The Power of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

The core premise of “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” is that we all develop ingrained thinking, feeling, and acting habits that shape our sense of identity. These habits operate automatically, below the radar of our conscious awareness. As neuroscientist and author Dr. Joe Dispenza explains, they form the basis of how we perceive reality and process experiences.

Most of us believe that we see the world as it objectively is. However, Dispenza presents evidence that what we perceive is filtered through the lens of our personalized models of reality, underpinned by our accumulated beliefs, attitudes, emotions, memories, and biases.

Our Brains Construct Customized Models of Reality

The latest research shows the human brain constructs causality – it creates logical sequences and makes meaning out of sensory input. In effect, our brains simulate reality. Out of the flood of incoming stimuli, our subconscious minds curate information streams into customized models of how the world works so that we can efficiently navigate life without getting overwhelmed.

The implications are profound. It means that two people can experience the same life event but have entirely different subjective experiences based on the content and wiring of their subconscious conditioning. Our personalized models of reality powerfully shape what we notice and what we ignore, what opportunities we see and which we miss, how we interpret challenges, and how we perceive other people.

The Tyranny of Conditioned Habits

The downside of this efficiency is that our models of reality can become so ingrained that we get stuck relating to life through limiting filters and outdated modes of thinking. When we unconsciously recycle the same thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and cravings repeatedly, we keep supercharging their neural circuitry to become our automated habits.

This conditioned cyclical thinking narrows possibilities rather than expands our capacity for joy. We assume our emotions reflect reality when, in fact, our emotions contribute to what we notice in reality. If we’re in a low mood, we pay more attention to negative details and prior experiences that reinforce feeling low. The more we dwell here, the more neurons recruit to support this cascade, perpetuating emotional ruts etched more profoundly via repetition.

The Subconscious Rules 95% of Our Lives

Critically, neuroscience reveals that most of our cognitive and emotional processing operates below conscious awareness. The conscious rational mind is estimated to account for a mere 5% or less of our mental activity. The remaining 95% or more occurs at the level of the subconscious.

That means most behaviors, actions, desires, and motivations spring from conditioned assumptions and interpretations we cannot easily access. This hidden realm is also where our sense of self and our feelings about ourselves take shape, according to the likes, dislikes, joys, and traumas we’ve accumulated since early childhood that left their mark on our malleable brains.

The Brain’s Extraordinary Neuroplasticity

For most of the 20th century, mainstream neuroscience claimed that structural changes in neurons only occurred during childhood brain development. The consensus was that the brain became fixed after adolescence – that we were stuck with our subconscious conditioning for life.

However, pioneering research that began in the 1960s eventually overturned this belief that the brain continually changes and rewires itself in response to our repetitive thoughts, emotional patterns, theories, demonstrations, and behaviors long into adulthood.

This phenomenon is known as neuroplasticity. Scientists now agree that neurons that fire together wire together. Any experience that gets repeated sparks neural activation that reinforces those connections – for better or worse. Entire neural networks dynamically reorganize as our brains assimilate new experiences.

We Can Consciously Cultivate New Neural Pathways

Neuroplasticity allows us to break out of our habitual emotional and cognitive patterns by intentionally forming new neural pathways. We can rewire subconscious conditioning by directing our attention in more conscious, focused ways via repetitive mental rehearsals and creative visualization exercises. New ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving, and acting can become physically etched into the brain’s flexible circuitry over time.

Retrofitting Our Identity

We are no longer victims of ingrained behaviors learned in the past. As pioneering neuropsychologist Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz says: “the brain can change itself.” Who we were yesterday need not dictate who we choose to be tomorrow. Neuroplasticity hands us the tools to retrofit our very identity.

The Mind-Body Connection

There is an inextricable link between the mind and body. When we shift our internal mental and emotional states, corresponding biological changes also occur in the brain and body.

Leveraging Neurochemistry for Transformation

Science now shows that repeated emotions spark the release of neurohormones that strengthen specific synaptic networks. By purposefully cultivating positive states like gratitude, compassion, and creative joy regularly, we influence neurochemistry in ways that reinforce the neural wiring we are targeting.

