The Three Brains – Part 1
Original Air Date: December 10, 2019
Blog Talk Radio Link: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/livingadream/2019/12/11/the-three-brains
Complete text of episode 26 of the Living a Dream podcast series:
Episode 26 The Three Brains – Part 1
Welcome to the twenty-sixth episode of the Living a Dream: A Transformational Journey podcast. My name is Jo Calk. I am a Life Awareness Coach, Reiki Master, author, and speaker. Today’s episode is “The Three Brains.”
First, I want to share my Life Purpose Statement:
“The purpose of my life is to be present, joyful, and compassionate, and to share my joy, make a difference, and be a role model to others that, by changing some of our internal beliefs and judgments, we can make a difference in the world.”
My Ultimate Goal is the global enlightenment and peace on our Earth, our physical reality, through our awakening, awareness, and action in transforming our beliefs about each other and the Earth.
I am not alone in having this Goal of “Peace on Earth,” but my approach is a bit different: I am enlightening the Earth from within.
During this podcast series, please be open to the possibility that your life can change and improve in ways unimaginable now.
The Three Brains
In this and the next podcasts, I will:
- introduce the three brains in the human body-suit
- detail the contributions each “brain” provides to the body-suit
- demonstrate the benefits of the “three brains” working together
- provide tools and activities to incorporate this information into your life
“If I only had a brain”
– the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz
Ask any child what the human brain is, and he/she will point to the upper part of the head, saying it is the part that controls the body and thinking – then, perhaps, look at you as if you were stupid for not knowing that.
Ask a neuroscientist about the “three brains,” and he/she will point to the upper part of the head, saying: the neocortex, the limbic brain, and the reptilian brain, going from newest to oldest developed. If particularly talkative, he/she might continue, as in The Brain From Top to Bottom Website:
- The reptilian brain, the oldest of the three, controls the body’s vital autonomic functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. It includes the main structures found in a reptile’s brain: the brainstem and the cerebellum. It is beneath and behind the Cerebrum, and is about one-seventh the size of the latter. It is composed of white matter in the interior, and of gray matter on the surface.
- The limbic brain emerged in the first mammals. It records memories of behaviors that produced agreeable and disagreeable experiences, so it is responsible for our emotions, judgments, and strongly influences our behavior. Its main structures are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus.
- The neocortex gained importance in primates and resulted in the human brain with its two large cerebral hemispheres, which have been responsible for the development of language, abstract thought, imagination, and human cultures. The neocortex is flexible and has almost infinite learning abilities. The Cerebrum is the higher and front portion of the brain. It takes up most of the space in the skull and consists of two symmetrical halves, which are connected by a broad band of white substance.
- These three parts of the brain do not operate independently of one another. They have established numerous interconnections, primarily through the vagus nerve.
While both of the above descriptions of the brain are accurate, I am talking today about a different set of three brains in your body-suit: the cranial-brain, the heart-brain, and the gut-brain. We will explore each of these “brains” in detail, and then show how they can work together for our enhanced benefit.
Let’s start with the “brain” we’re most familiar with, the cranial-brain.
“The human brain is a most unusual instrument
of elegant and as yet unknown capacity.”
The cranial-brain has been called human’s greatest organ. Significant research has been conducted in the various sections of the brain, and the bodily function each section controls.
Rather than describe all the parts of the cranial-brain in boring detail, I want to talk about two attributes associated with the cranial-brain: the “Flight-fight-or-freeze” response and the “ego.” To me, these two attributes account for many of the problems associated with the cranial-brain.
The amygdala, from the Latin meaning “almond” because of its shape, is one of two clusters located deep within the temporal lobes of the brain. The temporal lobes are involved in processing sensory input. Research indicates that the amygdalae (plural of amygdala because of its Latin root), part of the limbic system, perform a primary role in the retention of memory, decision-making, and emotional responses (including fear, anxiety, and aggression).
The aspect of the amygdala (using the better-known singular form) that we will examine is the emotional response, particularly fear and anxiety. The amygdala in most mammals, including humans, responds to perceived danger and stimulates the “flight-or-fight” response by triggering the creation of adrenaline and cortisol. When the danger has passed, the amygdala calls off the alarm and the adrenaline and cortisol production is reduced. However, in many humans, it appears that the amygdala senses danger everywhere, at all times, and constantly presses the alarm, demanding a consistent flow of adrenaline and cortisol – occasionally to the point of wearing out the adrenal glands. The body is constantly on guard, fearing attacks from any and all directions; often even preventing rest or sleep.
Ah, the much-maligned ego. According to responses on Quora.com, the ego, or sense of self or identity, is said to reside in many parts of the cranial-brain, including the frontal lobes, temporal lobes, and hippocampus. Some say that the ego is an idea that we created about ourselves that makes us pursue illusions, thinking that our lives will then be fine. To others, the ego is “learned behavior” that comes from the culture that forms our belief system. We often identify with, and think that we are, our ego – but we are not our ego. Ego is the idol we have created, which we feel an urge to protect and defend.
