The Brain's Control Center

Limited Capacity

Overview Function Levels Capacity Training Hierarchy

The control center is like a fuse – if the current gets too strong the weakest link will get fried. It has limited capacity.

The control center is like an amplifier – if emotions get too loud it will distort. Everyone has limited capacity.

The control center is like a bridge – you depend on it to carry the relationship loads between people. It makes business possible when it is strong enough but when it collapses we are really in a mess.

The control center is like a computer – when you exceed the speed, memory or disk size it no longer runs smoothly and important data gets lost, conclusions come out wrong, when it really gets bad you get a shut down and a nasty message when it finally starts up again.

The control center is like a bucket – when you try to put in more than its capacity it starts to spill out everywhere.

The control center is like a muscle  - it can be flexible, get in a cramp, get stronger and bigger if you train it, needs good nutrition, can only lift so much, can be poisoned or injured and some people naturally have bigger ones than others. 

The control center is like a mirror – it reflects how other minds see us and if it is warped it reflects a crooked image of what is in other peoples minds. We call this bad or leaky mindsight.

The control center is like a simulator – it allows us to predict what it would feel like in our bodies if we did or did not act certain ways. When it runs well we can find the least painful path, least damaging solution, the most desirable outcome, understand what others feel and have motivation when we need it. When the control center is overloaded, we get answers too slowly, stay in the past instead of the present, let the guard shack run the show, lose the capacity to quiet our feelings and can’t achieve a mutual-mind with others that would stabilize us again.

Capacity is developed by practicing joy with other people. Any time we amplify joy in a mutual-mind state with someone we build our control center capacity. The odd part is that it is really the quieting after the joy that is most helpful as it causes us to do two things: first it strengthens the serotonin system in the brain and second, it teaches us to release serotonin on demand. This way we learn to quiet bigger and bigger signals whenever the need arises. This makes us resilient and strong.

For a good description of limited capacity you can see a portion of a lecture by Dr. Karl Lehman or see the whole subject on his DVD.