Our Struggle with Self

May 10, 2019

By Esther Veltheim

 We are our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves." 

– Tom Robbins

In John Veltheim's recent Soul's Journey Study Group series, some focus was given to the concept of active memory--or historical thinking as Esther called it. It was suggested that one of the key components to having a healthy Three Brain Complex is to challenge our assumptions. To take this work a little deeper, Esther is offering an interactive Question and Answer teleconference, with particular emphasis on self-reflection or self-inquiry as it pertains to the Three Brain Complex and the struggle with our own thinking processes. The following describes one of the head brain's strongest habits and the role of self-inquiry.

The Hoarder

When left to its own devices, the head brain becomes a compulsive hoarder. It accumulates and stockpiles learned information and stories, squirreling them away as if readying itself for a famine. The greater the head brain's hoard of learned information and stories, the more adept it is at steamrolling intuition and guarding against the heart. Like any addictive behavior, the head brain's compulsion to learn and cling escalates until pathology successfully masquerades as a necessity: hoarding becomes essential to living. That we call the age we live in "the information age" might be more telling than we realize.

Like any addiction, hoarding information and knee-jerk answering weaken the head brain. Its ability to discriminate and draw on its discretionary dimension suffer dramatically. Habitually satisfying its urges with a knowledge fix allows the head brain to close down to the unknown. Conversely, when the Three Brain Complex is dynamic, the gut brain informs and the heart brain anchors. Simply put, the Hoarder head brain is our struggle with our self.

When the head brain dominates, we look to external sources to inform us. And we look to external sources to anchor us. While we are in this dissociative state, the external is mistaken for our source of survival and also our greatest threat. Accumulating learned information to ensure answers are always at the ready is how the over-compensating head brain keeps us feeling safe. The head brain's primary conviction is that learned information is our greatest strength. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what that information is as long as it keeps us armed with answers.There is nothing wrong with the head brain. It is just doing its job relative to what needs to be done in the moment.

Self-inquiry questions all learned information, stories and our assumptions about them. This means that self-inquiry puts the head brain's addiction to hoarding and its entire stash of knowledge and stories under threat. A simple explanation of self-inquiry is the process of questioning all our assumptions. A simple place to begin self-inquiry might be to ask  "What do I know for sure?" This is a self-reflective question. It turns our focus inwards which immediately shifts the habit of looking for answers "out there." And whenever this shift in orientation happens, the mind temporarily calms. Over time, the practice of self-inquiry or self-reflection disrupts apathetic head brain habits. This is because self-reflection naturally engages the Three Brain Complex in a far more dynamic way.

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