Our physiological state feeds back to impact mood and thought patterns, too. Health-supportive lifestyle choices like nutrition, movement, mindfulness, and sleep quality sculpt a brain environment conducive to more balanced emotional processing. Psychological shifts alone only stick with also addressing physiology.

Ultimately, this two-way mind-body feedback relationship means we have more biological control over our mental and emotional states than we ever believed. We can consciously leverage this intricate biochemistry to catalyze transformation. When skillfully directed, new visions of possibility can penetrate the cellular level to upgrade emotional set points.

The Body Remembers What the Conscious Mind Forgets

Researchers have found that while the conscious mind may forget an event, the body preserves implicit memory deep within the nervous system. This has enormous implications for healing trauma. Even when difficult experiences are suppressed from explicit memory, leftover emotional disturbance remains embodied.

Thankfully, techniques like clinical hypnotherapy, brainwave entrainment, and holistic modalities can safely access and release trapped residue on the subconscious level so that we are no longer haunted. The body also remembers it belongs to the ever-evolving peaceful present instead of the unresolved past.

Going Beyond Positive Thinking Alone

While conscious positive thinking does reap benefits, actual change requires moving beyond thought alone to incorporate all the senses through creative visualization. This expands possibilities through the nervous system and allows our higher visions to imprint directly on cell tissue as the brain encodes a new positive identity from top to bottom.

The Brain Responds to Novel Stimulation

Mental rehearsal accelerates change because the brain responds strongly to novelty. When we focus on a desired future scenario in a focused, multisensory way, we activate and recruit neuronal networks that light up with the excitement of new possibilities. The more novel and pleasurable the vision, the more dopamine gets released, helping facilitate structural changes.

Writing New Personal Stories

In a sense, we are all living stories that express unique models of reality through linguistic narratives, metaphors, and symbols conveyed externally and internally. To evolve our identity, we must edit limiting old stories and get curious about composing empowering new personal storylines aligned with our highest hopes instead of our worst fears.

Vivid Simulation is a Magnetic

The more intensely and realistically we simulate what it feels like to already live from the inner state of our realized vision, using all our senses, the more tangibly it materializes. Since what we observe in reality depends on emotional states, consciously overriding habitual emotions with peak-state visualization creates a magnetic pull toward transformation by priming us to perceive cues and seize micro-opportunities that allow the vision to unfold one step at a time.

Rewriting Models of Reality Embedded in the Subconscious Mind

Suppose we want to break out of our old emotional ruts and conditioned models of reality. In that case, we must do the work to access and rewrite the underlying assumptions and automatic reactions rooted in the subconscious – our command headquarters.

Freeing Ourselves From the Trance

In his clinical practice utilizing principles from neuroscience and psychology, Dr. Dispenza has found that humans operate in a kind of waking trance through most of their lives – absorbed in recycled subconscious narratives, beliefs, judgments, and limited self-concepts powered by the primitive reptilian brain. Without realizing it, most perpetually reinforce a narrow slice of identity.

Meditation Accesses the Operating System

To override this trance and unlock the door to metamorphosis, Dr. Dispenza guides readers through meditation techniques that quiet the overactive conscious mind to allow access to deeper states where ingrained emotional patterns get encoded. Here, we can dismantle disempowering command programs before they sabotage conscious intentions.

By mastering the skill of observing our thinking, we locally believe every passing thought or longer automatic lets emotions whip us into reactionary states. This meta-awareness allows us to consciously select and install new self-concepts aligned with our higher vision. Repeated reinforcement drives it from an abstract idea into embodied nervous system knowing – our new reference point.

Retraining Implicit Assumptions

Most personal transformation workshops only impact the conscious mind. Participants feel temporarily inspired yet soon revert to old habits once the emotional high wears off. The hidden realm of the subconscious, where 95%+ of mental activity transpires, remains untouched. This is why many failed attempts leave people discouraged.

However, Dr. Dispenza reassures us that when we aqueously carry positive intentions into meditative territories, conscious goals can recondition directly. This book, “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself,” summary gives you the ammunition to get into the zone of being yourself.