Firing and Wiring – The Language of Transformation, Part III
Dr Joe Dispenza | 02 January 2024
For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about our exciting research on the language of transformation. In Part I, I introduced you to researcher Jeff King, Ed.D., and described a pilot study his team conducted on community members who have healed various types of cancer. In Part II, I expanded on some of the findings in that study – somatic and emotional feeling and the “temporal aspect” of language – and how we can apply those findings to this work.
In my Dr Joe Live conversation with Jeff back in October, he shared another fascinating commonality among subjects in the Stories of Transformation he and his team analyzed. And that’s the use of metaphor and storytelling to describe their healing experience.
Originally, I’d planned to explore both of these important aspects of our research in this post. But first, I want to really take the time to explore some fundamentals about why we reach for metaphor when trying to apply language to an experience that creates a personal transformation.
Associative Learning Through Metaphor
In my last post, I briefly mentioned how some people use somatic feeling metaphors to describe sensations in the body during a healing experience. Often, after they come out of a transformative meditation or Coherence Healing™ session, they use powerful images to try to convey what it felt like as energy moved through their bodies. “It felt like the top of my head blew off.” “It felt like my heart exploded wide open.” “I felt an intense electrical sensation – like I was plugged into a light socket.”
One reason we rely on metaphor is that it helps us build a model of understanding to piece together something unknown. It’s a form of what’s called associative learning. We have countless stored memories or pieces of knowledge that have created circuits in our brain. We encounter something memorable, or we take in a new lesson, and it makes a strong impression. Myriad brain circuits are created.
When we encounter something new, something that defies our previous known experience or established model of understanding, it’s natural to then search our memory stores – fire those familiar circuits – to look for something we can associate with it. When something lights up – a story; an image; a metaphor – that seems relatable to this new experience, we naturally “connect the dots” from the old image to the new.
Associative learning is just that: we connect something new to something we already understand, and it helps us begin to incorporate and integrate this new experience or piece of information. We associate what is familiar and stored in the brain with something new that we’re learning.
We’re accessing our database of knowns and firing our neurological networks to produce a new level of mind. When those neurons are firing, and already switched on, the brain can be more receptive to new information. By association, it’s more prone to add more new connections. And, over time, we evolve our model of understanding. In other words, learning is making the unknown known.
Stitching the Fabric of Understanding
Here's an example. Let’s say you want to learn about neurons, but you don’t know much about them. In fact, even the word itself is intimidating to you. But even if you have no understanding or images in your mind of what a neuron is (because you’ve never learned about them), what if I referenced what’s already stored in your brain – the known – to explain what you don’t yet understand – the unknown?
What if I told you neurons are like very tiny, leafless oak trees in the winter – with thousands of branches that receive information from other leafless oak trees? Now, imagine gently pulling one of those tiny trees out of the ground. The information received by the tree’s branches is passed along the trunk to its roots, and its roots are what send information to the branches of another tree. You can understand this image – because you can clearly summon the picture of those trees in your mind.
Let’s go further with another piece of known information already stored in your brain; one that evokes an image. Instead of seeing the trees as stiff and rigid, see them as alive and flexible – like the consistency of cooked spaghetti. Or something like a shimmering network of densely packed elastic webs constantly moving and connecting – and reconnecting – with each other. Picture them like a microscopic, three-dimensional tapestry of fine, electrically activated filaments and threads woven together.
Now, if I were to ask you to describe a neuron to me, you’d be able to summon some of those familiar images – or you might use one of your own, pulled from your storehouse of information – to explain it.
Using associative learning, we took a few metaphors (information already stored in the brain’s hardware) and we got networks of neurons – in the form of stored memories – firing together. Once enough neurons fire together, working in tandem, we can add a new “stitch” into the three-dimensional tapestry of your gray matter. That’s how we learn new information.
Get the brain firing, and it’s easier to learn by using knowns to understand unknowns. This law is another example of what’s known as Hebbian learning.
Telling Our Stories. Bridging the Gap.
Imagine having an experience that’s completely outside the realm of anything you’ve experienced before. Outside anything you’ve learned prior to that moment. The neural networks you’ve formed over your entire lifetime, as the identity called “you,” have no reference in your three-dimensional life experience up to that point.
Imagine a profound inner experience, revelation, download, or awakening transcendent of any sensory event in your life … one that offers a portal through which you emerge an entirely different person than who you were before.
How do you understand what’s happened to you? How do you describe it to others to help them understand the before and after – the “old you” and the “new you”?
This is where everything we’ve discussed about the language of transformation comes into play. This is where, using all of our findings thus far – the language of feelings, the “temporal aspect,” and metaphor – we find a way to tell our story that people can relate to. And, in doing so, we begin to build a bridge from the known to the unknown.
Now, we’re better equipped to understand the power and importance of storytelling in this work. And that’s what we’ll explore in Part IV.
Curious about associative learning? Learn more in Dr Joe’s book, “Evolve Your Brain.”