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The publisher of The Little Book of Big Change asked me to write something for their blog about the lower brain.

I was a little hesitant.

Not because an understanding of the brain isn’t super interesting. It is.

And seeing how the brain works in a deeper, more insightful way–beyond the mechanics–can be incredibly freeing. It was for me.

The reason I was hesitant is because I never want people to think that the brain is IT.  There’s much more to see beyond the brain and how it works. Like, a lot more.

Before-the-brain…what powers the brain…is where it’s really at. But the brain is pretty incredible too, so I wrote the article below that I’m sharing here with this rather large caveat.

The brain is a machine. The wisdom that created this machine–that powers this machine–is miraculous and it’s where I beg you to look…

…after this short, insightful article about how habits live and die in the brain.


Your brain is the most remarkable machine on earth.

It is capable of incredible feats of intellect, memory, and logic. It keeps your body humming along by habitually beating your heart, breathing your lungs, and digesting your lunch while you get to focus on which shoes to wear, finishing that work project in time for the meeting, and voting for the winner of America’s Got Talent.

The sole purpose of your lower brain is to keep you alive using as little energy as possible. You get to use that extra energy for more fun, optional things in life.

It’s an incredibly kind design, isn’t it? And your lower brain is amazing at its job. As far as machines go, it’s the best. But because your lower brain is a computer it has some limitations too.

The biggest limitation is that while your lower brain is really smart, it’s not all that wise. It is great at machine-like qualities like consistency and efficiency, but it is not so good at determining which habits it should keep around consistently.

Your lower brain doesn’t distinguish habits that keep you alive from habits that hurt you. It is a habit-creating, habit-maintaining powerhouse with little discrimination. So things like drinking, smoking, overeating, shopping, hoarding, and gambling done consistently can begin to look necessary for survival to your lower brain.

This might sound like bad news for you. But it’s actually not bad at all when you understand how it works.

See, just like your lower brain is smart but not wise, it’s also loud and persistent but not powerful in and of itself. When it comes to activities that require more voluntary choices and coordinated muscle movements, your lower brain can’t coordinate those.

It is all bark and no bite.

The best it can do is create urges and pulls toward various behaviors. It can’t make you actually act though because your higher brain is needed for that.

When you don’t know better, your lower brain feels extremely powerful. You innocently give into the urges and cravings it produces because it doesn’t feel as if you have a choice. But when you understand how it works, you see that your lower brain is
powerless. You don’t have to give into its demands.

When you don’t, it eventually stops demanding.

My favorite metaphor for how this works is that of a backseat passenger screaming at you while you are behind the wheel of a car. That loud, persistent guy in the backseat can scream all he wants, but he can’t do a thing—he’s in the backseat. You are the

Can you begin to get a feel for the freedom there is in understanding how your lower brain works? Anything can show up in your experience…thoughts, feelings, cravings, urges…and you don’t have to act on any of them.

When you see them for what they are, you see that they never had the power we thought they did.

We’ve been free all along.

Please enjoy the animation below as an illustration of how your lower brain works.

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Okay guys, here’s how we’re going to end this senseless violence nonsense.  

I have a plan. And it includes you, so listen up.

I need you to realize the truth about your human experience and your spiritual essence—what is real and what isn’t—as deeply and fully and as you can.

I know that sounds bossy. And I get that pressure isn’t conducive to deeply realizing the true nature of all humans.

And you know I wouldn’t typically tell you what you have to do, but this is getting ridiculous. Especially given that there is a ridiculously simple solution.

I’m not asking you to become a crazy enlightened guru or shun the physical world. You can still swear, get angry, and follow the Kardashians if that’s your thing.

I am asking you to decide that you’re truly ready to set aside your skepticism and the misunderstandings that have been passed down about how the human experience works (which aren’t even your beliefs, by the way –you “caught” them, similar to how you catch a cold). I am asking you to open your mind to a truth beyond the appearance of things.

I’m asking you to LISTEN. Like seriously, really, deeply listen to something other than your own beliefs and experiences.

That’s Step One in how we’re going to turn this ship around. You’re going to make it your mission to see that YOU are well.

Don’t worry about anyone else. Be selfish. The more relaxed and at peace you are, the more you are literally saving lives and benefitting all of humanity.

One rainy Saturday when my kids were bored and grumbly, I proposed a challenge.

I challenged them to do whatever it took to feel as happy as they could. I wouldn’t take them anywhere or buy them anything. Nothing about the circumstances would change. They were challenged to have the most fun they could possibly have, right where they were.

Being the competitive, innately healthy little creatures they are, they rocked the challenge.

Now I need you to take on your own version of this challenge.

Make it your number one priority to be at peace.  Not by drinking more wine or putting your comfy pants on. Real peace. Inside-out, genuine, authentic peace. Peace of mind. Peace in your heart. 

Get curious about where peace comes from. Get curious about where rage comes from. What is rage? How does it work? What is peace, really?

What do free, peaceful, unencumbered people see that perhaps you don’t? (There’s a new Freedom Series beginning next week where I’ve recorded conversations with some of these people. I give you these for free. They are an excellent start.)

