It’s hard to turn off our thoughts, don’t you think?

And since we can’t truly turn them off, why not think thoughts that make us more relaxed, content, productive… and… thoughtful.

While I’m traipsing the backroads of the Irish Isles, I turn once again to a forever friend and guest blogger.

Who better to turn to than my “retired” Physician Associate and deep thinker buddy Jim Ferguson. Jim is one of those rare people who can rationally combine his religious, philosophical, and scientific thoughts and not get himself tied up like a pretzel. While you think about this.. let me say…

Over to you James

Well…yours truly has once again been invited to share a few thoughts and to cast them out into the MOTF blog-o-sphere for your consideration.

As I was pondering on a topic to write about, I found myself going down a deep rabbit hole on the topic of thinking!

Yup…I was thinking about THINKING!

I know… I know… you are probably thinking,

1. How did Larry ever hook up with this nut job, and

2. This guy definitely needs a hobby.

The answer to the 1st question is a long story and probably worthy of a blog post in and of its own right (and one that could lead to jail time for both Sir Lawrence and myself…😊).

To address the second point-given my ADHD nature, I’ve got more than enough hobbies to keep me going for the foreseeable future.

Sooooo… back to this concept of thinking about thinking.

It sounds like an episode from Seinfeld…right? The show all about nothing!

Well…let me tell you that there is a lot of thinking going on about thinking (and the nature of consciousness which is a blog topic in its own right) and there are many neurobiologists out there who are sharing their wisdom on the topic. 

One such expert in the field is Joe Dispenza. Go look him up on-line. You will find lots of references to explore.

Joe has become one of the “gurus du jour” in the field and my impression is that he has now become more well known as a “celebrity” than he is as a hard-core scientist. This seems to be the case for so many who venture into the arena of being an expert in a specific area plus being a public figure.

They become a celebrity. One could argue that this is the case for people like Deepak Chopra, Dr. Andrew Weil (my mentor), Dr. Oz, Dr. Fauci (he of COVID-19 fame), Willard Scott (RIP), and the list goes on.

Back to the theme lest I get too distracted.

I actually have listened to Joe Dispenza lecturing on neurobiology topics including the topic of thinking and he has some fascinating things to share on that theme. I would never accuse him of “selling out” to the celebrity juggernaut as I find his talks both stimulating and grounded in solid science. Maybe he has found a happy medium between his science and celebrity. 

Dispenza states that the average human thinks anywhere from 40,000-70,000 thoughts per day.

Were you aware of this? I was blown away by that number when I first heard him say this during one of his talks a few years back.

If the average person thinks that many thoughts, what about me and my ADHD mind? Geesh…that must mean that I am upwards of close to 80,000+ thoughts per day. I am always thinking things, pondering, considering, reflecting upon things! It is challenging to slow my mind down on a good day! 

I found that stat to be truly astounding BUT what I found even MORE astounding (and alarming at the same time) was this next stat. You might want to sit down for this one!

Dispenza says that of those 40,000-70,000 thoughts you think on a daily basis, 80-90% of those thoughts are the SAME THOUGHTS that you thought yesterday and the day before that and so on!

Joe Dispenza

In other words, the thoughts we think today are merely repetition of thoughts we have had for days, months, years previous. Think about it and see if this is true for you. I did a study on myself and found that his statement was pretty accurate!

This has profound implications for those who find themselves “stuck in a rut”, “bogged down”, “who can’t seem to get out of their own way”, “who are constantly sad, depressed, anxious”, “who have that nagging monkey mind that never stops”, etc.

We know from solid science since the mid-1970s that the cells of the brain renew themselves. For decades before that time, it was understood that once humans reached five years old, we stopped producing new brain cells and stopped forming new neural connections. Not so!

The work of neuroscientist Candace Pert and her colleagues discovered that the brain continues to produce new brain cells (neurons) throughout the life span. The science on this theme has exploded exponentially during the past two decades. We now understand the brain to have the property of “neuroplasticity” i.e. it can produce new neurons and can rewire synapses throughout our lifetime.

Sooo…. the brain has neuroplasticity. Check.

Now back to the thinking part of this discussion.

Dispenza and others argue that if we want to get out of our own way, out of the ruts we find ourselves in, to address depression and anxiety, monkey mind, etc. we need to give serious attention to how we think!

We all have different habits of thinking. One size does not fit all in this case.

Some are deep thinkers while others maybe not so much. Some are easily distracted while others are not. If we find ourselves waking every day to the same mental and emotional stress in our lives, could one of the keys be to think deeply on our thinking patterns and to direct our energies towards changing these patterns. This makes perfect sense!

A quote from the Baha’i writings states, “The reality of man is his thought…”

This makes perfect sense and is on target with Dispenza’s thinking.

Whatever we think tends to manifest itself in what we then believe and then what we believe becomes our reality manifesting itself in our actions. The key according to Dispenza and others in his field is to change our thinking which then rewires the synapses (connections) between the neurons in the brain and then the result is new behaviours. Change our thinking=change our actions! 

Sooo…. how do we go about this process?

Dispenza recommended that we practice meditation. During meditation we can practice thinking about our thinking and then adapt so we are then thinking new thoughts and avoiding going down those old thought pathways over and over again. To be proactive and develop new thinking patterns.

Other mind-body practices (Tai-Chi, Qi gong, Guided Imagery, Autogenics, Hypnosis, etc.) would also meet this need for developing new thought patterns. I have practiced meditation and I have found it to have profound effects on my thinking patterns. 

Bottom Line: if we want to change the way we think, we need to first think about how we think (and we are all different based on our own individuality) and then implement new practices that allow us to develop and reinforce new thought patterns that will then manifest themselves in our outward actions.

If we do this, it results in rewiring of neural synapses in the brain which can lead to (as Candace Pert said decades ago) recreating ourselves on a daily basis.

This may seem simplistic yet it makes so much sense and people have been utilizing these simple mind-body practices for thousands of years with excellent results.

Peace,

Jim