Almost daily now, I feel compelled to think deeply about my faith and to share intimately, given the fact that I will not be here forever. Aging brings with it both benefit and threat. The benefit of course is exposure to more people, more thoughts and the shear time to have assimilated a belief system of one’s own.
The threat is obvious; the longer one is around, the less time remaining to share their learnings. As well, it seems that one is always evolving to a higher level of thought, unless the choice is status quo and comfort; dreaded places, if life is to be exciting!
Of late, I seem to be infatuated with the ever expanding field of brain research. The brain itself an organ just as any other, yet apparently influenced by what one speaks to it, both positive and negative (Dr. Caroline Leaf). “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. Given 67 years of conversation with myself (thinking in my heart), I perhaps have shaped my own brain and now it is speaking back to me?
Joseph Chilton Pearce, proffers that there are five “brains,” each building upon the other. Pearce writes: “at each stage of development each new system is dependent upon the full function of the system that developmentally preceded it.” “…a smaller and smaller portion of the human population makes it to each higher level of brain development.”
Have I progressed sufficiently over time in my own brain development that what I have to say matters? If so, do I have the time to communicate my learnings for the sake of young men, especially John Luther (grandson) and soon to be born Caroline Elizabeth? Can they gain from my learnings or will they too spend a lifetime sorting for themselves, the fragments of those they happen to read or come upon in their life journey?
I am exuding behavior much like the writer of Ecclesiastes, as I bear my heart this morning. My desire is for some cerebral balance, enough left brain activity to be practical and enough right to continue to hope and dream! Interesting of late is the knowledge that the right brain has better linkage to the heart, the highest level of thinking per Pearce. It seems that reliance on the left brain is more comfortable, less threatening, in part because it stores the painful moments of our life. It can promote cynicism as one ages. Uhmm?
It seems that the brain was designed by our Creator for some progressive journey that assures more than mere survival and sexual desire; rather, the advancement to a high level of empathy and benevolence, even Christ likeness. Spirituality is not some religious behavior that we choose, we are spirits! Housed in temples of clay, our mind, that voice with which we reason, is who we really are.
How we speak to our brain while on that journey matters more than we realize.
Amazingly, though I have not always listened, I have come to know the voice of the Holy Spirit (Paracletus), that Being that is God with us. The One who comes along side of us, shares life with us, and begins to make sense of this brief journey. The challenge is to listen more to the Spirit than the voices of those who would take in upon themselves to opine how we should live our lives. Even the text of scripture is limited, apart from that Voice!
Yet, as we listen, then converse with our heart, a redemptive work occurs. Whether that is some mystical rebirth, a physiological rewiring that occurs by design, or both, is still unclear to me.
I am now 67 years into this thing. My brain has been so shaped by what I and others have spoken into my “heart” that I must now more than ever, lean upon the redemptive work of Christ as I finish out my days. The good news, there is new protein available every morning!