The Thalamic Pause: Whole Brain Awareness

You are always invited, while you listen/read/watch, any time really, to slow and deepen your breathing. Improve your posture transferring support from the muscular system to the skeletal structure. Allow the weight of the body to pour downward into the support of the earth, making this a time of rejuvenation as well as learning.*

When someone speaks, the brain activates, creating ‘meaning’ . The synapses in the brain connect to form our understanding of an experience, or of what we ‘think’ was said. Thought, creating meaning, takes time. Pathways previously connected, connect faster than new connections, which form relatively slowly and require more energy / effort and time. All of us, the species, as a survival mechanism, tend to be victim to our reactivity. We ‘shoot first and ask questions afterwards’. Maybe sometimes, but not usually, the best policy.

When water flows down a soft hillside it carves gullies into the hillside. From then on whenever water flows down that hillside, it tends to flow down the same gullies. The Mississippi River is a huge gully, where water flow follows an established path. The energy of thought also follows established patterns. The ‘meaning we make’ becomes by default our understanding of the world, out of which all our decisions and strategies are designed. Our understandings, our beliefs, can be as fixed as a river’s path and seemingly impossible to change. Then we no longer actually ‘think’ creatively. Instead, we become prisoners of our own thoughts, and our past understandings.       (see earlier post, Create Your Own Star Map.)

A man named Alfred Korzybski, put forward the concept of the ‘Semantic Pause’, also called the ‘Thalamic Pause’. The Thalamic Pause teaches, that, as you give thought time, understanding begins to take on different or deeper meaning.

The Thalamic Pause implies a shift in thinking. Thinking, which eventually includes feeling, produces an increasingly holistic picture that we draw of the world. Given time, understanding goes from  first impressions about something, to a deeper, a more implicate level of meaning, value or significance to our lives.

Paying attention to how we ascertain value, how we make meaning, empowers creativity, Creativity in turn, makes us more effective in decision-making, and life in general. So, although a bit abstract, I’m hoping this knowledge will help increase your self-reflectivity. The past  then, rather than a limitation, becomes an aid in being able to change and correct course, to creatively and intelligently design your life.


{Interested in a deeper understanding of the possibilities implied? Harmony in Creativity, Energy and Human Brain Function: The Thalamic Discourses      is available as a free download

Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski ([kɔˈʐɨpski]; July 3, 1879 – March 1, 1950) was a Polish-American independent scholar who developed a field called general semantics, which he viewed as both distinct from, and more encompassing than, the field of semantics. He argued that human knowledge of the world is limited both by the human nervous system and the languages humans have developed, and thus no one can have direct access to reality, given that the most we can know is that which is filtered through the brain’s responses to reality. His best known dictum is “The map is not the territory“.

In the nervous system, a synapse[1] is a structure that permits a neuron (or nerve cell) to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron. Some authors generalize this concept to include the communication from a neuron to any other cell type,[2] such as to a motor cell, although such non-neuronal contacts may be referred to as junctions (a historically older term).