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The Table Video

Curt Thompson

A Pathway to Transformation

Psychiatrist / Author / Founder of Being Known
March 7, 2013

Curt Thompson M.D., author of Anatomy of the Soul, explains how spiritual and psychological change is facilitated by a concrete plan.


I think anything that we do in which we can incorporate things that make logical sense to us can be used to their advantage to help transform our life. For example, if I injure my shoulder and my physical therapist, after I see them, they say, “take this exercise home and do it three times a day.” I’m not very likely to do that unless they tell me, “and when you do this, this is what’s going “to happen to the tendons in your shoulder.”

We are much more likely to embody behavioral change when what we are doing with our bodies, whether that means, by my body, whether that means what I’m saying, what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, what I’m acting, if those things make sense to me, and if they make sense in terms of how I can literally apply them in the real world.

And so, for example, if someone says to me, the more you pay attention to certain things, the more you establish that those things will become more permanent, not just in your thinking, but literally in your brain, and then I’m invited to pay attention to other things that can change the nature of how my brain is wired, I’m much more likely to do that, especially if you give me concrete practices, such as meditation practices, for example, that can change the way my brain is wired.

Those, and many other elements of neuroscience I think become grist for the mill, whereby which I can begin to make sense out of why I do what I do. The reason we even talk about wanting transformation is because at some point in our life we can look around and say my life is doing things that I wish it weren’t doing and I want that to be different. In very concrete practical ways, how can I make that happen?

We hear preached, we hear taught all the time things like, be renewed, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I have no idea what that means in real life, but with what we’re discovering about the way neuroscience works, it gives us tools whereby which we can help people make sense of what that might actually mean in real time and space.