Relax. Take a deep breath and notice what’s there when your mind stops talk, talk, talking all the time.

Feel into the “field beyond ideas of and wrongdoing rightdoing” and know that truth lies right there. YOU are there. That’s home.

The excitement, the rage, the insecurity, the feelings of injustice, victimhood, and poor me…they come and go. They don’t have anything at all to do with who you are. When you finally see that, you’ll stop identifying with them and your experience will transform.

Your life will transform.

That place in you is shared with every single human who ever walked the face of the earth. From that place, we are all the same. All one.

So that’s Step One. It’s not as hard as it may sound. If I could touch it through panic and self-destruction, you can too.

You can see these truths and when you do, they will change your life.

Now for Step Two. Step Two is fun and completely effortless.

Discover that the more you’re in your own peaceful field, the more you naturally lead others there.

You don’t have to talk about a field. You don’t have to publicly say the word “spiritual” if you think that makes you sound soft.

You will help others wake up to who they truly are when you live from that place within yourself.

You’ll hug your kids longer and tighter. You’ll experience far more moments of connection and closeness with everyone in your life.

Your antennae will naturally be up.  Living this understanding yourself, you’ll be amazed at how the world around you appears to change.

Your choices will move in the direction of peace, love, and compassion. People who are hurting will gravitate to you because you won’t pity them or worry about them. You’ll see their resilience and health. Your place of peace will awaken their place of peace.

This is the effect you have on the world when YOU realize the truth of who YOU are.

We need you on board.

We need you on board with how the mind works so that when your neighbor believes that the world is out to get him, and he’ll “show them”, you’ll know otherwise. Your peace will naturally wake up his peace.

We need you on board so that when people blame laws, values, history, or the President, you’ll know otherwise. You will help them see that laws, values, history, and Presidents can’t create in-this-moment suffering.

We need you on board so that when “solutions” like bigger prisons and stronger pharmaceuticals come up, you will know otherwise. When “causes” like drug abuse and trauma come up, you’ll see a more complete picture.

We need a critical mass.

So no more half-listening, okay? No “dabbling” in The Principles. No more big buts.

I promise you, it’s not tough to grasp when you let yourself go beyond what you’ve always thought. You know this already.

The solution already exists. It’s in that field.

Meet you there?


The Little School of Big Change is just one way to see these truths more deeply.

There are many others ways, and many that are completely free. There are now countless free videos, webinars, books, articles…

Those of us who share this understanding put out so much free content because we deeply believe in this solution.

There are truly no obstacles to your ability to live in peace.

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Your But Is Too Big

September 28, 2017

When I was seven or eight years old, I got to pick out two flavored lip balms from my mom’s Avon catalog. The flavors I chose were Banana Split and Strawberry Shortcake.  The lip balms came in tubes just like real, grown up lipstick. This was the highlight of my summer, no kidding. The fancy-looking […]

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Sadness, Humility and the Truth about What’s Under the Bed

September 21, 2017

I’m not typically sad.   Of course I experience up and down moods like anyone, but depressed isn’t a feeling that visits very often. Except for this past summer. Off and on, here or there. There was a depth to my moods that I can’t remember experiencing in the past. A flat feeling that I recognized […]

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The Implications of Being Born Habit-Free

September 14, 2017

Back in June I was a guest on Human Being TV, which is a great little YouTube channel devoted to sharing the Three Principles understanding. We talked about the fact that we are born habit-free, with a design based on our shared, innate health. We talked about what habits really are and how change really […]

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Why Tools and Practices Are Nice, but They Aren’t ‘It’.

September 7, 2017

I spent years feeling less-than because I wasn’t a regular meditator.  (Wait…you too?) It just seemed so appealing. So magical. There you are in stillness, tapped into something far deeper than your typical, mind-manufactured experience. Feeling at one with all of life, in complete peace and tranquility. Insights and creative ideas flowing through you. Wayne […]

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You Can’t Heal Trauma or Rewire your Brain

August 31, 2017

Three of Gwen’s immediate family members died, and two of her remaining family members cut off their relationship with her, within a 10-month time span.  A month after the third death she asked the not-at-all-rhetorical question, “How do I get over this?” “What do I do? How do I heal myself from the trauma of […]

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You Don’t Have an Inner Pig. Your Habit is Actually Your Best Friend.

August 24, 2017

There are several books out there who talk about your habit—and the thoughts and feelings that lead you to engage in your habit—as the enemy. They talk about a monster, saboteur, beast, or pig that (metaphorically, of course) lives within you and leads you to into your habit over and over. There is so much […]

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Love Comes More Naturally than its Opposite

August 17, 2017

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.  People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” –Nelson Mandela     I […]

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When Seeing Life as Black-or-White is Incredibly Insightful

August 10, 2017

Life isn’t really black-or-white…but seeing it that way has been one of the most helpful things I’ve ever done. Here’s the either/or I’d like you to consider: We’re either in life, in the moment, immersed and present…that’s one end of the spectrum. Or we’re in our heads, in our personal thought systems and our subjective […]

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