Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.
By Douglas Bingley
Among other things, grace is the ability to choose with freedom. Of all the expressions of life evolving on our beautiful earth, Man is the only species truly to hold the gift and capacity of free choice. Robins cannot return to their nests and say, we built a robin nest last year, let’s build a bluebird model this year, yet we as humans can decide many things about our lives and can freely influence creating our lives as we wish. We as humanity have choice, for we are not driven by instinct alone. Transcendent to other forms of life the most advanced parts of our brains give us this greater potential of choice.
Dr. Paul D. MacLean with the National Institute of Mental Health, in the late 20th century, introduced pioneering data that suggested we have a Triune Brain, made up of a Reptilian complex (fight/flight, fear-based), then sequentially developed and added, the Mammalian complex (limbic system), then the NeoMammalian (reason, thought and language). All three of these are survival-based and motivated. Each new evolving brain development is layered over the previous brain structure. Yet each brain area maintains its peculiar type of intelligence, and seeks to influence our actions.
Later Dr. MacLean determined that a fourth layer of brain born of even more recent development, overlaid the triune brain. This new area, the Pre-Frontal Cortex or PFC, is interlaced with the older lower brain in a way that appears to give it the potential to become the master control and integration center of our brains.
This area appears to have important connections to our emotions and hearts. In most of us this new brain area is latent largely untapped potential. Why? Because the fear-based lower brain centers responsible for our survival are still reacting to every stress of modern existence, even though most of those stressors are not life-threatening.
Yet this newly-evolved PFC brain area gives humanity incredible potential to take these lives to new heights, to make integral coherent choices, and to be creative at the highest levels. Latest research points to this PFC as the area of higher emotions, love, spiritual connection, and as the seat of areas that can empower us to make real forward moving changes in our lives.
Our ability to choose new paths, generate creative expressions, embark on new adventures and pursuits, and choose to experience more joy and purpose in life may exponentially surge ahead by awakening more of this highest, most developed, yet underutilized, latest-to-evolve part of our amazing brains.
Ongoing research shows the PFC may be the seat of our sweetest emotions and ambitions and even hold the keys to more vibrant enlightened states. This may be the area of our brains through which we find the greatest meaning beyond survival, and greatest vitality of body and soul, and yet it is largely untapped potential. This newest layer of the brain, may be where humanity’s highest future potential and greatest freedom may lie, both individually and collectively.
Yet sometimes we have felt as though we are held back from becoming and expressing our most authentic best selves and creating the life of our dreams by thoughts and emotions of doubt, fear and limitation. This may be because the still more dominant, earlier to develop, and more primitive layers in our brains, were hardwired to keep us safe largely through sameness of action, or through primitive flight/fight response even when taking a new path may lead us to new greatness and joy in life.
Our greatest potential then for rewarding meaningful accomplishment and joy in life with maximum creativity may come through maturing, developing and encouraging the awakening of this PFC.
Research suggests one of the ways to awaken the dormant potential gift increased PFC activity can bring into our lives is through techniques that stimulate this part of our brains such as meditation. Richard J. Davidson, PhD, a renowned neuroscientist has well-documented the positive impacts of meditation on certain areas of the brain.
Another very recent and scientifically-documented method of Awakening the PFC is a personal development program called Higher Brain Living. It engages the higher brain, activates the latent potential residing there, and maps this new potential more fully into our daily lives through application of a protocol that inspires the PFC to become more engaged. It is received though 45 minute sessions delivered by facilitators.
The founder of Higher Brain Living, Dr. Michael Cotton describes how this works. “HBL takes advantage of the subtle energy pathways in the body – known by many ancient and current cultures as chi, prana, or kundalini…HBL mobilizes this dormant energy, directing it to the higher brain. This increases the metabolism of the higher brain and wakes up its potential…”
Regardless of how it is accomplished, awakening the Higher Brain helps set the very best in us and humanity free of the limitations of our more primitive fight or flight, older and lower brain centers. This may bring us into lives filled with more freedom, choice, passion, power, joy, and commitment.
Douglas Bingley can be reached at 503.308.8283 or Doug@