If you have not read brain sutra #14, please stop here and read it before reading the text below.
Did you find the gap? And were you surprised by what you found? Were you able to identify habitual patterns of thought regularly sneaking across the gap?
Did you notice that reactions to things, people and events around you occur at an unconscious level? It is really not that anything outside of us produces the reactions but rather it is what is happening in these gaps that is the key. In the gaps are all the potential reactions to externals – when we are not conscious of the reactions they are mechanically driven and the chemicals (neurotransmitters) are released in specific proportions relative to our perception and our translation of externals. There are chemicals released when we allow thoughts of fear, anxiety, depression, worry, and doubt just to name a few. There is of course chemistry for love, compassion, awe, kindness and all the virtues. The brain will create and reinforce pathways too as thoughts and emotions are experienced over and over again. The more we allow a certain thought or emotion to be present the more established the pathway in the brain becomes just as if you learned to play a musical instrument. Brain imaging shows parts of the brain devoted to playing a musical instrument increase in size, connections and activity – it is the same way with thoughts we habitually think.
The so-called placebo effect too is the result of what happens in the gap – when we believe in something, when our mind is thoroughly convinced, the chemistry of the gap responds accordingly, and real measurable results occur. It is not a phenomena, magic or mystery but rather is the measure of how powerful our mind-body connection really is – sages tell us mind and body are not separate but that the body is an extension of the mind.
The Gap is Where Health or Disease Begins
Scientific proof of the power of the gaps chemistry has been well documented in the work of Dr. Fuad Lechin of Caracas, Venezuela. Dr. Lechin discovered that many diseases are the end result of the cellular gaps whose chemistry has gone awry. He researched and developed an approach to some of the most devastating of all illnesses, including severe autoimmune and certain types of cancer. His approach is to first carefully measure the chemical imbalances at the gaps (neurotransmitters, stress chemicals and neuro-hormones) and use this information to design the appropriate adjustments to the gaps chemistry. This is not a blind symptom-based approach but rather uses physiologic data along with psychological indexes including depression profiles and ‘non-coping’ reactive stress patterns. The treatment uses short-term inexpensive common pharmacological substances aimed to bring the gaps back to chemical homeostasis. He has proven his methods over decades of research and thousands of case histories time and time again. Dr. Lechin himself, after being diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, applied this approach and within six weeks of treatment (designed to manipulate the neurotransmitters in the gap) he was free of the illness. His classic text, ‘Neurocircuitry and Neuroautonomic Disorders’, is profound in knowledge and implication. Unfortunately much of his work has been largely ignored outside of Venezuela. This information however, reinforces the immense importance of the gap and what it can mean to intervene at this level. The various practices outlined in these brain sutras can guide us to access our own ‘inner’ pharmacy and direct it accordingly.
As presented in the previous brain sutra (#14), in the gap between our thoughts lies pure potentiality, a connection to the creative source within, prior to any manifestation – this is the silent field of all possibility. This momentary and largely imperceptible pause between our thoughts is like a cars transmission going into neutral before shifting gears. This pause correlates with the bodies pause between communication networks, the chemistry in the gaps between the cells sending and receiving messages. The chemistry will express as *the molecules of emotion* depending on the thoughts that produce the activating or inhibiting messages across the gap. In pause mode the gap is in neutral – the same potential exists here between the cells that exists between our thoughts. If we can learn to recognize these gaps and intervene at these subtle moments we literally have the opportunity to BREAK HABITUAL PATTERNS.
The ‘habitual patterns’ used in this context refers to all the subconscious conditionings that form our ego identity and motivate our actions and reactions. At the core we are unconditioned spiritual being, but as we express through mind and body our thoughts and emotions manifest correlating to our individual chemistry.
Among persons experiencing addiction a common slang phrase is, “I have a bad habit”, meaning they have a significant addiction. The words ‘habit’ and ‘addiction’ used in this way refer to the same thing. This also applies to our own individual chemistry in the sense that not only is the experience of ‘ego identity’ a habit, but also an internal addiction to our own chemistry. In other words we will tend to support those relationships, thoughts, emotions, beliefs and attitudes, whether they are in our best interest or not, as if we are addicted to them. This is because our individual chemistry defines us, supports us and is the sense of who we are. We therefore, strive to maintain the chemistry of our ego identity because without it we have no reference point for this definition of who we are.
Have you ever wondered why a certain attitude, behavior or relationship cannot be overcome even when we clearly know better and we know it is not serving us? Do we tend to just chalk it up to bad karma, past lives or challenging astrological influences!? No, it is simply due to chemistry. When we worry, or when we are fearful or anxious, we have a certain chemistry. When we are in love we have a specific chemistry. When we are angry or depressed we have corresponding chemistry. What we experience as love is in reality the strong internal chemistry we have associated with the person we are ‘in love with’. It is the chemistry and the association with the person that makes us choose them as the object of our ‘love’. A parent ‘bonds’ with their child due to the chemistry of oxytocin (a bonding chemical). When we are repelled by a person or thing, too, this is a chemical reaction driving us. We see this manifest on large cultural scales as well – the perception of ‘that person is different from me’, is chemistry and can go back generations, leading to racism, religious intolerance, even resulting in genocide.
We must be on guard too when we engage with people whose words we accept as authority on any given subject because just as there is the ‘placebo effect’ there is a ‘nocebo effect’ as well. Nocebo is defined as that which creates a harmful effect. Therefore, a negative comment, diagnosis or prediction from a person we view as ‘expert’ can have a deleterious effect on the chemistry of our gaps and produce a harmful effect in itself.
The chemicals composing the average size human body are worth approximately $160.00! – DataGenetics
Does this mean our thoughts and emotions are reduced to being just a menagerie of chemicals and electro-chemical reactions? The answer is, yes. But that is not to take anything away from the joys, romances, wonder and poetry of life, human dynamics, dramas, or anything else of our amazing experience of this world. This dance of the ‘molecules of emotion’ is a dance orchestrated and choreographed by chemistry. However, we do not want to miss the ultimate goal of our human experience – and that is to eventually wake up to our spiritual identity beyond the chemistry. This can be accomplished by applying enlightened information as we understand that we do not have to be at the mercy of the chemistry of our bodies. We can use ‘consciousness technologies’ to first observe what is happening and then secondly, to change the outcome in the gap.
The spiritual path is just as it says: it is a trail where we end up discovering our real identity. We are unconditioned consciousness (spirit) and with this awareness we can learn to work with the mind-body’s chemistry, correct it and dissolve the habits and conditionings.
The tools we have been given are spiritual technologies and are used for this purpose. Throughout these 15 sutras the main points and practices have been delineated. The methods are fairly simple but do require diligent practice, patience and time to see results – results are guaranteed though, some sooner, some later (and some instantaneous).
In summary from the previous brain sutras:
1. Practice being conscious-awake and present.