DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 6 months ago
Every time you receive stimuli from the outside world, you experience them through one of your sensory many receptors.
You have photoreceptors, audio receptors, smell receptors, taste receptors, tactile feeling receptors, temperature receptors, pain receptors, and pressure receptors, to name but a few.
All the externally received information comes in via the receptors and goes into and up the spinal cord and brain stem and into the brain. As it does, it also gets associated with previous experiences you've had that then get additionally associated with the stimulus.
These additional associated stimuli then combine with the new stimuli as it moves up the spinal cord or brain stem into the brain and summates into experiences through associative interneurons. As you go up in the brain, the greater the number of interneurons, and the lower you move down the spinal cord, the fewer the interneurons.
Think of a simple monosynaptic reflex, as an example, a test many doctors perform by hitting your knee with a reflex hammer. The resulting knee-jerk response is something you have no conscious control over – hence the widely used phrase, “having a knee-jerk reaction” to an individual or situation.
However, as you move up in the brain and have a larger number of interneurons, the more likely you are to be active than reactive because you have more options on how to perceive that stimulus. As a result, you have a greater likelihood of having a more objective and governed response.
The amygdala versus the executive center in the brain.
There's an area of the brain called the amygdala. Anywhere from the amygdala down into the hindbrain is where you tend to react before you think.
Anywhere from that area up into the cortex area is where you tend to think before you react.
In other words, if you have a stimulus, the higher you go in the brain, the higher the probability of your thinking before reacting.
The lower you go into the subcortical and lower and more primitive part of the brain, the higher the probability of your reacting without thinking.
If you have a stimulus resulting from a so-called positive previous experience where you perceived there to be more upsides than downsides, or from a so-called negative previous experience where you perceived there to be more downsides than upsides, you'll likely stay in the lower functioning part of the brain because it will be registered in your subconscious ‘mind’ as something to seek (prey) or something to avoid (predator). As such, you’ll experience either an impulse towards it or an instinct away from it.
An example of this could be a large breed of dog that jumped up on you and frightened you as a child. From that moment on, each time you see that particular breed of dog, your body may subconsciously tense and go into fight-or-flight mode.
Perceptions that have been stored in an imbalanced way are called the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind stores all your perceived previously imbalanced associations and dissociations.
As a result of these imbalanced and lopsided perceptions, associations, or dissociations anyone or anything that reminds you of that individual or event (secondary associations) can result in an immediate reaction or response to seek or avoid.
This is also known as ‘systems 1 thinking’ which originates in the more subcortical amygdala and results in you reacting without thinking.
While it may be highly effective if you’re in danger of being knocked over by a car when a swift reaction could save your life, being in constant survival mode is not the wisest way to live.
Compare this, if you will, with a different scenario, where stimuli come in and make their way into the higher and more advanced part of your brain known as the medial prefrontal cortex or executive center.
This part of the brain doesn’t immediately react to stimuli but instead stops, looks at them assesses them, balances them, calms them down, governs them, dampens the extremes of polarity, and allows you to think before you react. This is also referred to as ‘systems 2 thinking’.
Every time you balance your perceptions and govern yourself, I call that the superconscious mind.
In contrast to the subconscious mind or ‘systems 1 thinking’ that likely results in impulsive and instinctual emotional reactions, the superconscious mind, sometimes called the transcendental mind, spiritual conscious mind, or advanced part of the forebrain, is where you tend to have a mean distribution of positive and negative associations due to the vast number of interneurons and therefore larger sample size of possible and probable actions. This is likely because you have balanced your perceptions and associations over time.
For example, you may have had an event in your life that you perceived as being terrible at the time, only to later realize that there were benefits to that event.
You may also have experienced something you perceived to be terrific at the time, only to later discover downsides.
So, in the highest part of the brain where the greatest number of associative interneurons are, you accumulate a balanced orientation and the mean distribution of polarities. As such, you are better able to perceive things more objectively, instead of subjectively bias them with a quick response.
As I said, you may need that quick systems 1 thinking response for survival, but not for thrival.
If you would love to master your life, the survival mentality is not your wisest port of call because the external world and external stimuli will keep running you.
The subconscious mind stores all unconscious splits, and all ratios of perception that are imbalanced. The superconscious mind stores all ratios of perceptions that are balanced.
Love and wisdom potentials are stored in the forebrain, while ignorance, phobias and philias, fantasies and nightmares, pleasures and pains, seeking and avoiding mechanisms, are stored mainly in the amygdala down into the hindbrain and spinal cord.
The superconscious mind is stable, not volatile. It's poised and balanced, not all over the place with emotional reactions. It's objective, not subjective. It sees both sides not one side. It has relativity instead of absolutes – almost like a dimmer switch that can dim subjective emotional responses and govern them.
When you live in your executive center, you're more likely to be the master of your destiny. You're able to live by design, proactively choose how to respond, and mitigate risk and rewards because you can see both of them simultaneously.
Any area of your life you're not governing in yourself, other people are running. Any area of your life you don't take command and empower, will likely be run by somebody else.
The question then becomes HOW? How do you balance your perceptions to activate your executive function, superconscious mind, and systems 2 thinking?
