I have suffered from this all my life, I was either trying to fit in or trying to make the World fit around someone else’s purpose which I thought was mine too. I then went on to “find myself” by traveling around the World, joining loads of Material/Spiritual societies, (at times forming my own!) and meeting loads of awesome people whom had all seem to have found their purpose in life, which was inspiring to me as I could not still find mine! I ended up asking myself, “am I really that lost/useless that I cannot find my own purpose, even after 13 years of searching? Yet all these people around me have all found theirs and are pursuing their calling” at times this also turned into a type of anger-through-frustration thought, “I’m also an intelligent guy and way more talented then X, Y, Z yet they’ve found their purpose and I haven’t!” (BTW this was never out loud, just a ‘mind-chatter’ that i decided to entertain at one point). When I’d enquire about finding ones purpose, these people would all say the same things, “The desire was always there so I just acted upon it because I knew it was the right thing to do” or “I’ve always been that way inclined!” Now imagine telling someone blind about the sun, with the words, ‘Its bright and its yellow!’ yes its factually true but too vague to have that person really understand what the sun is like.
However, all these things are relative, simply because the guys whom I met where actually being totally open and transparent in how they actually saw their World, furthermore, how their brains work. You see the area of the brain where the purpose signals initiate is called the ‘limbic brain’ ( the middle two sections of the brain, the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus), the limbic brain is responsible for all human behavior and all our decision making, but (now heres the kicker!) it has NO capacity for language. When we communicate we use the ‘neocortex’ part of the brain (the top layer of the cerebral hemispheres) which is involved in higher functions such as sensory perception, generation of motor commands, spatial reasoning, conscious thought, and of course in humans – language.
Lost you? I know I became lost when I first heard about all this too! So let me break it down for those non-neurosurgeons amongst us!
Here comes the science!
According to a theory developed by a very famous Dr. Paul D. MacLean, (a neuroscientist and psychiatrist), stated there are three distinct brains emerged successively in the course of evolution and now co-inhabit within our heads.
- The Reptilian brain, the oldest of the three located closest to the top of our spines and the brain (that little ball you see at the lower centre of the brain). This controls the body’s vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance. The reptilian brain is reliable but tends to be somewhat rigid and compulsive.
- The limbic brain, it records memories of behaviors that produced agreeable and disagreeable experiences, therefore responsible for what are called emotions and the development of our habits. The main structures of the limbic brain are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus. The limbic brain is the seat of the value judgments that we make, often unconsciously, that exert such an irresistible influence on our behavior.
- The neocortex, responsible for the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination, and consciousness. The neocortex is flexible and has almost infinite learning abilities, which also enabled human cultures to develop
Back to my original question
So why could all these amazing people not communicate what was in their limbic brains to me? Well, how could they? Its more of a feeling than anything else, its a kind of emotion which is often referred to as ‘Gut Feel’. As a result the part of the brain that controls our feelings has no capacity for language and this is the reason why we struggle so hard to put feelings into words.
So why did you pick the person you married?
We often have trouble explaining this because we struggle to put into words the REAL reasons why we love them, so we rationalise i.e. smart, funny, cute butt? One could argue these material qualities can come from a number of people in the World, however we do not love them. The fact is I (for one) love my wife so dearly because of how she makes me feel and she loves me for how I make her feel, the closest words to it would be ‘she completes me’ and even then we only know who completes us because it ‘feels’ so right. We are so governed by our limbic brain (2), yet we chose to use our neocortex (3) to rationalise and justify what we should follow in life as our purpose.
This was my problem, I used so much of my neocortex to justify and rationalise that I lost all awareness of my limbic brain. When working as a uniformed police officer in emergency situations, there was no time to think, so I’d rely on flashes of genius from which I’d act by, often my ‘gut feel’ but have no idea why I acted in that way, yet it was the best possible action in that situation, it just ‘felt-right’ in that moment to do and I went with it. It was a few factors involved,
- I was living in the moment (as moments make our future)
- I didn’t care about how I would look, appear or my ego (big step to act without ego)
- I took charge of the situation and acted without the time to think (or I did not allow myself to think)
- I was very clear on my objective – outcome being CARE & safety of all (emotional agenda)
- I was acting interdependently (I was independent, yet had the view that I cannot accomplish everything myself so I had to rely on others).
I did notice one thing though, the more I became ‘spiritually aware’ the more I’d listen to my ‘inner voice’, there is a science behind meditation to draw this out but I shall save that for another post!
I know what your thinking, “how am I going to get through all this… Stuff!!!” Well you do not have to worry as I will soon be placing some easy to follow questions to ask yourself for you to get you thinking on the right track, you’ll get to know yourself by communicating with your limbic brain. Thereafter you becoming closer aligned to your true core values and beliefs for you to really do what you LOVE doing.