the brain within the brain within the brain


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So, I’ve written about the lizard brain before, along with a host of others. I’m a bit obsessed with it, actually. I love studying people, and I think it’s so interesting to see how people react to things. Anyways, the lizard brain explains a lot about the human condition. BUT (dramatic pause) there’s yet another brain we have to deal with, people. Yep, I’m not sure what to call it yet, but maybe the ‘snail brain’ would be best. Allow me to explain.

So, something disconcerting happens, we’re stressed, threatened, angry, or whatever the case may be. We have two distinctions to make here:

– Scenario A: Am I facing ‘fake’ fear (speaking in front of people, having that difficult but necessary conversation, etc.)? Or….

– Scenario B: Am I facing immediate danger (a midget coming at me with a machete, a shark, a whitetail deer, an angry bird, the IRS, etc.)?

Once we designate this, if what we’re facing is ‘fake fear’, the answer is obvious. Do what the lizard brain tells you NOT to do. Get up there and speak, have that uncomfy conversation, work on those abs, don’t hit that snooze button AGAIN, put the calzone down, whatever. Hear it out, do the opposite, and you win.

The SNAIL BRAIN comes into play during scenario B. When we’re actually threatened with immediate danger, our lizard brain is activated. We know it immediately. We’re taken over by a kind of force that makes our heart beat faster, zooms our sight into tunnel vision, and clenches our fists. We’re in survival mode, baby! HOWEVER, and here’s the kicker, the question I ask is if the lizard brain is so ‘automatic’, why do we usually lock up, slow down, and freeze rather than ‘automatically’ move into appropriate action? It’s like the lizard brain sets us into survival mode, which is good in this case, and then this snail brain (which is like the brain WITHIN the lizard brain) activates and we are relegated to the state of a helpless… well… snail. We can’t think, we can’t act, all we can do is stop and slither around.

Maybe the lizard brain isn’t so bad in this case? Maybe it’s getting a bad rap? Maybe it takes clarity of mind to not only ignore it, as in Scenario A, but to actually LISTEN TO IT and do what it says here in Scenario B? To properly align and unify with whatever energy you happen to be dealing with, appropriately, is aiki. Achieve perfect aiki. Squash the snail. Control your lizard. Be well.

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