Many years ago, I started to wonder how I could take an individual out of their emergency response system, danger response system, and sometimes their fantasy response system, and help them master their lives. That has been my dream since I was 18 years old – to teach people practical tools to help them master all seven areas of their life.
I had seen so many people live with futilities and frustrations, disempower their life, and become victims of their history instead of masters of their destiny.
I saw them blame things on the outside, exaggerate the negatives in something, and exaggerate the positives in others.
I also saw that they tended to look for something on the outside to save them because they perceived that they had lost control of their life.
So I developed a system, which I call the Demartini Method that I teach in my signature 2-day Breakthrough Experience program, on how to do exactly that:
- How to go from systems 1 to systems 2 thinking;
- How to go from the subconscious to the superconscious;
- How to go from reacting to proacting;
- How to go from being extrinsically run from the outside to being spontaneously inspired from the inside; and
- How to go from seeing all positives or all negatives to becoming conscious of simultaneous positives and negatives in each of the individuals, events and situations in life.
And that happens when you ask quality questions that bring balance to your perceptions.
The quality of your life is based partly on the quality of the questions you ask yourself.
Asking low-quality questions is likely to lead to a low-quality life. It is wiser to ask yourself high-quality questions, like those in the Demartini Method, to live the more self-actualized life you dream of and deserve.
Let’s look at an example of some of those questions in action.
Suppose your spouse criticizes you about the way you raise your children. You would begin by asking yourself:
1. “ What specific trait, action, or inaction do I perceive this individual (my spouse), displaying or demonstrating that I dislike or despise most?”
In this case, you would write down, “He verbally criticizes me about how I raise our children.”
2. “ Let me go to a moment where and when I perceive myself displaying or demonstrating the same or similar specific trait, action or inaction, and go on to identify, where it was, when it was, who it was to and who perceived it?”
If you go to a moment where you verbally criticize others (the same action you perceive in them), you effectively level the playing field and say, “Who am I to judge him for verbally criticizing me, when I do the same with others?”
In this way, you tend to calm down any emotional knee-jerk reaction, and move out of the amygdala and the hindbrain, and into the executive center.
3. “Let me go to a moment where and when I perceive this individual displaying or demonstrating the specific trait, action or inaction that I dislike or despise most. How did the trait I despise serve me?”
In this case, you would look at the benefits of your spouse’s verbal criticism.
At first, you may experience reluctance to find upsides to the criticism and an unconscious desire to protect yourself. However, as long as you see the downsides and no upsides, you don't have a balanced mind. You're likely not mindful and will tend to react out of instinct instead of act.
But if you hold yourself accountable, you’ll become conscious of the upsides: that you’re stopping and looking at your parenting style, able to ask questions such as: Am I over nurturing the kids? Am I making them dependent? Am I robbing them of accountability and responsibility? Am I justifying my wounds from my past and overcompensating for them?
Regardless of the realizations you come to as a result, you’re in your executive center and able to think objectively and rationally before you respond.
In this way you are far more likely to become present, poised, purposeful, patient, prioritized, productive, and empowered instead of emotionally reactive and defensive.
4. “ Let me go to a moment where and when I perceived myself displaying or demonstrating that same or specific trait action or inaction. Who did I do it to? How was it a benefit to them if it was something I resented?”
This is a powerful question to help you clear out and dissolve any shame and guilt from past experiences because if you have guilt and shame from your past, they may result in you reacting to people who remind you of it. You may even resent them when, in fact, it has little to do with them and more about you judging yourself.
5. “Let me go to a moment where and when I perceive this same individual doing the exact opposite behavior?”
For example, think of a time when your spouse praised you, because if you perceive him to always be criticizing you, you may emotionally react or avoid him, which may undermine your relationship.
If you do not ask these questions to help you see both sides and only see one side, you will most likely be subjectively biased and emotionally reactive.
These questions are just a few of the many presented during the Breakthrough Experience that can balance your perceptions and transform your reaction into wise actions.
Asking quality questions, such as the few examples that I’ve outlined above from the Demartini Method, helps you become fully conscious of both sides so you can be objective, neutral and balanced instead of over-reacting.
In this way, you are able to reprogram your subconscious mind and activate your executive function to help you govern and master all seven areas of your life.
To sum up:
- Perceptions that have been stored in an imbalanced way are stored in or called the subconscious mind.
- Every time you balance your perceptions and govern yourself, I call that the superconscious mind.
- The subconscious mind stores all conscious and unconscious splits, and all ratios of perception that are imbalanced. The superconscious mind stores all ratios of perceptions that are balanced.
- The quality of your life is based on the quality of questions you ask. If you want a quality life, it demands quality questions.
- Asking low-quality questions is likely to lead to a low-quality life. It is wiser to ask yourself high-quality questions, like those in the Demartini Method, to live the more self-actualized life you dream of and deserve.
- One of my primary purposes for developing the Demartini Method was to take whatever you've experienced that you've judged and stored in the subconscious mind, which has weighed you down with gravitational entropy and aged you, and ask a series of very precise questions; scientifically demonstrated, to reintegrate those parts, synchronously, where you become lightened up and radiantly awakened to a state of certainty with love, gratitude, presence, enthusiasm and inspiration.
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