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How Does Your Brain Work?




Excerpted from
The 7 Systems of Balance: A Natural Prescription for Healthy Living in a Hectic World
By Paul J. Sorgi, M.D

People are born resourceful and they become skillful and "thoughtful" when they genuinely care about what they are doing. One begins to understand the origins-and learns to appreciate the interdependence-of human skill, intelligence, and vitality by looking at the details, one piece and one person at a time. - Frank R. Wilson, The Hand

What Happens When You Are Out of Balance?

There is no need to retreat from modern life; you do not have to live the simple life of our prehistoric ancestors. But to live a life filled with the possibilities and passion of today, you must do so with balance. That is our modern dilemma. Life these days just does not work harmoniously with our ancient brains. Life these days-as we live with all of the technologic advances that have freed us from the burdens of the past-filled with problems of balance.


Many of the life problems that trouble you are caused by balance problems. Many of your physical aches and pains are caused by balance problems. Many of your emotional concerns-the hurts and dissatisfaction that you try to shrug off and ignore-are caused by balance problems. Many of the problems and issues that you accept as part of life today, problems and issues that rob you of happiness, are a result of balance problems. When you know what to look for, you can see it everywhere: in yourself, in those you love, in your friends and in your neighbors.

But when your life is in balance, when you are functioning with a natural balance, then you feel well. A balanced life produces a sense of well-being. A balanced life allows you to feel happy, secure and satisfied. A balanced life allows you to feel rested and relaxed. A balanced life is a comfortable life with people you care about and who care about you. A balanced life feels healthy, and it is healthy. Researchers have shown that living in balance leads to a longer, healthier life.

When you are living out of balance, life just won't feel right-balance problems in your life can interfere with the natural, balanced functioning of your brain. All of the energy and excitement of modern life, has a way of getting right to the older parts of your brain, turning them on, triggering instinctive energy that leaves you feeling stressed, nervous and out of balance. You see, in the way that your brain is wired, these older parts of your brain, the lower centers of your brain, all take care of your physical needs. This part of the brain is dedicated to your survival. Naturally enough, since survival is the issue, your brain was created so that these circuits are the fastest, strongest, most automatic circuits in your nervous system. It is nature's way of trying to guarantee your survival. Your brain is wired to react to the facts of life for prehistoric man; any sign of balance problems in life is interpreted by your brain as a sign of danger.

The brain equation for the older, instinctive, lower centers of your brain is quite different than the equation for your complete brain in balance. You may recall the equation for your brain in balance is

Energy + Thought = Purposeful Action

For the older part of your brain, the equation is quicker, faster, a more direct route to survival based action. It is:

Energy = Protective Action

In the scenario that the older part of your brain understands, there is no conscious and rational thought channeling mental energy into purposeful action. The older part of your brain senses and reacts with energy, not to establish balance, but instead to protect you from danger.

If you keep this scenario in mind, it becomes easier to understand and interpret the distress you may feel when your life is not in balance. Modern life is filled with constant change, constant stimulation coming at you with a frequency and intensity that is guaranteed to excite the instinctive energies of the older, lower parts of your brain. Your ancient brain reacts as it must, with an automatic outpouring of energy. Your brain reacts to modern life as though your village was about to be flattened by a tornado or attacked by a marauding band of hostile strangers. You become energized, alarmed and ready for danger. So, you spend much of your time out of balance, in a state of mind where your brain is alerting you to danger-even when there is none. You may be primed and ready to look for trouble, to react as if survival were an issue, when it is not. In fact, the opposite is true. And despite the always-present realities of crime and war-inherent in any society-this is the safest, healthiest, most secure time in history. What a paradox!

The trouble is that when the excitement, the challenge, the newness of modern life causes you to be out of balance, to live in survival mode, the result can feel terrible. In our prehistoric village, if you felt out of balance, it was time to take action, to do something to set matters right. In modern life, if you feel out of balance, there is nothing to set right! There is no danger lurking at the edge of your village; there is no threat to your survival for you to focus on. Modern life can cause you to feel wound up, nervous, looking for danger, with too much instinctive energy pouring out from the older parts of your brain. You can end up living this way for extended periods of time, which can cause problems. Month after month, year after year, living out of balance and in survival mode overtaxes your system and you burn out.



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