Belief Processed in Sensory Cortex
(Workbook Page 49)
Look at graphic on page 49 of the Neuroplastic Transformation workbook. Belief is located in the sensory processing area of the brain. When we are born with our abundant, but sparsely connected set of nerve cells, we are truly helpless and dependent upon others. We wire by the sensory experiences of life and this wiring forms basic connections of the sensory and motor functions of our bodies. We begin to connect our nerve cells via our sense of touch, movement, position, pain, vibration, pleasure, temperature, physical comfort, sound, taste, scent, sight. It is by believing these experiences that we begin to reliably predict reality. The sensory experience of our bodies is sent to the sensory portions of the brains in the posterior parietal cortex, the primary somatosensory area and the secondary somatosensory area. These are major brain areas where we perceive pain, but other senses, as well. Our increasing sense of predictability, reliability and truth is intertwined with our sensory experience long before we have developed the ability to reason and think. Literally, what our senses teach us to believe is the basis of how we begin to define the world we live in. Our introduction into the bright, cold, painful, loud world, while being removed from the dark, warm, quiet, gestational comfort of the womb is our first brush with pain unpleasantness, and we greet it with a cry as we breathe in air for the first time. Our consciousness awakens into a riot of sensations, and new experiences come fast and furiously. From the very beginning the experiences of our senses lead to our beliefs and our beliefs will always have their underpinning in believing what we sense.
It is the belief that this pain can never be vanquished that strikes terror into the person who has it. The fear grows of the pain worsening and nothing working to relieve it. This pain takes over reason, problem solving, emotional regulation. It breaks the spirit. It’s very relentlessness fosters the belief that it can only be endured, at best controlled and at worst become an unbearable torment. Pleasure recedes to a distant memory and hopelessness establishes itself as a constant companion. Just as the other senses are diminished by constant pain, so thoughts themselves become focused only upon the pain and how to avoid it. Withdrawal into shrinking expectations and diminishing activity becomes the norm. Pain spikes strike randomly and often without any obvious precipitating event. The time of day, a change in the weather, extended sitting or standing, walking an extra distance all seem to be the cause of pain that not only comes, but lasts for hours, days, weeks and even months. Yet, new medical evaluations show no new damage. Pain from injuries of the past remain a constant companion and unremitting threat to predictability and comfort in the present. The longer this goes on, the more people believe that their pain is invincible and that it can only be relieved in a minimal fashion.