Daniel Siegel, MD
6 Videos

Read Transcript

When you look across all cultures and you ask, What makes for a healthy mind to develop? Not just in western cultures, everyone. There is a commonality across all cultures and that's the experience whereby a child feels inside of herself that her inner life is filled by another person. All relationships, what we're really looking for is that our inner life is experienced, is felt by another human being.

How is the brain related to the mind? To our awareness and unawareness? Our subjected experience, feelings, thoughts, images, hopes, dreams, attitudes and intentions. All of that is the world of the mind is it just brain activity? Well for me this question became vitally important when I was addressing the question has a healthy mind developed.

So what do we know? We know the brain is composed of neurons up in the skull in support of glial cells. We know these hundred billion neurons in the skull part of the nervous connect extensively to neuro processing through out the body, to hormonal processing, to immune processing okay fine, to the cardinal vascular system so we can call this the embodied brain it is never just what is in the stored but even so its physiological process .

OK fine, what's the mind? A psychologist might say, well, it's thoughts and feelings. Of course they can study those and a biologist might say, well, it's the activity of the brain well when you see the numbers 100 billion neurons with an average connection of 10, 000 connections of the neurons then you have trillions of connections and a number of firing pattern, on or firing patterns just in the head part of the nerves system.

It is virtually infinite, it's about 10 X 10 a million times. When you add to that number the finding from the study of neuroplasticity how the brain changes in response to experience and the fact that we now know the brain is continually changing its inter connective structure through out the life span then you realize literally the number of firing patterns that the nervous system is capable of coming up with is infinite because the brain is always changing.

Now that reality means that we can empower people to use the focus of attention to change a sturture of the brain and in particular from an interpersonal Neurol biology point of view we say this way we want to empower poeple to create integrative changes in the brain which allow for more complex and sophisticated and compassionate ways of being in the world promoting linkages weather it in relationships or even in your own nervous system promoting integration promotes well being and automatically in the world when integration is made visible its finess, passion and so health and well being and kindness and passion really a part of the same process of integration.

The way the brain processes things is profoundly influenced by the context on the relationships in which that individual has existing in that moment. So the mind seen in context is both relational and embodied. It's embodied meaning it's just not in the skull but it's influenced by energy information patterns through out the whole body and it's embedded in a social world that even involves relationships not just with people you know but with our whole species and even the whole planet