Another Quora responder stated that the ego develops out of a feeling of weakness, and a desire to seek self-worth. In Buddhism, this state of immature mind is called the “small self,” a part of our psychological make up. The ego-self exists in the human mind dominated by the need to be the central focus. It is filled with anger, fear, greed, arrogance, violence, hedonism, etc.
“The ego’s job is to keep your consciousness focused into the physical reality you have said you want to be focused into. Its job is to simply provide a focus, not to do the thinking.” – Bashar
Whatever and wherever the ego is, my ego is a chattery nuisance that often hinders any kind of rational thinking or meditation. Apparently, the ego’s only true purpose is to observe what is occurring and point out potential danger – which, unfortunately, it seems to find everywhere. As we saw with the amygdala above, a constant warning signal keeps the body-suit in “flight-or-fight” mode, tiring the body-suit and exposing it to infection.
The “flight-fight-or-freeze” stress response is intended for short bursts of adrenaline and cortisol to direct all the body-suit’s energy to the extremities to run or fight or hide from an external predator. The stress response was never intended to be a constant state of being.
Science has shown that the constant production of adrenaline and cortisol, the two major stress hormones has a detrimental effect on the integrity of the body-suit:
- The digestive process is stopped because, when you are running from lions, tigers, and bears, oh my, processing your last meal is not a priority
- The immune system is shut down because it is more important to evade an external predator and live, than to deal with an internal predator while becoming the external predator’s next meal
- The body-suit’s natural ability to heal and repair itself is halted because there will be no body-suit to heal and repair if you are the external predator’s next meal
You need to consciously identify when your body-suit is in stress mode with no apparent danger, and calm your body-suit to stop the production of adrenaline and cortisol. This conscious stress reduction will be addressed in the next podcast. Now, just be aware when you are stressed – and what triggered the stress alert.
Injuries to the cranial-brain – such as stroke or traumatic brain injury – cause dramatic effects on the entire body-suit or on parts of it. Weeks, months, or even years are required to retrain the cranial-brain to function again – or to reroute sections of the cranial-brain to take over brain functions that were damaged beyond repair.
I would just like to briefly talk about a fascinating new discovery of mirror neurons in the cranial-brain. A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires when a person acts, when a person observes the same action performed by someone else, and when the person thinks about or remembers performing the same action. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the behavior of another person or your thoughts, as though you were actually performing the behavior. For example, you remember a car accident from your past, and your body-suit immediately reacts as if the accident were occurring right now: your heart races, your foot presses hard against an imaginary brake pedal, you cover your face to protect it from the flying glass. All of this is happening while you are sitting in your chair, safe at home. It takes a long time to convince your body-suit that it was only a memory and that you are safe, so it will call off the adrenaline and cortisol alert.
In humans, brain activity consistent with that of mirror neurons has been found in several parts of the cranial-brain. Some researchers argue that mirror neurons may be important for understanding the actions of other people and to learn new skills by imitation. Other researchers believe that mirror neurons are the basis of the human capacity for emotions such as empathy.
What I find fascinating about mirror neurons is their potential use in retraining the cranial-brain after trauma or injury. For example, watching a video of other people laughing, having fun, and relaxing may stimulate the cranial-brain of a trauma survivor to revise the negative internal patterns and to reroute sections of the cranial-brain to reduce the constant “flight-or-fight” response. One true case involves a man, unable to walk following a cranial-brain injury, repeatedly visualized seeing himself getting up from his wheelchair and walking; gradually, he was able to convince his cranial-brain that this was real – and he eventually was able to actually get up out of his wheelchair and walk.
Well, it is time to leave the cranial-brain and turn to a newly-discovered “brain” in the heart.
“Where the heart lies, let the brain lie also.”
– Robert Browning
“If my heart could do my thinking, would my brain begin to feel?”
– Van Morrison
Recent research by the HeartMath Institute, described by Gregg Braden in his book, Human By Design, has discovered that the heart is much more than just a sophisticated pump. In 1991, there was a major discovery that the heart has 40,000 specialized sensory neurite cells that are similar to the neurons in the cranial-brain. The heart-brain is a network of complex ganglia, neurotransmitters, proteins, and other cells, similar to those of the cranial-brain.
The heart-brain stores memories, as demonstrated by heart-transplant recipients who suddenly have the memories of the heart-donor. In one extreme case, the heart-recipient identified the murderer of the heart-donor and became a witness in the trial.
The heart-brain and cranial-brain are in constant contact via electrical signals through the vagus nerve and other venues. In fact, the heart-brain sends more messages to the cranial-brain than the cranial-brain sends to the heart-brain. The heart is the first organ created in a newly-forming human or animal – at least the ones that have hearts. The heart-brain has the strongest electrical and magnetic fields in the body-suit.
Scientists in the new field of neurocardiology now know that the heart-brain and the cranial-brain function together as a powerful system that regulates many functions, such as:
- our resilience – adaptability to change
- our heightened intuition
- our immune response
- even our longevity
These scientists also know that the ability to self-regulate the low-frequency signal between the heart-brain and the cranial-brain is the key to awaken these extraordinary abilities — the same abilities that in the past have been relegated to monks, yogis, shamans, and mystics living in distant isolated locations.
