A poem written in the 1860s by the remarkable Emily Dickinson reminds us of what resides in our skulls.
The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—
The Brain is deeper than the sea—
For—hold them—Blue to Blue—
The one the other will absorb….
In a conversation with Nautilus on 14th October 2020, the neuroscientist David Eagleman says: “Every moment of your life, your brain is rewiring. You’ve got 86 billion neurons and a fraction of a quadrillion connections between them. These vast seas of connections are constantly changing their strength, and they’re unconnecting and reconnecting elsewhere. It’s why you are a slightly different person than you were a week ago or a year ago.”
This rewiring, the psychologist Rick Hanson, Fellow at the University of California (Berkeley) tells us, is something we can participate in.
In “Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom”, Rick writes: “Every day, ordinary activities….contain dozens of opportunities to change your brain from the inside-out. You really do have the power, which is a wonderful thing in a world full of forces beyond your control.”
Pointing out the roles of consistent intention and perseverance (in the rewiring), Rick tells us: “A single raindrop doesn’t have much effect, but if you have enough raindrops….you can carve a Grand Canyon.”
Swami Vivekananda ends a letter (“The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”) written on 29th September 1894 with a message encouraging us in this effort to change ourselves for the better: “….we must struggle all our lives….Have patience and work. Save yourself by yourself.” Elsewhere he exhorts us to “struggle on in patience, and the sun will rise for you.”