Brain Neuroplasticity Made Simple
Brain neuroplasticity is a fancy term that refers to the potential for your brain to be rewired. Imagine an elaborate system of tails beaten into a forest for travelers to follow. Once these trails get established they become followed automatically. As the forest thickens around them, it seems that these are the only trails possible for navigating the forest. It used to be assumed that the circuitry of the brain’s neural networks developed and remained fixed in the same way. The mind gets set in its own ways, making it hard to teach old dogs new tricks. Neuroplasticity is the discovery that we can, in fact, rewire our brain’s circuitry.
Another analogy for the brain’s circuitry is that a computer’s operating system, the foundational codes which determine how a computer’s software and hardware function. Operating systems are always being upgraded for more effective computing. Neuroplasticity tells us that the brain’s underlying codes (trails) can be upgraded too. A mind once thought to be closed can be reopened and altered for the better.
Many of the brain’s foundational codes get laid down beginning in early childhood, after which they function automatically and subconsciously. By accessing these subconscious codes, new and better codes can be “installed.” Upgrading neural circuits can improve how we perceive, interpret, think, feel, and ultimately behave. If a person fell under the “spell” of a cult leader who programmed him/her to renounce their family, society, and relinquish their material possessions, that would be an example of maladaptive programming. But such a “spell” can be broken and replaced with healthier programs, allowing that person to become reintegrated into society in more adaptive ways. Being put under a spell and then breaking free from a spell are both examples of the neuroplasticity of the brain.
The most effective way for the brain’s neural circuitry to be rewired is by accessing the subconscious mind where these programs are imprinted. Subconscious programs function on autopilot and are often immune to the influence of conscious reasoning. But the subconscious mind can, in fact, be reprogrammed to adopt new beliefs, values, priorities, and ways of thinking, transforming the ways we feel and behave. There are many different therapeutic techniques that can facilitate these transformations, but they all require accessing and making changes at the subconscious level.
So, there you have the basics of brain neuroplasticity. It may sound complicated and difficult, but with the right techniques and guidance, it’s really no more difficult than learning to swim or ride a bike. I’ve been teaching clients how to do this for the past 30 years, and you can learn how to do this yourself by reading my marvelous (and shamelessly self promoted) book, Whole Mind Healing: A Simple Path for Changing Your Life by Healing Your Mind (Kandle 2000).