Hard-wired to believe – our brains are a belief engine
Often when working with clients, I come up against forces and walls of energy that prevent growth.
I know they are blocking the client from increased wellness or from moving forward on their personal development journey, even if the reasons cannot always be explained or identified by the client.
Beliefs can be a powerful invisible force, either helping or hindering the holder and can quite often be outside of our conscious awareness.
So how do beliefs become created in our brain?
Dr. Michael Shermer, the founding publisher at Skeptic Magazine, spent 30 years compiling information about the nature of belief and wrote an in-depth book about it expounding his theories, called The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies—How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths.
Quote: We form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, personal, emotional, and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large; after forming our beliefs we then defend, justify, and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments, and rational explanations. Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.
Dr. Shermer goes so far as to say from his research, he sees the brain as a ‘belief engine’, processing data into patterns to make sense of them and then adding emotionality through meaning and intention.
After that, Dr. Shermer says that our brains reinforce our beliefs with looped processes, a kind of belief confirmation, which helps us to embed the belief data more deeply into our systems.
From his theory, since we are essentially a bystander in this process of belief generation, it’s almost a given that we will simply believe certain things which are presented to us if we have a functioning brain. So if we hard-wired to believe, what can we do?
When beliefs on the inside don’t match what is happening outside
At some point on our journey, our belief-making brains bump up against something on the outside that just doesn’t match with what is going on inside.
When this happens, an essential dissonance occurs.
We may ignore the new data and stick happily or stubbornly with our programmed beliefs. After all, we may have way too much of our lives invested in the belief in question and our body-minds are just too overwhelmed with the thought of change to adopt anything new.
Or, we may become aware of the dissonance, study the new data and shift our systems into a new belief, reforming and changing the old one immediately (an epiphany!) or changed associated actions and connections related to the belief over time.
We may even shift to the next level of awareness as a result of this happening, and understand that we have belief ‘systems’ that may change and grow over time as we evolve.
Richard Bandler, one of the founders of NLP™ (Neuro-linguistic programming) sums up the essential dissonance this way
The map is not the territory.
How can we work with our ‘hard-wired to believe’ nature when some beliefs may not serve us?
Having spent the last 20 years studying EP (Energy Psychology) I have experienced working with beliefs that no longer serve me, and have succeeded in clearing some of them from my system in order to allow in new thoughts, ideas, and paradigms which are better for my health and well-being.
As it is for all of us, it’s a work in progress.
As human consciousness evolves, we are beginning to realize that we are not just mechanistic bodies with brains, nervous systems, and organs, but that consciousness itself can be used as a force for good to help us to heal and improve our lot on this Blue Planet.
Or — you can choose not to believe that!
Energy Psychology (EP) and our beliefs
Within the field of Energy Psychology and alternative health and wellness, belief-busting new tools are growing in use.
Often they work and create great results, even if our current commonly held beliefs about how they function are not fully-formed as yet!
One excellent example —
EFT – The Emotional Freedom Technique™, also known as ‘tapping’, which is gaining ground for assistance with trauma release and old beliefs or experiences which no longer serve us
Research…demonstrates that EFT is effective for many physical symptoms. In an RCT of veterans with PTSD, their levels of physical pain dropped by 41% in six sessions. A researcher at Sweden’s Lund University developed an eight-week online course applying EFT in fibromyalgia. She found significant improvement in pain, anxiety and depression among fibromyalgia patients. A third of the participants recovered completely. Note that the Mayo Clinic website states “there is no cure” for this disease. Dawson Church, PhD.,
My point here is this — if people are using a new system now that gets such results, and it may work for someone with PTSD or chronic illness as shown above, can we afford NOT to shift our hard-wired brains and begin to believe something new?
Going meta into the realm of ideas to help us shift old beliefs, make new ones
Going meta, (original Greek meaning – beyond, after, or behind) is a term that gives me the body feeling of rising above the tangled history of humans who up until now, have not been that conscious about being hard-wired to believe.
In my experience, a shift in our state of mind is sometimes the easiest way to look at those pesky old beliefs from a new angle, and question them from there.
In the last 100 years, we have shifted from ‘believing’ that bumps on our skull related to our personality types, to thinking that the brain rules everything about us as humans, to touching the edge of quantum physics and the theory of entanglement.
No wonder sometimes it’s just more comfortable to hold on to what we ‘know’.
As Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet and Akashic Records Reader once said
“Mind is indeed the Builder . . . what is held in the act of mental vision becomes a reality in the material experience. We are gradually builded to that image created within our own mental being.”
I like to believe that with the advent of Energy psychology, we will create new and amazing beliefs that take humanity onwards into the future in new ways.
I hope that the human consciousness movement continues to grow so that being hard-wired to believe through our brain functions becomes a tool, not the structure of who we are, or who we can become.