In the March 2017 Happy Notes, I shared the findings of Daniel J. Siegel, pioneer in the field called interpersonal neurobiology, highlights the role of interpersonal experiences in forging key connections in the brain (The Developing Mind), saying that “The human mind is a relational and embodied process that regulates the flow of energy and information.”
His research has confirmed what parents have always known, namely, that the company you keep matters. Why? Well, when two people are directing their attention on trying to understand something, each person’s neurons will fire, giving off energy waves. These waves come together (referred to as “neuro-activation) they very often either start synchronizing – i.e. the one follows the others’ rhythm- and then start firing sympathetically, or they start creating a whole new new rhythm and fire sympathetically. Since “neurons that fire together, wire together” this means that our interpersonal experience directly affects how we think and perceive. This can be even more powerful when working in a group. Group participants’ neurons most often start firing sympathetically and a powerful ‘field phenomenon” is created. This allows everyone to be supported in coming to a shared understanding or perceptive (something we always experience in the Spoon Bending workshops...)
The brain continues to develop way past childhood and is actually always receptive and available. Imagine that your brain is like a piece of wet clay. Whom you spend time with leaves an impression. And so does your attention. Siegel says, “One of the key practical lessons of modern neuroscience is that the power to direct our attention has within it the power to shape our brain’s firing patterns, as well as the power to shape the architecture of the brain itself.” It is therefore very important what you focus on and with whom. And the good news is that this is our choice.
- Deepak Chopra highlights that “you can rewire your brain for higher consciousness by focusing on love”.
- As Johann Wolfgang Goethe said, “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.”
- This also emphasizes the importance of being the change you want to see in the world (Gandhi) because your neurons are creating waves in the world which are contributing to the shaping of the world.
Knowing this, I am more aware of my responsibility to live intentionally and mindfully.
What kind of world do you want to create?