11/4/18 – Re-Wiring Your Brain: From Pain to Gain.

Posted on : Nov 1st, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Last weekend twenty of us participated in our Church Fall Retreat.  It was an awesome experience.  Our leader was Dr. Alane Daugherty.  Alane is a unique person.  She looks like a hippie but has a Ph.D. in neuropsychology.   I knew she was going to be a fantastic leader, but I had no idea how utterly fabulous she would be.

Alane focuses her work around the concepts of grace, compassion for one’s self and self-forgiveness.  Grace, compassion and self-forgiveness all are great religious concepts, the challenge is how to experience them in our lives.  Alane showed us the part of our brain that is imprinted when we have a traumatic event (large or small) in our lives.  That experience stays in our brain forever.  It does not get erased.  The more experiences that we have that trigger our memory of that event, the more painful it becomes.  There is however, a way to rewire our brain.  We can create new pathways that the neurons in our brain will travel so that we may have different outcomes when remembering or reliving traumatic or painful events.

As I’ve thought about what we learned and experienced last week, I realized how much we need to be in supportive community to rewire our brain.  Violence, fear and hatred are running rampant in our country.  The more often we “push” the buttons of fear, the more reinforced the darker portion of our experience becomes.   Fear reinforces the traumatic events in our lives.  Our brain is full of fear-based memories.  It’s not until we find ways to create new paths for the neurons in our brain that we will have better outcomes for future.

Right now, we especially need better outcomes for our future selves.  We do not need to keep reinforcing traumatic memories, we need to create new pathways in our brain that celebrate the goodness and love of God in our lives.  Baptism is one of the sacraments in our tradition that offers us a new pathway – a pathway rooted in God’s love and grace.  And All Saints Sunday is the day that we celebrate our innate goodness and witness to the highest forms of human good within us and others.  Both Baptism and the celebration of our calling as saints create new pathways in our faith, if not our brain, that help us transform our hearts and minds – our best selves – so that we do not conform to the patterns of this world but are transformed by the renewal of our minds.

What a joy it will be to share in the Baptism of Catherine and Conor this Sunday as we also celebrate All Saints Sunday.  Come as we create new pathways of love, joy and peace and as we are transformed by the renewal – the healing – of our minds as we experience the profound love of God and grace of Christ in our lives.

Blessings,

Dan

Romans 12:1-2

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

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