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Sep 16 / Chuck Smith, Jr.


Summary of Rewriting the Brain’s Owner’s Manual

How the brain’s Owner’s Manual is written through a lifetime:
“Neurons that fire together, wire together”
Habits are a person’s history imprinted on the brain and nervous system

The three main sections of the Owner’s Manual
The brain’s outer layer or cortex
sensory (bodily sensations) and motor (bodily movements)
the rational brain (in the frontal lobe, above the eyes–“prefrontal cortex”)
reason, analysis, planning, discretion
The brain’s internal areas
short term and long term memory storage
the emotional brain (limbic system)
romance, fear, anger, disgust, joy, etcetera
The brain stem (area that connects the brain to the spinal chord)
communication center for brain and body
the involuntary brain – regulates many of the body’s systems
toggles between a resting state and a fight or flight state
In emergencies, the brain stem activates the body and parts of the brain
– this happens a split second before a message reaches the rational brain
– some events are imprinted on the limbic system and the body’s nervous system without being recorded in explicit (working) memory
Many automatic, negative, and habitual thoughts are unconscious
– we are unaware of how they were written in our Owner’s Manual
– we need to know what’s written there if we’re going to rewrite it

We are caught up in our thoughts and feelings as if they were reality
“I am not my thoughts. I am not my feelings”
We are not aware of our unconscious automatic thoughts and feelings
we merely think our thoughts and feel our emotions without choosing them
We are addicted (by our brain chemistry) to certain thoughts and feelings
we have developed a dependency on them to help us cope
we continue to have them because they feel “natural”

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to change–even to old age
Epigenetics tells us that genes do not determine all aspects of personality
– some genes are not predetermination, but a predisposition
– those genes can be turned on and off
We can rewrite our brains’ Owner and Operations Manual

Ways to Rewrite the Brain

The key to changing how the brain processes information–that is, our core beliefs, perspective, responses and reactions, attitude, moods, and so on–is focused attention. Through focused attention we cultivate the awareness necessary to observe what our brain is doing (and telling us) and then to reshape its neural connections.

– bringing the “whole self” to God in silence, calming our soul (Ps. 131:2)
(the body as well as the mind, heart, and soul)
– trusting God has real value in reducing stress and anxiety
– affirming the new self we will be tomorrow by thanking God today

Being – aware of our “here and now” experience
◦ enter your body, “What am I feeling right now?”
◦ enter your mind, “What am I thinking right now?”
◦ enter your emotions, “What is my mood right now?”

Experiencing (all our senses)
Seeing – Hearing – Touching – Tasting – Smelling
– feeling the inside of the body as well as the outside
– discover bad habit “triggers” and catch them in the act

Savoring – positive experiences
– when something pleasant happens, hold on to it
– allow it to sink in so the brain can memorize the feeling of it

Doing – reinforce new neural circuits by acting on your new thoughts
– the brain needs new challenges to continue developing
– be at peace with being a beginner; clumsy at first

Integrating – create a total experience
– combine thought, emotion, physical sensations, and movement

Longing – be passionate about the changes you want to make
– be specific about your practice: Where? When? How?

Repeating – repetition is how we formed our current neural circuits
– practice focused attention
• the more we use those new synapses, stronger the connection
• this is what strengthens our new mental and emotional habits

Notes and handouts for each message in this series can be found on our blog site:

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