November 23, 2014

Morphic Fields and Change (Part 4): Survival of the Fittest

rhodesEditor’s Note: This is Part 4 of a series of articles on Morphic Fields and Change. If you haven’t already read Part 1Part 2, or Part 3, they’re short and well worth it—go read them now. We’ll wait.

Ever wonder why people respond so negatively to change?

In their book Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom, the co-authors – one a neurologist and the other a neuropsychologist – root our resistance to change in the evolutionary biology of the brain. Apparently our brains have been hardwired with certain survival instincts that trigger our habitual “No way!” response.

One of these instincts is the brain’s version of biological homeostasis – the strong urge to keep the morphic field in balance. Our brains are constantly creating and maintaining “stabilizing systems” in their chemistry. They’re like a waiter carrying a precarious stack of dishes; they’re not going to like it if we mess with their balancing act. But of course that’s precisely what we do when we introduce the idea of change. The result? Our brains aren’t happy, and they let us know.

Another neurological survival instinct is our propensity to remember negative experiences more than positive ones. Turns out our brains learn best that way – which I guess is why we read all those cases in law school about things that went wrong. We’re like the tribe who remembers the guy who ate deadly nightshade and didn’t come back from the hunt. We’re not doing that again.

These survival instincts are why the human race made it this far, and why we view new things with suspicion until we’re sure they’re not going to eat us for lunch.

Well okay, brains, and thanks for the help, but it’s now the year 2013. There aren’t any T-Rexes or saber-toothed tigers anymore, and we can find pictures of deadly nightshade on the internet. Plus, we’ve been at this survival of the fittest thing for a long time now. So how about we get over it and move on?

If only it were that easy. These are survival instincts; they come from the same fight or flight hardwiring that fires in pre-conscious nanoseconds whenever our Morphic Field Danger Alert goes off, which is surprisingly often. We think we’re all grown up as a human race and past all that, but we’re not – at least our brains aren’t.

Fortunately, as the authors of Buddha’s Brain also point out, we can use our minds to rewire our brains. We can cultivate new ways of thinking that create new neural pathways that embrace new perspectives about trying new things. It takes awareness and vigilance, but it can be done.

To be continued.

Kevin Rhodes helps individuals and organizations to make change from the inside out. He leads workshops on change for a variety of audiences, including the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at kevinzdr@gmail.com.

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  1. […] One thing lawyers are up against in the Happiness Derby is that things can look good on the outside even if we’re dying on the inside. Being a lawyer is prestigious, and looking good doing it maintains not just our professional status but the status quo our brains love so much. […]

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