Monday, April 2, 2012


From CT:  Neuroscience sheds light on how fasting and other spiritual disciplines work by training our subconscious mental processes. We think of ourselves as entirely the activity of our conscious thoughts. In reality, our brain has thousands of sub-conscious processes going on all the time. These processes are often pushing and pulling different ideas, concerns, or cravings into our consciousness. What this means is your conscious self is far less in control over who you are and what you do than you realize.  "We are not the ones driving the boat of our behavior," says neuroscientist David Eagleman. "Who we are runs well below the surface of our conscious access."

This may explain a lot of things.


  1. So essentially, the Spiritual Disciplines help to rewire our sub-conscious programming...i.e. to some extent our habits and conditioning or another way of saying it is reprogramming our default positions in life.

    "We are not the ones driving the boat of our behavior" - I don't buy that. While it is definitely true that we aren't always in control of what thoughts or desires come up in our minds, we do have the consciousness to work and train and say no, and I believe the ability to slowly reprogram and drive the boat of our behavior. Almost like a computer only does what you tell it to (or have put in it's programming) so I think we do, to a degree, and we're able, with God's help to tell ourselves new ways to do things and think.

    Again, if we just wait until the moment of action to try to change, we're likely going to fail. But if we actively change our defaults, then when faced with a tough situation we have the programming in place to choose right.

    1. It does seem like that statement would be an easy excuse to use whenever you didn't behave properly. Hey! I'm not driving the boat! But even then, as you said, we have programmed our subconscious. So if it's true, and I think it's certainly controversial, we are still responsible for the programming we allow to occur. Aren't we? Maybe we can't say we aren't driving the boat, but I think it's also true that we are not consciously in control as much as we think we are.

  2. Definitely not consciously in control as much as we think we are...but I propose this is because we rarely make the effort to be consciously in control (to STOP and think before we do something). I do think that we are responsible for large chunks of our programming (our countless decisions have led us to become the person we are today) and yet there are many circumstances outside of our control that have shaped us as well (upbringing, society, where you're born, race, and some others). However, as morally responsible beings, it is imperative that we "know thyself" or from a more biblical perspective, "search me O God" and seek to change the ways that don't match up with Jesus and His ways of life that is truly life!