Meeting No. 2
Repatterning Prenatal Limitations

An account of the second of four meetings between the author and the esteemed professor Quang Lee Hu during his brief visit to the United States*

"Psychology is formed by physiology," he urged, banging his fist on the table. "For God sakes, the psyche is created by and flows from the body!" The hot sauce bottle, as he pounded the table, tipped from its base and fell over.

Imagine you were born with a withered arm. A WITHERED ARM! So you already have a fundamental basic experience of the world as asymmetrical. Perfect balance for you, a never-ending sequence of learned behavior subsequent to primal adaptations to the dry world outside the womb, is different for you than for a two-handed man. A whole world exists beyond your withered arm, out of reach to you. So your psyche adapts. It closes off possibilities. Part of your psychological envelope collapses. By necessity a corresponding experience occurs on the other side. You do MORE things with your good hand. You adapt. Consciously and unconsciously your whole world orients because of the arm.

He was eating his burrito with a fork in each hand. The pace at which he ate increased with the enthusiasm of his demeanor, talking and eating faster and faster without loosing concentration or spilling a drop.

This was the notable professor Quang Lee Hu from Qinghai Province China, who reached world notoriety after publishing his impressive cellular research in Beijing and was now lecturing and studying on a special visa at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Department of Cellular Biology. A pioneer in certain aspects of the implanting blastocyst and its molecular 'cross-talk' with the epithelial surface of the mother's uterus, he also considered himself an amateur psychologist.

"It's not just psychological orientation," now the hot sauce was drowning his burrito with such excess I could feel the sting of it in my eyes.

The whole organism is affected, 100 trillion cells, and the psychology is embedded in each and every one of them just as the organisms so-called "genetic code" is embedded in each and every one of them. The mind exists throughout the body, not just in the brain, and the mind exists from the beginning, not just at some arbitrary time such as after the neonate has exited the mother's body or such as when the myelin sheaths have matured throughout the system. You think a one-month premature baby is any more sentient than an 8-month-old prenate? Of course not. But the brain, your brain and the psyche, your psyche, and the mind in each and every cell of your body accommodates the withered arm, accommodates the shrunken psychological envelope on the one side and the expanded envelope on the other. Hundreds of millions of neurons have submitted to the doctrine. Bundles of nerves continue the circumstance, reinforce it, delineate it, capture it for God sakes! This brain is then stuck, the psychology of the withered arm is constellated. You don't look in the direction of the withered arm's shrunken envelope for options or possibilities because your brain and your psyche are both programmed, you've become hardened in one modality which in turn affects all the other modalities. Your brain is programmed, your mind is programmed, your neurology and the electric energy throughout your system, as plastic as it is, is fixated in areas because of your arm!

We were eating lunch at Chipotle on Colorado Boulevard near the Health Sciences Center during the second of four organized interviews. The first consisted mostly of one tirade after another about travel inconveniences, visa complications, Cino/American relationships, and political intrigue at the center.

Some interns, nurses, and students at nearby tables seemed to be feigning conversation while not so subtly eavesdropping. The professor's charming accent was accentuated by his high-pitched voice which blasted from a diminutive creature no larger than a middle-school boy who could seemingly consume his weight in burritos and his IQ in hot sauce. Furthermore, his celebrity status, well established only in this small world of certain researchers and Nobel prize candidates, was not lost on the professor himself who exuded the stature and presentation of a mega star.

You will not easily turn right. You will not pick a flower to your right, you will never play the drums, you will not orient into the collapsed part of your envelope because of your poor withered arm my friend, because of your brain, your psyche, and parts of your mind which operate within the body. The arm has frozen impressionable parts of you into a template, not to mention the innumerable affects and adaptations affiliated with the SHAME and self esteem issues you carry because of the arm.

By now even the people in line waiting to order were listening.

Now the way you move throughout the world, the choices you make, the possibilities you allow yourself are all colored by your arm. Almost all of this is unconscious and automatic too:  you don't think and decide with conscious deliberation each micro moment about how your life is governed by the arm––it JUST IS. And you are hardwired! The neuron bundles of your brain are in agreement, and so are all their friends and neighbors and distant relatives all over the landscape of your brain. Billions of neurons all firing away, billions of connections blasting through established pathways, channels, and superhighways, and unless something changes them, then everything stays just the way it is.

He slammed his palm against his temple. "This is the example of physiology controlling the psyche and limiting possibilities. But for God sakes the brain remains plastic, believe it or not, and things can change.

Then he became quiet and intense, still eating with both hands, but talking in a rapid-fire whisper. I couldn't figure out how he could swallow and breathe while sustaining his insect-like chatter.

