Q. - Why do you think that people should use 100% of their brain, when various men and women down through the years have stated that it is normal for people to only use 10% or 20% of their brain?
A. - Well, because using 100% of your brain is the more natural state if you want to be happy, healthy and prosperous in the world. Ask yourself - If you were born with 10 fingers, were you only meant to use 1 or 2 fingers all your life? You'd be pretty stressed out if you did. The same thing goes with your brain. If you were born with a complete brain, you were meant to use your complete 100% brain, not just 10% or 20% of it. Otherwise you can expect to be as equally stressed out throughout your life just like if you used only 1 or 2 fingers instead of 10. Besides, do you think that Homo sapiens could have evolved such a large brain unless there was a demand for such a large brain by the species? The whole idea of evolution is that a species only evolves what it needs to adequately survive, right? If you don't believe in evolution and instead believe that God created man, do you think that God would have given man such a large brain, but only wanted him to use a small fraction of it? Not likely, is it?
Q. - Wouldn't using 100% of your brain make you a master?
A. - Does using your 10 fingers make you a master? Take the example of a brick layer, he uses his 10 fingers in a simple way to lay bricks, and then we can look at a magician. The magician uses his 10 fingers in a finely tuned way for sleight of hand. Neither the brick layer nor the magician would think of only using 1 or 2 fingers all their lives. Their jobs would be extremely difficult if they did. The same goes with the brain. You can use 100% of your brain in a simple way like the brick layer or in a finely tuned way like the magician, but at least use your complete 100% brain throughout your life or you can expect your life to be extremely difficult too.
Q. - Why is it that we don't use our complete, 100% brain?
A. - For the same reason, we don't exercise for 15 minutes a day to keep in good physical shape - apathy. We have learned through our social structure to only do what we think we have to do in order to survive. If we can get by with less effort, people will usually use less effort. The strange thing about using less effort is that your life only gets tougher, not easier, but people simply don't realize it. They have accepted the fallacy that using 10% or 20% of their brain is normal. Actually, primitive native populations use more of their brains than civilized city populations.
Q. - Why do you think that primitive native populations use more of their brain?
A. - Australian aborigines are a good example. They live in a harsh and sparse environment by city standards and yet they know how to find food, shelter and have a modicum of social interchange to be happy. They are in harmony with their surroundings. City dwellers could not begin to survive as they do. But of course, city dwellers can read and write and they have many technological wonders that the aborigines do not have. But how has that helped them to be happy and coexist with their fellow man, and how does that make them superior in brain usage? If the city dwellers could explain and demonstrate how each of their technological wonders work or operate, I would say yes, they might be using their brains equally as well, but unfortunately, they usually only know how to turn their contrivances on and off. An aborigine, on the other hand, can tell you when it will rain, what animal passed by a certain location by the scent and track signs that are evident, and also by the configuration of the land - they can tell you where to dig to find water. City dwellers would starve in the same conditions that aborigines thrive. Aborigines have very finely tuned senses, good memories, extremely acute learning capabilities and they don't suffer the deviant, emotional dysfunctions that city dwellers have. All in all, their brains are far more fully functional than most city dwellers.
Q. - How can we tell what brain percentage a person is using?
A. - The human brain is NOT like a test tube, where we can measure the percentage of fullness or the exact percentage of usage. But through the problems a person has, we can see what brain areas over time have been neglected in a person's life and need to be stimulated. In other words, if a person senses begin to diminish, we know the corresponding brain area needs more stimulation to get any particular sense back to its optimal level. If a person's memory begins to fail or his reasoning ability is skewed or his emotional discipline is off, we know the corresponding brain areas need stimulation to get them also back into shape. Unfortunately, people are not accustomed to acknowledging or working on their problem areas when they have them. It simply doesn't dawn on them. They simply accept their problems without thinking they could or should improve their condition, and hence therein lies the dilemma of human functioning - once deterioration begins to reveal itself, there is little effort to reverse the process.
.... Of course, whatever the percentage of usage, we know that most people suffer great brain degeneration in their latter years due to lack of use or misuse in some way. Wild mammals don't have this brain degeneration, only man. Wild mammals use all of their brain tissue, because evolution has created each species with exactly the gray matter it needs to survive and function correctly. Human beings also have all the brain tissue they need to survive with comfort, health and prosperity, but therein lies the problem - they only use a fraction of their brain, so they see their world from the perspective of discomfort, ill health and lack of prosperity.
