Deepening Change, Chapter Four, Cognitive Change
by Melissa Martin 11/24/2011 / Christian Living
Thinking and reflecting on concepts that we've never considered before can be a catalyst for learning and hence, a method of internal change. As we make meaning out of words and ideas, we experience an opportunity to move in other directions. However, modifying traditional or sacred beliefs can be uncomfortable and confusing. Revisiting and altering our value system can be chaotic and bewildering. Deeper change is about examining why you believe what you believe. It's not about changing views for political correctness or popularity. Deeper change involves listening to the diverse opinions of others and validating their right to be different. Step outside of yourself and look at the planet from a distance. You are a slice of a larger pizza. And without your slice the pizza would not be complete. You matter.
Take a closer look at the three pounds of matter between your ears. Dr. Daniel Amen wrote a book called Change Your Brain and Change Your Life. Of course, based on my reasoning, logic, and experiences it's just not that easy due to the complexity of human beings, however I recommend his book. Making changes involve interaction of the brain, the body, and the environment. Our head could not exist without a body and the environment. I am utterly fascinated by the workings of the human brain and I encourage you to read the latest research. Deeper change is about understanding how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors influence each other. Mindfulness is about paying attention to our thoughts and feelings and the thoughts and feelings of others.
What is my take on humanity and the topic of cognitive change? Life is a subjective enigma. That's what I've discovered. Albeit, age and wisdom travel together and in the course of my forty-six years on planet earth, I've constructed and reconstructed my version of truth and reality. As knowledge and experience evolve, so does my perception of meaning-making. As my inner and outer entity expands, I perceive further and farther. I guess what I'm trying to say is I am constantly changing how I think, how I feel, and how I respond. My life script is being written and rewritten as I greet each sunrise and sunset. I chase authenticity, but I'm not sure if I'll ever catch it. Living is a dynamic process full of joy and sorrow, victory and defeat, and other stuff in between. Like Joseph Campbell said, "The purpose of life is in the living."
God created the Human Brain
The awesome God of the universe created the human brain. God who put himself in the person of Jesus understands how human beings think. Jesus, the son of God and the son of man, experienced both a divine brain and a human brain. God put many scriptures in the Bible on how to change human thoughts. One day I sat down with a yellow highlighter and scanned the New Testament. I colored every verse that discussed the mind and thoughts. Next, I wrote each verse on an index card. I meditated daily on these verses. This was long before the Internet. Now, you can go to a search engine and type in "Bible scriptures on the mind and thinking" and print out a copy.
Draw a creative picture of what you think your brain looks like and label the areas.
Describe how thoughts are created and developed.
List strategies to change gloomy thoughts into improved thoughts.
Go to the store and purchase a box of gelatin and make it. This is the consistency of your brain. Squish the gelatin in your hand and try to make a sculpture.
Let's say you have an opportunity to make a human brain in a laboratory. How would you do it? What things would you program into the brain?
Let's say you are given an opportunity to make changes in your brain. What changes would you make? How would you do it? What would the results look like?
Write down 10 negative things you believe about yourself. Write down 10 positive things you believe about yourself. Tear up the first list.
Jot down 5 ways to think happier thoughts. Jot down 5 ways to think unhappy thoughts. Throw the second list away.
Write 3 statements about how to be miserable. Write 3 statements about how to be glad. Throw away the first list.
Write down 3 statements about how God thinks about you.
Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.