Now here's what you can do with yourself. Here's what I could do with you. This will change your life forever. It will change you in every possible way. I would repattern your whole psyche. Your psyche is currently fixated with a withered arm, and all that goes with it, but when you re-pattern you will grow without losing the positive things you have. Your compensatory development and adaptations are excellent skills and great friends to you. Your left arm will stay strong, your current ways of going through the world in order to be healthy, happy, successful and normal do not disappear. You get to keep them! Only now you change everything that is negative. Your negative psyche. Your negative mind. Who you would consider asking out on a date. How you feel about yourself. What you wear. You change yourself holographically including your internal image and experience of yourself. Here's what you need to do. Are you going to eat that?

He was pointing at my burrito which I hardly had touched. I slid it across to him believing in the moment that if he kept eating he would keep talking. Our last meeting had ended abruptly when we both finished our burritos.

After distributing a glistening blanket of hot sauce, he got both of his forks going again. He started eating on the end I had eaten, and as an intern in a lab coat contracted slightly watching this, he continued,

Here's what you do. You REPATTERN! You repattern everything. I'm going to take you and put you in front of a drum kit. I will take duct tape and tape your good left arm to your side. Then I'm going to take the tape and tape a drumstick to the withered hand of your withered arm and tell you PLAY. And you will play and play and PLAY! Do you see? Do you get this my boy? You will own that withered arm. You will swing your shoulders and get that drumstick flinging through the air until it hits the skin of a drum head. And the first time that sound bangs out you will feel something:  new pathways of neurons will be talking in your brain. Just as though a little gossamer thread has grown out of itself recruiting nerve cell neighbors to assemble an emergent neurologic network like spider-web silk. You've found your withered arm and you've made contact with something. The sound of that drum will slap its way into your cranium and a NEW neurologic pathway will flash through your brain, and a new neuron bundle will bud with possibilities. You understand? The possibility! You see? And you'll bend once again, lean a little, trust your balance, swing your shoulders, and WHAM! You've done it again. And that pathway is a little thicker, more competent, and it's connected up a little better. Every time you try it now you can hit the drum. And you have that feeling like when you're learning something new and you realize you can do it. Now you've got the whole somatic piece too, your whole body is getting it. And you love it man, and new neurons are getting recruited, and sleepy systems are waking up with possibility, and you play. You see your arm, and you see the drum, and you see the stick flying through the air, and so your whole visual cortex is changing too. It is seeing something brand new––and it is a part of you. You are a different you. Everything is changing. Now you learn to hit another drum, the snare; then the big tom; then the ride cymbal; then the crash cymbal. And next you get your whole body going so you're playing in rhythm. You're playing the drums with your withered arm, and your body is swaying and writhing and pumping up and down, and that withered arm is flying around like a lasso, and everything has changed.

His arms and forks were whipping through the air like a symphony conductor. I must say that this wild little man amazed me with his relationship to food, for throughout all this peripatetic activity and turbo-charged lecturing he never spilled a drop of sauce or a grain of rice. There was no mess anywhere, not a pinto bean on the table, not a shred of cheese on his tie. It all went in. And never did a droplet of anything come flying out of his mouth as he bellowed and chattered.

"You see my boy . . . . " I don't know why he called me "my boy" as I was nearly twice his size and at least five years older.

You see? Everything has changed. Your options have expanded. Your confidence is increased. Your self-image may be absurd in the moment you are playing your drums, but your envelope is bigger. Your unconscious choices will be different. Your psyche has expanded!

He finished eating, and after a quick sideways glance at an unfinished burrito at the next table, he stood up to go.

Do you understand why I'm telling you this? It's because we all have a withered arm. Don't you see? None of us are symmetrical. At some point in our prenatal life, during our deepest moments of vulnerability and development, we suffered a crisis, a mishap, an accident, even perhaps a threat to our life. Our mother slipped and fell, or she regretted being pregnant and had fantasies about abortion, or she caught the flu, had a fight with your dad, or ate too much hot sauce. And this little tragedy occurred while you were vulnerably in the midst of one of your biological milestones my boy, for the first trimester of the pre-natal period is nothing but one on-going biological milestone after another. So don't you see?

He looked around the room making eye contact with some of the lunch customers as if he were at the podium of his own lecture hall. "We ALL have a withered arm," he shouted magnanimously. "It could be your right adrenal gland, it could be the cornea in your left eye, it could be a valve in your heart, but our withered arm, wherever it is, has shaped our fundamental psychology, has created the very foundation of who we are."

He looked poignantly at me and winked. "Find your withered arm my boy, and repattern!"

He left the restaurant and bounded across Colorado Boulevard. I watched him jauntily moving along the sidewalk toward his lab. His left arm was pinned to his side and his right arm was scribbling through the air like a dazzling rubber garden hose.

* Fiction . . . by Karlton Terry


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