Q. - Are you saying that if a person used more of his brain, he would see the world in a better light?
A. - Well, if we agree that everything that we do in life has a corresponding area in the brain that governs what we do, say, think or feel, then the little used areas of the brain are where problems develop. For instance, if you do not use one of your senses with acuity or neglect it in some way, the corresponding brain area governing that sense will begin to atrophy or slough away brain cells due to the lack of use. It has been estimated that 100,000 brain cells atrophy or slough away every day of our lives due to this obvious lack of use. Naturally the brain cells that are being used on a regular basis will not atrophy, only the ones not being used. We see this in our older population, where problems often occur with their sight, their hearing, their sense of smell, touch and taste. The brain is not unlike a muscle of your body, in that you have to use it or you begin losing functioning parts of it. Of course, you can also abuse your brain with chemicals and lose brain cells too, which is another way brain areas atrophy or slough away.
.... Short term memory is also another area that begins to shut down due to lack of use. Emotional discipline may also get harder as you fail to practice it throughout your life, and you will find childish displays of anger, fear and even lust in older adults that have not stimulated the cortical areas of the brain governing the higher emotions of unconditional love, compassion, courage and happiness. Creative thinking gets tougher too unless you have daily problems to solve in a creative way. When we talk about stress being bad, we rarely think about what we are saying. If your arm is in a cast and not stressed, the muscles begin to atrophy. When the cast is taken off, you have to stress and exercise the arm to build the muscles back up. The brain is quite similar. When you take the 'cast' off your brain and accept the stress of new problems, it too will grow in response to the stress placed upon it! Without this stress, how can your brain grow any better than a muscle in a cast that is also not stressed? The problem is that people using very little of their brain tissue suffer the most from stressful difficulties in life. If they would just increase the usage of their brain, they would have fewer difficulties in life.
Q. - Is there a relationship between using more of your brain and having better health?
A. - What I find so interesting is that most people don't realize that good health is mainly dependent upon their state of mind. One of the first axioms that a pre-med student learns in medical school is that 40% of all the patients that he will see in the future will only suffer psychosomatic ailments. Now these psychosomatic ailments feel just as real to the patients as actual maladies, but they have been totally created by their own mind. Whatever your mind can create, your mind can take away. The placebo effect is a good example of how sugar pills can heal people when they believe they are medicine. Even cancer and other serious diseases can go into a state of remission when there is a change in the person's attitude about life. How is this possible? Our brain is a remarkable organ and it was given to us to keep us happy and functioning well. Of course, when we only use a fraction of it throughout our lifetimes, we often don't realize its greatest potential of keeping us healthy.
Q. - Can you give us an example of how to increase the usage of your brain?
A. - Just stop coddling yourself! Press the envelope and try harder in everything that you do. Instead of complaining or having someone else do things for you, do as much as possible yourself and figure things out for yourself! In fact, let me enumerate some drills you can do to increase your brain usage.
1) Get used to your body in new ways. Switch your handedness and comb your hair, brush your teeth, stir your coffee or do other simple tasks with your non-dominant hand. Close your eyes and "sense" your way slowly around a room. Get truly conscious of the sounds and smells in the space around you. Also, use your feet to pick up things, flush the toilet or close a door. Read a page in a book held vertically and then upside down!
2) Where normally you would criticize someone, find something to compliment them on instead! Suspend your judgment about that person as well, and view him (her) as simply another human being with different viewpoints than your own.
3) Look in your refrigerator briefly, but thoroughly. Then close the door and enumerate the items contained therein. Do the same with a room of your house, a store front window or a detailed picture on the wall.
4) For 5 minutes every day, put yourself in another person's shoes and view things from another person's perspective for a change and see how it feels. Suspend your judgment about that person as well. Pretend you're an actor and taking on the part of that person in exact demeanor and manner. Feel how it feels!!
5) Whenever you catch yourself worrying, doubting or looking down on yourself, think instead of what you most want out of life in complete detail, and affirm to yourself the achievement of same. Replay this positive inner movie whenever negative thoughts intrude during your day.
6) At the end of every daily hour, review what happened to you during the previous 60 minutes. This is good practice for getting more mindful throughout your day, and should only take seconds to do. At day's end, mentally review all the events that happened to you throughout the day up to your present point. Memory gaps about your day's events reveal unconscious moments.
7) To develop flexibility and adaptability to change in your life, do something different every day. Shop at a different store. Take a different route home. Bake a pie or a loaf of bread. Involve yourself in a new game or sport, like roller skating, bowling, karate or sky diving. Introduce yourself to a new neighbor. Sameness every day is a death knell to your brain. For more complete usage of your brain, diverse stimulation is the key. It also gets you unstuck from habits and ruts that are bringing you unfavorable results.
