By Delia O’ Riordan, May 07, 2012
I just finished Marsha Lucas’ “Rewire Your Brain for Love” and already it is a hit as far as I am concerned. For humans, the ‘final frontier’ – assuming there is such a thing – must be our consciousness. Some of the most exciting science being done today is in the field of consciousness research. In “Rewire Your Brain” Marsha Lucas brings together the findings of leading edge research into the relationship between mind and brain and how ‘mindfulness’ practices can literally re-wire neuro-circuits in our brains, establishing new connections that have a direct and often dramatic effect on people’s mental, emotional and physical lives.
Beginning with Candice Pert’s work on psychoneuroimmunology in the the late 70s and early 80s, the impetus to unravel the mystery of consciousness has steadily increased. Science is primarily pragmatic; it is based on physical observation, logical extrapolation from the data anbd testing under various conditions. Consequently, much of ‘brain science’ is necessarily based on neuro-chemistry, brain anatomy and physiology, and observable phenomena tracked with fMRI and PET scans as well as the more basic EEG. Previous gnerations of theorists assumed that the human brain was fully formed by the time physical growth was complete and thereafter a sort of entropy took over causing more and more brain cells to ‘die’ as we age. A certain amount of cell loss does happen but it is not the whole story. Perhaps the most shocking and significant advance in ‘brain science’ is evidence that new thoughts create new neural pathways and connections, awakening cells that had been in a semi-dormant state. This evidence of continuing cell adaptation in the brain points to the necessity to better understand the neuro-chemistry of thought. The practical application of this research comes from the ancient Eastern practice of ‘mindfulness’, a way of focusing attention for optimal co-ordination of mental and physical activity. Mindfulness is both an attitude and a practice that causes the human brain to synchronise its activity in a way that is unique, observable, and repeatable. At last, science can document what lifelong meditators have known for millennia: the mind can be tamed, aimed and and reclaimed from the chaos of mental ‘noise’ that constitutes much of human mental life. Dr. Lucas’ book is well worth reading both for its practical applications in our lives and for the ongoing process of understanding human consciousness. This one’s a keeper.