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How Does The Brain Try To Protect Us, And Does It Work?

Updated on February 25, 2011

The human brain is a truly marvellous machine. It organises a mind-boggling 400 billion separate pieces of data every second. It is simultaneously trying to regulate regeneration, breath, motion, thought, immunity, temperature, hormones and chemical responses and a wealth of other processes that enable us to live from moment to moment.

Do we have to order the brain to undertake such tasks to keep us alive? No. The human brain is designed for the purposes of survival and most of the time, the brain functions efficiently without our noticing.

It lets us know when we are freezing, starving or exhausted. We normally react to the messages it sends us – we clothe ourselves, feed ourselves and do whatever is necessary to keep the body stabilised. If we don’t tune into our bodies, we fall sick, get anxious, over-tired and miserable.

With such an astounding piece of equipment at our disposal, why do some people seem discontented, unsatisfied and exhausted all the time? We have 2,000 thoughts a day of which we are aware but subconsciously we have 60,000 thoughts a day. This suggests that the majority of what we do is unconscious and uncontrollable.

From birth up to about 4 years old, the human brain behaves like a super absorbent sponge, taking up as much as it can hold from its surroundings. This is a hardy strategy for survival because at this age, we rely completely on the adults around us to provide for us. This is also the age when we begin to develop our own personalities separate from our parents. If you experienced neglect, abuse, anger, sadness or love or joy, it is at this age the brain decides what is “normal” and spends the rest of your life living up to that ideal.

With the best will in the world even the most generous, adoring and wisest parents cannot hope to provide all that their children require. Accepting that you cannot always have it your way is a vital part of learning to share and compromise. Life will be so much easier if learn these lessons while you are young. If nobody fed you or comforted you when you cried, the likelihood is that you will grow up believing that your needs will not be fulfilled by other people. There are various reasons why parents may not be able to care for their young properly – illness, work, stretched resources, other children etc. This is just an instance of how people come to believe the things that they do.

If we follow the natural progression of this through childhood and puberty into the life of young boy, this will result in his thinking that nobody will come even if he cries as loudly as he can. It is very likely that he will find people untrustworthy making it very difficult to drop his guard. He will not believe that he deserves loving and fulfilling relationships because he is labouring under the belief that he is going to be disappointed.

Sadly, his subconscious is in charge, leading him attempt associations with people who will not give him what he requires. This happens because he is always trying to reach for what he knows to be “normal”. The subconscious hates new ways of doing things and keeps seeking the familiar situation again and again.

This can be clearly evident in the choice of partner we make. We vow to not make the same mistakes and immediately choose someone who on surface seems completely different but eventually turns out to be exactly the same. To onlookers, the woman who regularly chooses to be with raging alcoholics repetitively, is a bit of a sad case. To her, another raging alcoholic will look perfect because she is subconsciously seeking reassurance and security in what is familiar even if “normal” is clearly not good for her.

Are they aware of their actions? Do they know why they pick such people? Of course not. Their thinking processes are so hardwired to this kind of situation. What is your thinking? Do you take care to spend time with people who encourage and support you, defer to your needs and love you despite your imperfections? Or is yours a tale of people who put you down, judge you, who are angry and despondent? Take a look at your past relationships and try to see if there are any patterns. This could be the start of the path to enlightenment.

Because your subconscious mind is always trying to go back to what is familiar to you, your conscious mind simply organises the subconscious minds thoughts the best way it knows how. This is why things will never change for some people no matter how much they try to transform their thinking. Find a comfortable way to think through your personal philosophies to find out which ones run your life. Work through them to the other side where you can live the life you want to live.

The birthright of every person is to be free of spirit but if the subconscious doesn’t embrace change, it will feel uncomfortable with the notion. It will need steady encouragement over a long period to see that “normal” can be lived in a much happier way.

Written by Caroline Nettle.

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    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 7 years ago from Isle of Man

      A very well written hub with a clever message for us to wake up and live in the now. Thank you.

    • Spiritual Growth profile image

      Spiritual Growth 7 years ago from Bristol, England

      Thank you Fossillady for your kind words. I waited until my 40's but got there in the end! Glad you found your path! Love and blessings, Caroline xxx

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 7 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Well written and gets to the heart of the human condition! I finally recognize when I was in my 30's, that I kept going for emotionally unavailable men in my life. I went into a deep depression and finally sought therapy from two avant garde therapists who were a married couple. Well, it started my journey into self awareness and changed my life for the better. I'm a true believer. They made me look for the internal dialogues from my childhood that were holding me back. It was freeing and I'm better off for it! Thanks for the insight, you help a lot of people!

    • Spiritual Growth profile image

      Spiritual Growth 7 years ago from Bristol, England

      I agree Feline Prophet! It is amazing to be alive isn't it? Love and blessings!

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 7 years ago

      Very interesting. The human body and mind are just two more miracles in a world full of miracles! Few of us actually stop to marvel at the way they work...and at the force that created them! :)