Ok, so as I was setting up this new blog I decided that it would be fun to look back at some copies of old blog posts and I came across this one. It is a blog that I wrote as a reflection on an excerpt from an article in Triathlete Magazine that discusses the reason for failed new year’s resolutions. Now you might be asking “Why would I want to look at an article on new year’s resolutions in July?” I believe the implication of what is presented in the article has very significant implications on our spiritual lives. Thus, I thought it was well worth re-posting.
“… our conscious minds have very little control over our day-to-day actions and perceptions. As a matter of fact, the conscious brain makes up about 17 percent of total brain mass, but only controls about 2 percent to 4 percent of our perceptions and behaviors. But the non-conscious brain occupies 83 percent of total brain mass and controls 96 percent to 98 percent of perception and behavior. The actual neural impulses in your conscious brain travel between 120 and 140 miles per hour, while unconscious impulses travel at nearly 800 times that speed. This allows the unconscious brain to process information at 400 billion bits per second, compared to the measly 2,000 bits per second of our conscious brain. Therefore, to fulfill your resolutions and truly change the underlying beliefs that control your everyday actions, you need to be able to access and influence the incredible power of your subconscious brain.”
by Ben Greenfield
Triathlete Magazine (February 2010)
As I read this statement I couldn’t help but think of the implication that it has on our spiritual development. In fact I was specifically reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV) But how do we “access and influence” our subconscious brain?
While there are multiple spiritual disciplines that could be discussed on this subject I want to focus on the practice of reading and memorizing Scripture. As I have read works by many of the influential church fathers I have often noticed that Scripture is woven, seemingly effortlessly, throughout their writings. This is a direct result of constant meditation on scripture. You see when we meditate on scripture on a regular basis it penetrates past our conscious brain and into our subconscious brain directly affecting our deepest thoughts. When we then add to the equation that our actions are merely a consequence of our inner most thoughts it becomes even easier to see the connection.
That being said, we cannot mistakenly think that reading and memorizing scripture alone will change us. If that were true spiritual transformation would rest solely in our hands. No, reading and memorizing scripture is merely our role. The actual transformation is a work of the Holy Spirit. I once read about a theologian that had memorized the entire book of Psalms in Hebrew. Shockingly he was neither a believer in Christianity nor Judaism. Thus, it is that the Spirit will transform us when we prayerfully meditate on Scripture with an an attitude of faith an humbleness.