Thousands of New Year resolution lists are made and reflected upon around the world. This custom has survived the test of time and is still robustly alive. One wonders if there is some benefit associated with this particular behavior or is it just a fad. Glimpse at statistics will reveal the naked truth that only few are faithful to their resolutions. One of the geniuses of recent times, Albert Einstein, warned us not to keep on doing the same thing and expect different result. So here we are doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Maybe its time to looks at this practice in a different way.
From the prospective of neurobiologists our brains has two basic functions or goals; a mechanism of self-maintenance and mechanism of transcendence. Self-maintenance part ensures that we are eating, drinking, exercising, mating and successfully negotiating our way through our complex society. The transcendence part is also to do with survival but it becomes important when old ways of doing things no longer works and the brain has to view and think about the world in a new and radically differently than the past.
It seems that we transcend the old practices only under special conditions. It has been observed that people change when they have a mystical, spiritual or near death experiences. Their brain seems to get rewired and they view the same world in a new way. Other less dramatic way of transcendence, which we can all attain, is by facing your hardship, personal loss, loss of loved one, prayer, meditation and exercise. When we are having these experiences we stop thinking the old ways and our brain rewires to think in a different way. It only works if the experience is sustained for more than seven weeks, but of course the longer the better. This is to do with the neuroplasticity of the brain; you may have heard the phrase “ the neurons that fire together wire together;” meaning when certain given neurons are stimulated in a new way they make new connections with other neurons in the brain so the brain changes.
With the New Year there are huge changes, almost every manufacturer introduces new model of their product; new and improved. Everyone wants to change the sameness and shake off his or her limitation. We also look back and reflect on the decisions we made that failed to serve us. We now want to aim for new and more successful ways to reach higher heights. We want to transcend. New Year is a time when our brain is open to looking at new ways of doing things and this property of looking to do things in a new ways helps the brain with the survival values of maintenance and transcendence. The possible survival value of this practice will make us carry on making new years resolutions for a long time to come. However, only those who continue to strive at the resolution longer than 7 weeks are likely to succeed and transcend the old ways of failure.
Have a great New Year 2013
May your life have a balance.
May you be awake in a meadow of delight.
May a path of yellow moonlight bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours.
May clarity of light be yours.
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
May the invisible cloak of love be around you to mind your life.
To Bless the Space Between Us: – by John O’Donohue
The Spiritual Brain lectures: – Prof. Andrew Newberg.