self” which is shifting, evolving and growing every moment of our lives.

It is when we mix up the role of money and start using it to cater to our internal world that it pollutes and corrupts us. It is when we try and substitute the amount of money we have for being generous or kind or courageous or loving or honest that we have literally “mixed up” priorities.

Self awareness, I-witnessing, Self observation, self discipline, self exploration are the currency of the internal world. Not money. You cannot buy these no matter how much money you have.

The role of ego is using this external enabler to fulfill our soul’s needs is undeniable. Ego – a healthy tool that facilitates the illusion of separation of “me” from everything else can prove to be the single biggest obstacle in our personal quest for growth. The ego, which sees money as an extension of itself – easily confuses money as a substitute for developing personal traits and qualities.

So, let us earn money, spend money, give away money, have fun with money. Let us celebrate money and be grateful for it. Just as we should hop and jump for the gift of walking and be grateful for it.

Let us be kind, generous, courageous, loving, grateful, good, soulful, happy inside – whether we have the kind of money we want or not.

What rules is not bits of paper with pictures of noble deceased on them.
What rules is how you choose to express yourself – everyday.

Am I being the best version of what I can be?
That, my friends – is the question!

I like money, but I would choose self-expression (or self manifestation) over money any day.

Like a film director said in an interview “I make money to make movies, I don’t make movies to make money”

That, I believe is self expression.

Brain, Mind and Me

For more than a decade now, I have been fascinated by the human mind. And the more I have understood, the more baffled I have become.

Simple things – seemingly simple things like perception, decisions, awareness, emotions are such complex events and happen at so many levels (chemical, electrical, macroscopic- physiological, environmental, metaphysical, spiritual…) that with every passing moment, my awe and respect for the web of complexity in which we live has only increased.

While scientists have made some useful connections in terms of details, we are still struggling with some very basic questions –
“What is consciousness?”
“Who is the observer?”

Recently I have been reading a book called “How do brains make up their minds?” by Walter J. Freeman. In spite of the deceptively simple title, the book is a difficult read, but I am persisting and the result has been a rare insight into the workings of the brain (not the mind!).

Learning about the brain is fascinating, because unlike in the case of mind (which is intangible), in the case of brain – you actually have something to work with. The physical mass of gooey matter between our ears we call the brain. The neurons, the hypothalamus, the neuropeptides and the neural network are some of the labels we have given to an absolutely unexplainable miracle happening inside our heads all the time.

Every emotion has a chemical associated with it (called a peptide) and every time you choose to experience an emotion, the chemicals are produced in your hypothalamus. These chemicals are then released into the bloodstream. So, the happiness-chemical or the sadness-chemical literally explodes into your entire body through the blood-stream and finds its way to different cells. It then docks on a cell and then changes the very nature of the cell, sometimes even the nucleus.

We literally, with chemicals – poison ourselves with anger.
We literally, with chemicals – fill ourselves with fulfillment.

Fascinating, isn’t it?

How does this fit in with making real, measurable changes in our lives?

This is a good place to share another distinction I have made. In learning about the brain and creating real change in life (which is what I am committed to).

It is very interesting, it can give you amazing insights – but it is no more necessary to create changes in real life than it is to understand the intricate workings of the internal combustion engine to drive a car or even know how exactly a microprocessor works to use the computer more effectively.

Of course it would help, but it is not necessary.

While studying hardware is good for a deeper understanding and quenching our thirst for knowledge, it is surely more important to know your operating system and how it works.

Which is why for someone like me, who hopes to create effective results in life – better relationships, fulfillment, satisfaction and passion – study of the brain must remain secondary to the study of the mind.

If only it were not so damn fascinating!!