We’ve all experienced powerful moments of intuition that seem to happen spontaneously, such as when we have sudden insight and clarity regarding a job, relationship, or healthcare decision. While these powerful moments of clarity can change the course of our lives, we often find that, when we most need our heart-brain’s guidance, the conditions of stress, fear, and hurt in the cranial-brain make it difficult to access and trust this deep state of communion. The question then becomes: How do we tap deep intuition from the heart-brain when we need it most, and do so on demand?
HeartMath Institute’s tantalizing research has resulted in a method to harmonize our heart-brain and cranial-brain to create a single potent neural network we can tap, to create deep intuition at will.
Gregg Braden recommends that we go within, awaken intuition, and listen to the guidance from the heart-brain. The 40,000 sensory neurites in the heart-brain think, feel, and remember independently from the cranial-brain, and both organs work together harmoniously. We can tap into and activate those specialized cells to obtain their direct knowledge.
Research has shown that the heart-brain communicates with the cranial-brain in four major ways:
- neurologically: through the transmission of nerve impulses
- biochemically: via hormones and neurotransmitters it produces
- biophysically: through pressure waves
- energetically: through electromagnetic field interactions
Although historically not considered an endocrine gland, the heart-brain manufactures several hormones and neurotransmitters that have a major impact on the body-suit. The heart was reclassified as part of the hormonal system in 1983. A new hormone produced by the heart-brain, nicknamed the “balance hormone,” helps regulate the blood vessels, kidneys, adrenal glands, and many regulatory centers in the cranial-brain. It inhibits the release of stress hormones which then allows the immune system to restart. Experiments also suggest the balance hormone can influence motivation and behavior. This provides hope that the heart-brain can be used to reduce the constant “flight-or-fight” response of the fearful cranial-brain.
It was later discovered the heart-brain contains cells that synthesize and release norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters once thought to be produced only by neurons in the cranial-brain and ganglia. More recently, it was discovered the heart-brain also manufactures and secretes oxytocin, which has been shown to be involved in cognition, tolerance, trust and friendship, and the establishment of enduring pair-bonds. Concentrations of oxytocin produced in the heart-brain are in the same range as those produced in the cranial-brain.
Research also shows that messages the heart-brain sends to the cranial-brain can affect performance and psychological factors such as attention level, motivation, heightened perceptions, and emotional processing.
Let’s look at this week’s tools, activities, and summary:
- Be open to the possibility that your life can change and improve in ways unimaginable now.
- You always have options.
- The cranial-brain and heart-brain are in constant contact in four ways: neurologically, biochemically, biophysically, and energetically.
- We Are All ONE as Source – we are all Pure Energy wearing a body-suit for our adventure in physicality on Playground Earth.
- Replace fear with love, knowing that we are all Source.
- By changing within, we become the change in the world.
- We are all part of The Global Shift in Consciousness that is occurring now.
- Envision the Earth as a giant Playground in which we all play as Pure Energy Beings having a physical experience. Imagine working together with others for the well-being of all – including the Earth.
- Imagine no longer living in fear. Imagine seeing everyone AS US. Imagine being calm, knowing we are Source Energy in a body-suit of our own creation, in a Playground Earth of our own creation, within the multiple Universes of Source’s creation.
- Think about what changes a love-based world has provided. What do you love doing, that brings you joy and is of service to others? How does the world appear now that everything and everyone is viewed from love, instead of fear?
- Notice how the cranial-brain and the heart-brain work together to provide balance in the body-suit.
- We are awakening from the dream that we are victims of this world. We created this world from love and joy; we are returning this world to love and joy now that we remember we are all ONE as Source.
- The cranial-brain and heart-brain are in constant contact in four ways: neurologically, biochemically, biophysically, and energetically.
- To change the world, we change our beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, actions, and reactions from within ourselves, as Pure Source Energy surrounding a body-suit.
- We replace fear with love in every situation.
- The Global Shift to Peace on Earth is occurring now; we have chosen to take part in the Transformation.
You are welcome to visit my website at www.Jo-Calk.com. Under the “Podcaster” menu item click on the “Living a Dream: A Transformational Journey” link. I have added a bibliography of books and other media that have inspired me and that resonate with my beliefs. I have also added new pages containing the text of the previous podcasts and will add the text of this podcast for you to review as you wish. In addition, Blog Talk Radio has recorded, saved, and makes available all the episodes of this Living a Dream: A Transformational Journey podcast series, so you can replay an episode whenever you choose. Please visit, https://www.blogtalkradio.com/livingadream/ to see the list of episodes and listen to those that have been recorded or listen to a new podcast as it is being broadcast.
If you have a question or comment, please contact me at: Jo@Jo-Calk.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
The next podcast is “The Three Brains: Part 2,” where you will be introduced to the third of the three brains in the human body-suit, and how all three brains work together.
I hope you will join me here next Tuesday, at 4:00 p.m. (Pacific US Time) / 7:00 p.m. (Eastern US Time).
This is Jo Calk signing off:
Blessings to all of us Dreamers on our Transformational Journey.
ALL TEXT IS COPYRIGHT (c) 2019, by Jo Calk