A Focus On The Triune Brain


Last month I focused on some ancient philosophy so I thought today I would talk about something more modern. The Triune brain is a model for the evolution of the brain and behavior. It has the idea of the following three minds.

(Below is from http://www.mybrainnotes.com/evolution-brain-maclean.html) “Protoreptilian formation (including basal ganglia, mid-brain, and brainstem): Genetically encoded instinctual action plans related to primitive survival issues such as exploration, feeding, aggression, dominance, and sexuality.

Paleomammalian formation (including the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus and other structures in the so called limbic system): Innate emotional and motivational systems shape behavioral responses to incoming stimuli based on instincts and past experience; mediates the social emotions, playfulness, and maternal nurturance.

Neomammalian formation (neocortex): Declarative Knowledge about the world derived especially from sight, sound and touch.”

These three basic minds make up what our brain does each day and at any time one of these parts of our brain is putting out thought and processing information. At an average moment they each work together, coexisting and helping us through the day. If we hear something we process it as information, the emotion it brings, and its relationship to our survival. At some point, something will happen to trigger one mind and it will dominate our action for some time. If you say someone has a fight or flight response, that would be an example of the Protoreptilian mind temporarily taking over. If you hear shocking news, suddenly become sad and cry that is an example of the Paleomammalian mind taking over.

Someone under the strong effect of an emotion (mania, depression) has no basis in the “Declarative Knowledge” of the world or survival instinct because that part of the mind is separate and lives in another place. That is why people do stupid/crazy/unbelievable things when under the effect of emotions.

How does this apply to Pa Kua? Well, we study the three minds under the names Sky (Neomammalian), Man(Paleomammalian), Earth(Protoreptilian). In the internal arts like Tai Chi & Chinese Yoga we study the minds and how they effect us and we work to spend some or all of the class under the effect of the Sky (Neomammalian) mind. That mind allows us to understand our stress, sadness, happiness, or anything else in a clear way and to evaluate our own self without the conflicts that come with emotion, sexual desire, or survival.

It is important to try to spend some time every day in the sky mind through meditation practice (Tai Chi, breathing, yoga) so that you don’t live under the stress of life and have every day be ruled the the emotional or fear minds.

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. Plato

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/emotion.html

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, knowledge.


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Master Mo Williams was born in a small town in Washington State where he spent his days camping, hiking, and backpacking. After moving to Los Angeles, he discovered Pa Kua and it changed his life. He credits his practice with both his physical and mental successes. More than that, he found a home in World Pa Kua that gave him a purpose. Master Williams teaches both adults and kids. He holds a black belt in martial arts and is currently training for his second black belt in weapons. As the newest addition to the team, Master Williams hopes to give kids and adults a safe place where they can discover their true selves.

“You don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to let anxiety control your life. We all deserve to be treated with respect and to hold our heads up high. That’s what I want each of my students to understand.”