Updated: Aug 22, 2019
How your mind and brain work together to make your dreams and aspirations a reality.
The secret to creating the life you want is focused intention. At the heart of the Intention Activation Model (I-AM) detailed in the book Intention Matters is the role of your mind and brain in making your dream or wish a reality.
The subject of how your mind shapes your reality, and the way in which your brain supports your body is a topic which has mystified thinkers throughout human history. Even today, with all the scientific studies and advances in neuroscience, there is still confusion.
This blog does not attempt to review or resolve these issues, but an understanding of the debate will help you to utilise the I-AM and work more effectively with intentions.
Scientists agree that your mind, your conscious experience of the world around you (the environment) impacts on your brain. What has been learned over the last few decades of neuroscience research is that the brain has a greater ability to adapt and develop in adulthood than previously thought.
The mind – a definition
There is no single, universally-agreed definition of ‘the mind’. According to the Oxford dictionary,
the mind is “the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought.”
I think of the mind as the unlimited creative force utilising the brain to make things happen. The mind aids the brain, enabling consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory.
The brain – a definition
Your brain is an organ located within the skull, which receives, organises, and distributes information. It can be thought of as ‘hardware’ or to use a more technical phrase, the “wetware” of your conscious experience.
Your brain is made up of neurons, glia, blood vessels, fluid-filled ventricles and other structures which, when working in harmony, provide us with a functioning body and an experience of being conscious. The brain is the centre of all functions, and without the brain, it is impossible to survive.
The mind is not physical. It turns chemical/electrical impulses into mental experiences (images or thoughts). It uses the information gathered to enable you to become consciously aware of the world and your experiences, thoughts and feelings. It possesses a sixth sense—introspection, (exploring what you are thinking or feeling), which is not specifically linked to one area of your brain. It is capable of mental time-travel (remembering things that happened in the past, planning or anticipating your future). The mind interprets and shapes your reality via thoughts and feelings, and is responsible for tasking your brain (directs voluntary thoughts, speech and action).
The brain is physical hardware (it occupies space in your skull). It transmits information via chemical impulses. It gathers information via your five senses, linking it to existing information stored in your brain. It stores and retrieves information. The brain has five distinct regions dedicated to processing incoming information from each of your five senses. It can only operate in the present moment. It receives commands from your mind and is activated or engaged by your mind.
In many ways, the mind is the master, whilst the brain acts as your humble servant.
Understanding some basics on how the mind and brain work together will help you to understand and work with intention. Thoughts that occur in your mind task your brain.
So let's say you want to get a new job....
You identify the job that you want with every fibre of your body – you have a heartfelt, genuine desire to have that new job.
Your mind processes your desire for the job and tests your belief that it is possible. If the belief is there your mind allocates attention and activates the will. Exactly how you are going to get the job does not matter at this stage.
Your mind tasks your brain, which harnesses various cognitive processes. The key cognitive processes your brain may trigger:
Default mode network
Much of the work of your brain that leads to an intention becoming a reality may occur at an unconscious level. Your brain will be vigilant for any opportunity that may lead to the delivery of your intention. This is one of the reasons why goal setting, over striving and over planning [link to goal setting blog] can stop you from getting what you want.
Setting an intention, holding it lightly and allowing the mind and brain to work together can lead to your intention taking form in powerful, often unexpected ways that could not have been foreseen.
We all have a mind. We all have a brain. Why not use them both to create the things you most want from life? Setting an intention is free, and it's available to all of us.
What's your intention right now?
If the neuroscience of intention interests you, Chapter 3 of Intention Matters details this in more depth and provides a diagram of the I-AM model.