Neuroscience is bearing out what mystics and metaphysicians have known for a while: When you change your thinking, you change your life. The brain undergoes physical changes when you learn something new. Whether you physically play a piano exercise, or you practice it mentally in your head, neuroimaging shows the same changes in the brain. Therefore, if you desire to change how you show up in the world– be more confident, respond more lovingly, be more disciplined– mental rehearsal will shift you just as much as actually practicing it in your daily interactions.
When you use your brain in a new way with a new behavior or a new thought pattern, you forge a new neural pathway. And when you stop an old behavior or thought patterh the old neural pathway stops “firing.” But both processes take time. Neural pathways are forged in much the same way a path is worn in a field of grass. If you walk through it only once, the grass will grow over quickly, and it will soon be as if you were never there. But if you walk the same route ten times a day for years, eventually you will wear a path that will take years to grow over once you stop using it. See this video on how one man learned something new (forged new neural pathways) and forgot an old one (let his neural pathways “grow over.”)
A teacher once told me there are no hard questions, just questions you know the answer to and questions you don’t know the answer to. Something is hard (like riding the modified bike in the video) when we are unskilled, unpracticed and unlearned. But it only takes a single moment– we say something has “clicked”– for the learning to take hold and what was hard is now easy and natural. The same is true for spiritual learning as for academic learning and physical learning.
Spirituality and science cannot be in conflict with one another, and it’s exciting to see a scientist like Joe Dispenza sharing his knowlege in the mainstream with books like Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. But, there’s still a chasm between science and spirituality. Much of what we know spiritually comes through revelation and experience. For example, while we can see the change in an idividual mind by using fMRI, we cannot yet image Universal Mind; we can only observe and experience how it works.
If we accept the manifest Universe is the body of God, then when we as individiuals change our minds, we must have affected a change on not only our minds, but Universal Mind as well. What if when learning “clicks” in our minds, something “clicks” in the Universe and there is a shift in not only how we show up, but how the world shows up both for us and for others. The implication is huge! The New Thought mantra “Change your thinking, change your life,” becomes, “Change your thinking, change the world.”