- Education and Science
The Mind Brain and Body Relationship and Our Well Being
Each of us has our own set of personal and unique values
This essay was written after viewing a Doctor John Martini's YouTube lecture. Much of what the good doctor said was taken down by me verbatim. In other parts of the essay I use my own words. This is in order to clarify his meanings to both myself and my readers. Here is how he began.
"Each of us, no matter what our age, colour, culture or sex, each of us has our own set of values. It is a personal set of priorities. . This set of values, or priorities, range from most important down to those of lesser, and then, least important. They are as personal to us as our fingerprints, our body shape, and our voices. They are unique. No two people in the world have exactly the same set of values.
Then: "We filter our reality of the world through our personal sets of values."
We are inspired from within to seek out and fulfil our highest priorities
He then went on to explain": "The Ancient Greeks called our highest values 'The Telos,' which means, 'the end in mind.' That is, our chief aim; our major intention; the thing most important to us. The Greeks made a study of this, calling it Teleology - the study of meaning and purpose.
"From our own perspective, we are inspired from within to seek out and fulfil our highest set of priorities. We require no outside motivation to do this. However, as we go down our list of values to the ones less important to us, we generally require outside motivation to get us to work on any of the aspects of those values we find strenuous, boring, or abhorrent in even the mildest ways.
The lower values are extrinsic. The highest are intrinsic. So when we are living congruently and in alignment with our highest values, we are inspired to do what is most meaningful to us. And when we do this, we have the most feelings of fulfilment."
We will endure equally both pleasure and pain to achieve our highest aims
In the area of our highest values, we will endure both the pleasure and pain of having to achieve our aims equally. We will put up with the hard, difficult side of things with little or no resentment. We will embrace both the pleasure and the pain. But if something is low on our list of values, we will not do it if it is painful. If it is pleasurable, we'll do it, but not if it causes us to really work at it.
Most important: If we go after our highest values, we become Masters of our Destiny. If we go after our lowest values we become Victims of our History. For in the latter case we won't be willing to balance out what is inherent in Life: both ends of the spectrum: pleasure and pain. We will go after the pleasure side of things, try to shun or avoid the pain and thereby bring about an imbalance.
So how does this relate to our Physiology?
With our lower values or priorities we need external motivation
But when we are attempting to do things of lower value - lower importance to our own heartfelt beliefs of what is and is not important - we need to use things to motivate us. Our highest values bring about a natural discipline that will carry us in the direction of those values. We will be willing to discipline ourselves, form the routines and organisation, and have a natural spontaneity - and we will identify with these.
The study of Axiology is the Study of Values. Here we are dealing with a hierarchy of values. This is important because it affects Physiology. As said above, we identify with our highest values. However, we tend to disown our lower ones. We don't like to identify with them. We might even deny we have them.
Most of us are striving for the impossible: a one-sided world
As Doctor Demartini says, "Most people are striving for a one-sided world. They want ease without difficulty. They want a magnet that's one-sided. And they bang their heads against a wall searching for that which is unavailable and not embracing life as it is."
So once again: How does this relate to our physiology?
Well, anything that supports our higher values we tend to look up to; we open up to them. We expand. Anything that challenges our values, we tend to look down upon. We close down. We contract. This affects our thinking which, as we know, always has an emotional component. The emotional aspect of our thinking has a direct effect upon our brain. It actually brings about changes in the physiology of the brain.
Glial cells within our brain respond to our values
In our brain we have specialized nerve cells. We also have glial cells. Glial cells generally outnumber nerve cells. It can go from as low as a one-to-one ratio, to as high as a hundred to one ratio, depending on the glial cell type.
These glial cells respond to our values. These cells are neuro-plastically remodelling the brain all the time. They are literally and constantly destroying and creating our brain. The corollary is that anything that helps us fulfil our higher values, anything we sense or act upon that helps us fulfil them, the glial cells will melinate and bring nutrition, and neuro-genetically build neurons, pruning away anything else to maximise fulfilment of those highest values.
Our brain is continuing remodelling itself
On the other hand, anything that is not succeeding in filling our highest values, both through sensory awareness and motor activities, will automatically de-melinate and literally cause an apostasies and destruction of neurons. Our brain will literally remodel itself because it is an organ designed to help us bring into being our highest values. That is, to have and experience fulfilment.
Our full potential is engendered by living to our highest values
We know, of course, that our brain is the master-controller of our physiology. This means that our brain is responding indirectly through those glial cells to our Value System. It is doing this so we can maximise our full potential. And our full potential is engendered by our living by our highest values.
Anatomical studies show that we have an autonomic nervous system comprising both the sympathetic and the para-sympathetic. These connect to the higher brain stem. This autonomic system overall either supports or challenges our values. Anything that supports our values activates the para-sympathetic side. It operates through the vagus nerve predominately, and the sacral nerves. Anything that challenges our values - creating a flight or fight mechanism - will operate on our sympathetic nervous system.
Our autonomic system requires balance
The para-sympathetic supports, the result being that dopamine, serotonin, endorphins that create a desire for something, a bonding, come into being. The mechanism is geared for pleasure and can create surreal phantasies about these things.
So to press on... even though the explanations are also becoming somewhat 'surreal' to me as the interpreter of this lecture.
Looking at our highest values from the point of view of their support. The para-sympathetic system is mainly a 'night time' system. It helps us with rest and digestion. It is a builder. It is anabolic. It is a mitotic to cells. It effects the white blood cells which, as we know, deals with fighting off infections, helping us to maintain good health.
When spirit, mind and body are congruent good health results naturally
The sympathetic nervous system is a 'day time' system. It deal with the normal events of daytime living such as the challenges we face. It operates our flight-or-fight mechanism.
The challenges to our highest values activate the sympathetic nervous system. It deals with the red blood-cell oxidation. It is a destroyer; it's catabolic, a destructor of cells.
The simpler explanation is if we are living by our highest value we tend to bring both the sympathetic and para-sympathetic into equilibrium. We are now embracing both support and challenge equally. We thereby maintain both our mental and physical health. We're coming from our spiritual, and Mind Body and Spirit are operating harmoniously.
However, if we are living mostly by adhering to our lower values - seeking pleasure and avoiding the pain-side associated with those values - we tend to cause an imbalance (non equilibrium) When we do this, we create symptomatology because each of these sides of physiology create different responses.
Keep focused on your highest values, and you'll be a happier, more fulfilled person
To sum up: The answer to creating and maintaining wellness is therefore abundantly clear: Keep focused on your highest intentions, your highest goals, your highest values. Dwell on these. Live from these. As much as you can - be these. This will result in a happier, fuller and more meaningful life. You'll experience more joy, more love. And good health will simply be the icing on the cake.