― Norman Fischer,
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
Even in cases where there has been fairly severe physical damage to the brain, research now indicates that new neural pathways can be created. It appears that with proper stimulation, undamaged neurons actually sprout new nerve endings. Certain functions can even be transferred from a severely damaged hemisphere of the brain to the other!
How cool is that!?
What this means is that contrary to the old adage, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Most of us don't think that the way we view and react to our world as a conditioned sequence of synapses firing. (In layman's terms: a habit) Yet, it certainly seems to explain the way many of us seem to go stumbling along entertaining deep yearnings to be a certain type of person -- and failing to meet our own standards again and again. We want to be kind, caring, compassionate, constructive and productive people. And we end up -- all too often -- being jerks!
Now Western Science affirm what the sages, seers, and saints having been saying all along: We can get it together. With Practice, we can kick the habit of being who we have been in deep and fundamental ways.
In my experience, the Practice has been a means to kick start, and maintain, some dramatic changes in the way I am in the world. With Practice I have brought an awareness to what had previously operated subconsciously, and, by doing so, I've been able to "rewire" my responses.
To wit: I had a violent temper. Raised in a family where this type of behavior was the norm, I could readily fly into a rage and lash out verbally-- or even physically.