Q. - Are you suggesting that it is simply a matter of increased brain usage that separates a successfully operating person from an unsuccessfully operating person in life?
A. - Well, naturally there are genetic factors, environmental factors, educational factors, cultural factors and other variables that contribute to shaping a person's operating behavior, but doesn't it still boil down to how well a person uses his brain in the midst of all these factors that separates one person's operating system from another person's operating system to make a person happy?
Q. - Can you explain why you think the higher emotions of unconditional love, compassion, happiness and courage are governed by the upper cortical regions of the brain?
A. - Can you think of anything that you do, say, think or feel that would not activate some area in the brain? Through the brain experiments in the 60's, scientists stimulated with neurological sensors the corresponding areas governing lust, fear, anger and pleasure in the limbic system of the brain. Even though they discovered the centers for these simple basic emotions in the brain, they could never find the brain centers for the higher emotions of unconditional love, compassion, happiness and courage in the brain. After CAT scans, MRI's and EEG readings became more popular in brain research, they began to understand that the higher emotions involved a wider arrangement of brain cells in the cerebral cortex and were not simply relegated to a small area in the limbic system of the brain. But we are still infants in our understanding of all the intricacies of the brain's operation and how it corresponds to what we do in life, so maybe the research of the next 100 years will clarify precisely how these higher emotions are generated within the brain.
Q. - So how can we stimulate the brain areas for the higher emotions of unconditional love, compassion, courage and happiness that you mention?
A. - Through practice and emotional exercise. It took a lot of emotional practice to get to wherever you are right now, and it will take a lot more practice to get anywhere else you want to go emotionally. It is my contention that using our higher emotions is our more natural state, and it goes hand in hand with using our complete 100% brain as a more natural state as well.
Q. - So how do we practice? What exercises will allow us to experience these higher emotions?
A. - I have many such exercises in 'The 100% Brain Course', but you can experiment and look to the examples around you where people have already mastered these higher emotions. Seek out wise and emotionally stable men and women, and study their behavior. Try to do and feel like they do. Read the Bible and other great works that exemplify these higher emotions and learn from the depicted examples in the past. Review your own life and remember your past experiences where you or someone close to you exemplified these higher emotions and replay the feelings in your mind. Then go out and recreate those same outward expressions of yourself to reclaim those same feelings again. The more you mindfully practice, the better you will get at it.
Q. - Isn't the act of generating higher emotions more difficult than that?
A. - Well, first you have to want to generate love, compassion, courage and happiness. Everything begins with a thought and proceeds from there. If you think it will be hard, how can you expect it to be easy? If you think it will be easy, it certainly will not be felt as hard. In other words, how can you do anything when you say you can't do it? It only makes sense to program yourself in a positive way to get a more favorable response, right? It's just the choice of your state of mind that makes all the difference in the world.
Q. - How would you define love?
A. - People use the word love so loosely in America and frequently confuse it with lust. Of course, we try to soften the idea of lust with the better emotion of love in our books and movies, but usually we don't have a clue as to what love is throughout our lives. Lust is a simple, basic emotion that can be stimulated in the limbic region of the brain by a simple neurological sensor. Love on the other hand, is a more complicated network of brain cells in the cerebral cortex that CANNOT be found with a little sensor device. Love is the finer emotion that Jesus expressed, and that many people find great difficulty in understanding how to experience. To understand pure unconditional love, you must go far beyond lust and apprehend the emotion of love in an unconditional way, without the thought of any return of your love. Love in this way is honest, helpful, gentle, kind and non-attached, without strings. It's a love towards people that allows them to be who they are. To most people that kind of love is idealistic and not very realistic to them, but then of course, they are only understanding love at their own level of development.
Q. - How would you define happiness?
A. - Although some people refer to happiness as relating to a single or a series of pleasurable sensations, I prefer to broaden the definition somewhat. I refer to happiness as a feeling of well-being, peace, comfort, prosperity, contentment, satisfaction, fulfillment, enjoyment and seeing the beauty around you. When you feel happiness in this way, you look at everyone as beautiful, complete beings, regardless of how they look at themselves or the rest of the world.
Q. - Why should people listen to you?
A. - People should only listen to those people that make sense to them. If a garbage collector or a professor doesn't make sense to them, people won't listen to them. If they do make sense to them, then they will listen to them, just as they will listen to me if I make sense to them.
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