Bioplasticity is the ability for life to change through being mindful and not wilful. It’s a concept that many western minds don’t grasp. The wilful approach to life-change would be better called biomalleability since being malleable technically means changing shape with the force of a hammer. Bioplasticity is a relatively new word which has been used to describe the changing nature of all systems throughout the body, not just the brain (as in neuroplasticity).
I have taken the use of the word a step further, having it relate to the plastic nature of the world we live in, the world we see. This idea suggests that creating a new reality, a parallel reality can happen as a direct result of being mindful. This isn’t a new concept. The Christian apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans was quoted as saying, “And be not conformed to this world: but be (ye) transformed by the renewing of your mind…”. Paul was teaching this idea of bioplasticity, the idea that you can change your world through your transforming your mind.
That mindfulness brings change was also taught around that time when Jesus explained that when people can “see with their eyes, hear with their ears and understand with their hearts…” he would heal them. Seeing, hearing and understanding are fundamental to being mindful. Of course healing is another word for change. Sorry to go so churchy on you. I just want to point out that this concept of bioplasticity has been around for thousands of years.
Let’s take a moment to look at the difference between wilful change and mindful change. Wilful change requires personal will for change to happen. Typical of the approaches used in intervention and change management models like life coaching and counselling is the development of detailed strategies that make for real change. There will also be plans put in place for implementing the strategies, along with review and accountability measures to make sure that it all happens. While will continues to be exerted things stay on track, but the minute it fails, the wheels come off. Of course, the role of the coach/counsellor is to help motivate you to stay on task.
Mindful change is very similar up to a point. You identify the strategies for change, just as you do with wilful change, but that’s where the similarity ends. Having the strategies, you have to resist the desire to rush out and behave differently, to use personal will in this way. As I have discussed in previous blogs, this is where the lazy part of pragmatic laziness comes in. The only will being exerted in this model is to maintain being mindful. In my next blog I will go into more detail on that but let me touch on it here for a moment.
Both the desire to create and the creation of new strategies are acts for becoming more aware. This is the pragmatic part of change. When you are mindful you marry the possibility of integrating that awareness with what you observe happening around you. Prior to being mindful you would have related to your life experience through your habits and programming, which according to modern research is generally 95% of the time. These are the states of consciousness that Jesus refers to in his Parable of the Sower and what Buddha explained several hundred years earlier, where the ‘three poisons’ (ignorance, avoidance and attachment).
Being mindful means that instead of relating to life through habit and programming, you move what is subconscious into consciousness and hold that along side of your new strategies, your expanded awareness. In observing the options (that you have a choice), you then explore what the impact of each option would be, and how that would be serving. Serving for you, for others and for the planet. More about that next time.
Ok, so now you are being mindful, what next? You continue to be mindful. Repeating the same pattern of awareness in each moment and every encounter. As you become more aware of what is truly serving you, in other words, what is more self-loving, while being loving to others and the planet, you increasingly find yourself being aligned with the better serving way of living, which are the new strategies that emerged from your newly expanded awareness.
This is where bioplasticity happens. As you build new neural pathways through remembering your new strategies (being mindful) the world you encountered until recently begins to morph. Without you doing anything different, without you telling anyone what you have been doing, people and circumstances are less stressful. People that may have previously been dismissive or rude suddenly become friendly and engaging. Circumstances that left you feeling overwhelmed or exhausted are easily managed. You find yourself feeling free of burden, as if a weight has been taken off your shoulders. You are sleeping better, you have more energy, you are happier and relationships seem to be more joyful. You begin to see a new parallel reality emerge, and you realise haven’t had to bust your buns (be wilful) to achieve it.
When we are so used to having to ‘fix it’ to make things different, it is hard to believe that by just being mindful things automatically resolve. To the western mind this is counter intuitive, and as much as I can try to convince you that bioplasticity is real, the only way you can find out for yourself is to try it. Until then, you might have to try some good old faith. Of note, the approach to change taught by the apostle Paul (renewing the mind) also included the following “…that you might trust (prove) the will of God, which is good and acceptable and perfect.” This is then about trusting Divine Will and relinquishing personal will.
Check out the video blog to hear about some real life transformations that came through awareness and mindfulness.
The next blog I will be discussing mindfulness in greater detail.
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