Mirror of Zen Blog

I F*cking LOVE Science

Well, this explains everything about the fixity of “core beliefs”:

There’s a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that creates what you believe and how you behave. And it’s all subconscious:

Our brain does countless things for us that we don’t even need to think about. To conserve energy, the brain loves to run on autopilot. It does this through a bundle of nerves at the brain stem called the Reticular Activating System (RAS.)

RAS regulates our: consciousness, motivation, how to we take information from the external world, and behavior arousal. At any given moment, countless things are happening around us. The RAS filters what’s important to us to our conscious awareness.

Lets say you’re in the market for a new car. You visit a dealership and do some research online. Suddenly, you see that car everywhere. In reality, those cars have always been there, your brain just saw them as insignificant and filtered them out.

Our RAS works with our subconscious mind. The subconscious mind stores all of our core beliefs. The RAS works every waking moment to confirm the core beliefs we hold. This is called cognitive bias.

Each time a cognitive bias is confirmed, a neural pathway is solidified. The belief becomes stronger and stronger. Our behaviors are driven by our beliefs. We behave as if our thoughts are “truth,” when they’re actually quite subjective.

This is why most people tend to hold the same beliefs, habits, and patterns throughout their entire lives.

The RAS doesn’t care if the belief is “good” for you, or if it benefits you in any way. It’s simply a self confirming machine that allows us to exist in autopilot.

Through the practice of conscious awareness (or waking up) we can start to consume new information, to question beliefs, and to start to observe to see what our RAS is filtering into our lives.

[Text/image: Dr. Nicole LePera / @Theholisticpsyc]

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