Amazing New Frontier For Good - The New Frontier Series
From The Caring Heart with Dr. Joyce from Spokane Washington

“Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (I Pet. 1:22)

“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings…” (I Pet. 2:1)

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:” (I Pet. 3:8)

“Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” (I Pet. 4:9)

The above Bible verses are only a tiny portion of the many, many verses in the New Testament that instruct us as to how we are to relate to one another.  Other concepts which describe how we can best live together include fellowship, light, charity, sharing joys, sorrows, and burdens, humility, pleasing one’s neighbor, receiving one another, striving together, honesty, one spirit, mutual care, meekness, gentleness, respect, forbearing, forgiveness, long suffering, and patience.  To me, what is so incredibly fascinating is that the Biblical version of very good relating is essentially the same as the version for very healthy relating put forth recently by the researchers and clinicians of Interpersonal Neurobiology, Dr. Daniel Siegel and associates of UCLA.   

Modern day scientists can look at and understand the functioning of the human brain in ways Biblical writers could not.  In the two thousand or so intervening years, human knowledge has exploded in seemingly unlimited ways.  Pivotal in revealing new discoveries and insights have been the brain imagings, such as functional MRIs, which allow the recording of detailed brain functioning in live subjects, as it is happening.  Such scans have been helpful in understanding animal brain functioning also, used with dog subjects. NEVER BEFORE IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RACE HAS SUCH BRAIN FUNCTIONING INFORMATION BEEN AVAILABLE TO ACTUAL PEOPLE.  WOW!!

Also very interesting is the notion that, although a key basis of Interpersonal Neurobiology, called “Mindsight,” backs up Biblical instructions, UCLA child psychiatry department head Dr. Daniel Siegel and others maintain that Mindsight, itself, is NOT a religion.  In fact, they maintain it has nothing to do with religion.  It is MENTAL HYGIENE.  Well, ok, let’s talk about that.  Why should we be concerned about mental hygiene for the brain?  What good is it?  What is it for? We are so familiar with the need for care and management of our physical bodies, which starts off in infancy with inoculations against various diseases.  We are warned about the need for a healthy diet, and to not gain too much weight, and to make sure we brush and floss our teeth, and to make sure we get enough exercise.  Should we be likewise as concerned about the care and management of our brains?

YES!  The brain is a physical entity, needing plenty of good nutrition.  It needs much ongoing oxygen and blood flow, which good exercise can increase.  It needs enough sleep. Whereas mankind was convinced, for years, that the brain could not grow new nerve cells to replace those that were injured or had died, now the GOOD NEWS is that the brain can generate new neurons THROUGHOUT LIFE!  The brain acts kind of like a muscle.  If it is used, it gets stronger.  If not used, it gets weaker.  We’ve all experienced working hard to learn a new skill, which builds zillions of new nerve connections.  But. if we don’t use that skill for a period of time, we noticed we can’t do it nearly as well.  Nerve connections have decayed.  We would need to practice a bunch to build up our proficiency again.  In fact, it is normal for the brain to prune away unused or little used circuits - “use it, or lose it!”

Dr. Siegel and his associates maintain that we do have the ability to build new brain cells, new neurons.  We can give our brains wonderful “tune-ups.”  Siegel describes two basic pathways.  One is by developing “Mindsight” through practicing a variety of mind-focusing techniques.  The other is through engaging in relationships of ATTUNEMENT, where we are really “in-tune” with and connected with one another (as mandated by God in the New Testament to be of one mind and share our joys and sorrows).

The basic purpose of such brain work is to get the brain’s various parts all functional and operating in harmony, which could take some time depending upon how disharmonious it has been. Through practicing a variety of mind-focusing exercises, and through developing and experiencing attuned relatedness, new neurons can be generated, as well as so many more connections. Unused, or little used brain pathways can be opened up. Brain integration is what is wanted and needed, wherein all the different areas are functioning well, and are connected well to each other.  “Integration creates health and expands our sense of who we are in life, connecting us to others and a wider sense of ourselves. BEING COMPASSIONATE TO OTHERS, AND TO OURSELVES, IS A NATURAL OUTCOME OF THE HEALTHY DEVELOPMENT OF THE MIND.  KINDNESS AND COMPASSION ARE INTEGRATION MADE VISIBLE.”  (Siegel, The Developing Mind, p. 387. My added caps).

Here is an example from the horse world of the type of quality relatedness that is wanted, and needed.  Cowboy dressage has developed its own brand of training, showing, and standards.  The emphasis is on kindness and “soft feel.”  After completing their show patterns, each horse and rider couple must show the relaxation that comes from perfect understanding between the partners.  “Soft feel” is involved, wherein after the rider sends a message to the horse, the rider feels the horse send a message back.  What the show judges are looking for is the soft feel, the two-way relaxed communication between horse and rider, completing the riding pattern smoothly, willingly, and kindly.  “Again, the focus is on the relationship between rider and mount.  Cowboy dressage competitions reward kindness, and not only because riders who treat their horses with kindness and respect will get more cooperation from them.  The result of treating the horse fairly on a daily basis will indeed be evident in his performance, but what the dressage judge is looking for is the calm demeanor and attentive attitude that are the immediate response to active kindness.”  (Jessica Black, Equus, p. 66)

In this Amazing New Frontier series, I want to share with you what I’ve been able to learn about building better brains, with a decided emphasis on developing and strengthening empathy and compassion circuits.  Humans who are high on empathy and compassion are actively kind.  They don’t hurt animals, and they don’t hurt other humans, either.  Can we let our imaginations flow and envision the consequences of a substantial number of people taking seriously the need to build better brains of kindness, and actively working at what’s involved?  The horrific magnitude of human and animal abuse and deaths would no longer need to happen, at least at nowhere near the rate those awful things happen now. Think about it – CAN ANYTHING BE MORE IMPORTANT?

The new body of knowledge as to how the brain functions is indeed the Amazing New Frontier For Good!  We are understanding more and more of the details concerning how God created our brains to function.  I believe we really need to “listen up” and go accordingly.  If we don’t, the consequences will be similar to nobody taking antibiotics even after they had been discovered and put on the market – continued sickness and death.  In the case of the brain, probably about the same prevalence of horrible, unimaginable, painful happenings to innocent animals and people as is going on now will keep occurring.  How can we best get more and more people “turned on” to being perseveringly assertive about making positive changes in their own lives, to make a difference.  Everyone is important here.  Everyone is sorely needed!  Everyone needs to take active responsibility, as much as is possible. 


WISE SAYING – “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.” – Colette


Siegel, Daniel J. M.D, Mindsight, The New Science of Personal Transformation, Bantam Books.  (New York, 2011)

Black, Jessica, with Eitan and Debbie Beth-Halachmy. “Cowboy Dressage.”  Equus.  January 2016 Issue 460.

Siegel, Daniel J. M.D. The Developing Mind.  2nd Edition.  The Guilford Press (New York, 2012). 

COPYRIGHT – 2016 - Dr. Joyce The Caring Heart

Go on to: Do-It-Yourself Brain Tune-Up
Return to: The New Frontier Series