November 07, 2012

Trees in My Mind

The other day I had read an article online about how the human brain forms new thoughts and memories with the help of neurons.  They are not seen with the naked eye but with the right equipment and set up scientists can capture images of neurons hard at work.

In her fascinating book, Who Switched Off My Brain?, Dr. Caroline Leaf speaks extensively about the human brain and how thoughts are created.  And she goes further to explain how they affect our entire being.  Dr. Leaf is a Christian who holds a PHD in Communication Pathology and is a Cognitive Neuroscientist.  She defends the Word of God and praises the wisdom and scientific accuracy it holds.  Many times Dr. Leaf points to Jesus and tells readers how true His words are to our physical well-being.

One point she made really struck me.  Normally we think of thoughts as something intangible, something that can't truly be measured or observed in any way accept, perhaps by consequent actions.  But Dr. Leaf disagrees with that notion and says, " We can actually feel our thoughts through our emotions."  Meaning that our thoughts are not separate from any other part of our bodies.  It is a revolutionary way of thinking and is exactly what Jesus taught. 

Dr. Leaf points out that God continually uses the tree analogy over and over again throughout the Bible.  And she states that this has great significance because it is what thoughts truly look like.
Neurons are formed and grow when we have a thought.  They literally branch out and look like trees.  When a thought is focused on and brought back to the conscious mind repeatedly those thoughts grow extensively and look like forests.

Dr. Leaf carries two tree figures with her when she speaks.  One tree is black and gnarled.  This represents the negative thoughts.

 When we have negative thoughts they start to kill the healthy ones and sometimes whole "branches" (dendrites) fall off.  Negative thoughts also disrupt the delicate biochemical balance of our brain.  This in turn causes chaos in our bodies.

Negative thoughts can be very dangerous because it can now be scientifically proven that they are the main source for many current illnesses and mental disorders.  On top of this, negative thoughts spread like weeds.

Dr. Leaf explains that this is why God tells us to use His word to attack lies we believe and to forgive rather than seek vengeance.  Because God's word is literally a healing balm.

The second tree she presents is green and lush.

This one represents the positive thoughts.  The Bible brings peace and hope into the forefront of our minds (the frontal cortex) and this has a physical reaction in our brains.  It releases endorphins and other chemicals that encourage positive thoughts to be born and flourish.  They also physically melt down the negative thoughts!

" My child, pay attention to what I say.  Listen carefully to my words. Don't lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body."  ~ Proverbs 4:20-22
The Bible says a lot about allowing the word of God to penetrate the heart.  This is significant because scientists now know that there is a "mini brain" in our hearts.  It is literally a cluster of 40,000 nerve cells (neurons) that are directly linked to the brain.  The brain creates thoughts and sends them to this cluster in the heart to see if the thought is good or bad for the person.  It checks and advises.

If someone listens to the heart when it says something is good then the heart secretes hormones.  These chemicals put your entire body at ease and give it peace.  But if someone does not listen to the heart then the body and mind go into stress. 

When we think more positively we literally become smarter because the pathways leading to our memories are opened and in some cases even plumped up!  In contrast, when we are thinking negatively those same pathways are inflamed and shrink.  This is why we sometimes have trouble recalling what we learned for an exam.

Dr. Leaf explains that the word of God is incredibly advanced and that everything God tells us to do has a specific purpose to keep us safe, healthy, and performing at our optimal abilities.

" Don't be impressed by your own wisdom.  Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones."
~ Proverbs 3:8 

 "' For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'" 
~ Jeremiah 29:11

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  Science is slow to catch up to the Bible but it is happening.  May God bless you as you continue to study His word and may you find wisdom and health and joy in Him.


Denise said...

Be blessed.

Willa Nicole said...

This is simply amazing! Not only did I learn something about science, but you also pointed it all back to God in a strengthening, beautiful way. Thanks so much!

Rissi said...

Your blog colors are so pretty, Sincerity! Guess it's been a while since I've dropped by. :)

Brenda said...

Hi Sincerity. Isn't creation wonderful. The more God reveals His workmanship to humanity the more we can say 'It is a fool who says in his heart "There is no God".'

Sarah (Nikki) said...

this is so fascinating...and a great reminder He's an awesome Creator

Ima said...

Thanks. This way of interpret is fascinating.

T-Childs said...

I needed very much to hear this; often my brain seems clogged up with all kinds of negative thinking and negative patterns. I certainly believe that how you think does have a bearing on our mental health and physical health too.


Denise: Thank you. May God bless you as well.

Willa Nicole: I praise the Lord for the encouragement you received!

Rissi: Thank you. You are welcome anytime. :)


Brenda: Yes! Everything He has made is so amazing! He is so amazing and so beyond anything we can describe.

Sarah (Nikki): Yes, the Lord is the most awesome creator that could ever be!

Ima: The Lord is good. He desires that we find new life in His Word. Science can only confirm truth.


T-Childs: Yes, it is amazing how powerful our thinking habits affect every aspect of our lives. And, in turn, the lives of everyone around us.

Keep saturating your mind with the Bible and I'm certain you will find relief from negative thinking.

It has taken me years to get where I am. And I still have a ways to go but by God's grace I am improving. I'm learning to trust God more than what I see or feel.

Lizzy said...

This is so Amazing! I never new what thoughts looked like and I love that you shared these discoveries with us blog readers.

Thank you so much! May you be blessed. :D


Lizzy: I'm happy that people are being blessed by this information. Dr. Leaf is an amazing Christian and her ministry is certainly blessed.

Stephanie said...

Hi there :) I saw that you are following my blog - thank you! I am now following you and I look forward to visiting often. You have a beautiful blog that honors our Lord :) Blessings to you!



Stephanie: Thank you for visiting and for your kind words. Blessings to you as well. :)