The Resilient, Evolving Brain

Neurons in the Brain

The recent attention to hope is significant and important, so important that we added the State Of Mind of hope to our Emotional Gym

But those who write about and research hope are still fixated by how they cast it as a “resilient resistant” skill set.

“Resilient resistance” rather than the capacity to move through life transitions in ways that evoke growth and forward movement, growth.

The problem comes from seeing hope from a problem-oriented basis, as “resilience” to an adversity, rather than a symptom of a larger approach to life issues, life transitions, that is the outcome of the natural growth and evolution of the brain, of consciousness.

The issue is not whether you are resilient, but how you respond to novelty, and to what degree it’s threat or safety.

No one asks, is there a deeper issue than a response to adversity going on here, a response to life in general, and at particular time in life?

Adversity just draws attention to the need for something that is vital to moving through transition.

The real adversity is what draws your life into the future, and how are you cooperating with that unfolding change into a new consciousness, or holding onto an old way of seeing reality.  That has to affect the movement of information from right to left hemisphere, but there are only inklings of research there.

The framework is wrong and the focus on adversity is too narrow.

The term resilience suggests a special set of abilities or strengths, rather than a response to an expanding consciousness trying to question meaning and the core of life satisfaction.

The response to adversity is “to get better” or to “get over it and go on with life”, rather than, what do YOU want? How do you want to live, what is working in your life that is meaningful, and what is meaningful in your life that is an illusion and providing no “cookies in your cookie jar,” even though the jar seems really, really important?

The issue isn’t whether you “bounce back.”

The issue is how you want to live and why.  The issue is adjusting to unfolding neurocognitive development and what it means to think and reason differently, undoing self-sabotage in the process, if necessary.

Resilience is not one set of permanently learned, default skills; it is different things at different times in life.

You invent hope differently at different stages of your life, and the transitions of your life.  And what you invent has to come from someplace in you that “believes” something.

We despair when we cannot find with some degree of clarity what it is that we believe.

© Dr. William K. Larkin 

About the author

Dr. William K. Larkin
  • Mary Garvey Horst

    The aspect of this blog article on hope that pulls me in is that “resilience is not one set of permanently learned, default skills.” Further, that resilience is “different things at different times in life.” It would make sense to me that as one’s brain develops and evolves, so does his/her capacity for resilience and for a sense of hopefulness. Neither resilience nor hope are a static, one-dimensional package of skills that can be learned and repeatedly applied in much the same fashion throughout the course of one’s lifetime. If this were the case, the same formula would be replicated over and over again when applied to any of life’s challenges. What brought hope to the challenges of adolescence or young adulthood could equally be applied to the adversities of the mid-30’s or 40’s. This type of “fix-it” mentality might apply to repairing a car; however, definitely has it’s limitations when applied to an evolving human person. Hope is constantly informing one’s evolution in novel and creative ways. I prefer to embrace a sense of hopefulness that is flexible, organic, and growth-oriented that pervades my UpSpiral life orientation, rather than as a “resilient resistant” skill set set aside for problem-solving.

  • Dr. gloria wright

    Hope is important. It helps create a bridge to a more
    optimistic outcome when I am faced with adversity. Being a hopeless victim is not a place I want to be or live. Looking forward to creating and maintaining the life that I want is my goal.
    Dr. Fredrickson talked about broaden and build. Exercising
    loving-kindness meditations daily and being positive can build up into a
    reserve to draw on. I do think hope can be a part of that in that it moves us forward with optimism.
    Shifting my automatic responses from a negative frame to a
    positive one, has helped to build up my reserve. I don’t go to the worry state as often and focus on what I hope for to open me to possibilities.
    If we are truly evolving, we will always have transitions in
    our lives. Friedan and Langer both talk about the transitions in aging and how we can look forward to and use possibility as a guide to building a live where we can thrive in Act III of our lives. There are adjustments with age, but they don’t have to be bad. We can shift to focus on the strengths we have now and how we can use them to create a
    meaningful life for ourselves at any stage.
    “Same ole, same ole,” doesn’t serve us well in aging.
    Creating new neuropathways with optimism and positivity will move us forward and build up a positive reservoir to draw on. I use the motto, “I’m staying optimistic until proven otherwise!”

  • Dr. gloria wright

    “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words

    And never stops – at all.

    Living without hope is not an option
    for me. It’s what I focus on in the darker times in my life. It helps hold
    despair at bay. It’s like a life force pulling me forward when I want to dig my
    heels in for a pity party (which is futile).
    I said many times, if we are truly
    evolving, we are in constant transition. Changing jobs, moving to a new place,
    a dramatic shift in a relationship, illness, etc. are sometimes more
    challenging. Little transitions can be good for us and create novelty. Dr.
    Wayne Dyer wrote a book on doing things differently. He suggested brushing your
    teeth with the opposite hand; taking a different way to work, changing any
    routine to enhance novelty. Oddly enough these little changes can breathe life
    into hope.
    Hope is first cousins to having
    meaning in our life. When something is not going the way we think it “should,”
    or would like, what can we do to refocus on what gives meaning to our lives?
    What do we want and desire? What ignites our passion? What moves us beyond the
    surface to a deeper motivation and joy? Have hope – it’s a good companion!

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