Reptilian Brain & Mindsight

FYI ~ We’re relocating to

Oscar Wilde

“Arguments are to be avoided, they are always vulgar and often convincing.”  Oscar Wilde

Dan Siegel – “Flipping Your Lid:” A Scientific Explanation

Do you have the mindsight to detect, at any given moment, whether you’re in your lizard brain, monkey mind or are under the sway of a higher porpoise?


Drawing beneath courtesy of Nancy Margulies –

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are only princesses waiting for us to act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence something that wants our love. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Ever perplexed by the seeming duality of “Dr. Giraffe & Mr Jekyll”…

The Brain, Mindsight & NVC (inspired by a course with Susan Skye)

A new kind of mind thus begins to come into being which is based on the development of a common meaning that is constantly transforming in the process of the dialogue. 

David Bohm*

Are you aware of when your button has been pushed?

“Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between the stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness.” ― Rollo MayThe Courage to Create

The reptilian complex*‎:

Dr Daniel Siegel presenting a Hand Model of the Brain

Dan Siegel: Name it to Tame it

The Reptilian Brain: “The emotional alarm center for the brain”

Continuum (& related exercise) beneath via

NYCNVC – The New York Center for Nonviolent Communication

The Exercise – Shifting Toward Compassion

Even though this is an online exercise, you still need a pen or pencil and a piece of paper with a blank side. I created this exercise so people can have what I call a “Shift”. By that I mean experience a “shift” in what you are thinking about and a shift in how you feel. Read More …

The Connection Continuum:
<<< You and me (always moving back and forth) >>>continuum-connection

rage, disconnection and violence                                 connection, compassion, peace

Dr. Dan Siegel – “The Low Road” – YouTube

Triune Brain

Drawing beneath by Connie Barlow


Courtesy of –

Our human brain contains the foundations of vertebrate brain evolution: our reptilian brain (our Lizard Legacy) and our paleo-mammal brain (our Furry L’il Mammal). Evolved later is our human rational brain, the neocortex (our Monkey Mind), and highly developed in the human are the prefrontal cortex or frontal lobes (our Higher Porpoise; higher purpose).


Red: Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex

Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

Human beings, as they evolved, didn’t lose the fight or flight response; they just built on top of this “reptilian brain.” The new layer was the “cerebral cortex,” which allowed us to reflect on experiences and develop ideas rather than just act out instinctual responses.

~ David Rickey

Dr. Dan Siegel – “Our Power to Change” – YouTube

Link to Essay:  Reflections on the Mindful Brain by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D

Dr. Dan Siegel on Mindsight – YouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel- On Respecting the Individual in an Intimate

COAL: Curiosity, Openness, Acceptance and Love.

Dr. Dan Siegel– On Developing Your MindsightYouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel- On Making Sense of Your PastYouTube

[PDF] The Neurobiology of Freud’s Repetition Compulsion

Dr. Dan Siegel – On Recreating Our Past In the Present – YouTube

An Inuit family is sitting on a log outside their tent. The parents, wearing warm clothing made of animal skins, are engaged in domestic tasks. Between them sits a toddler, also in skin clothes, staring at the camera. On the mother's back is a baby in a papoose.

For infants and toddlers, the “set-goal” of the attachment behavioural system is to maintain or achieve proximity to attachment figures, usually the parents.

Dr. Dan Siegel – On Avoidant Attachment – YouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel – On Ambivalent Attachment – YouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel – On Disorganized Attachment – YouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel – On Optimal Attachment – YouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel– On Integration As A Source of Strength – YouTube

Dr. Dan Siegel– On Understanding the BrainYouTube

Prefrontal Cortex image from Creative Commons

Nine Middle Prefrontal Cortext Functions

YouTube clips beneath:  Dr. Dan Siegel 1) lays out a framework for understanding the brain and its impact on human behavior, 2) presents a definition of the mind and its functions, 3) discusses the impact of relationships and brain structure on human behavior, and 4) the role of the prefrontal cortex and the impact of reflective practices on motivation to address climate change. Presentation given at the Garrison Institute Climate, Mind and Behavior symposium, March 2010.

Five Paths to Understanding the Brain – TIME

Dr. Dan Siegel – On Emotional Balance – YouTube

NOVA | Mirror Neurons

Cells That Read Minds – New York Times

Dr. Dan Siegel – Home

Dr. Dan Siegel – About – Biography

Dr. Dan Siegel – About – Audio Video Clips

Additional YouTube video clips:  Daniel Siegel youtube

Goldie Hawn and Dan Siegel at TEDMED 2009 – YouTube

See also:

Sarah Peyton at


Rick Hanson’s The Compassionate Brain – Session 1 – How the Mind Changes the Brain

Compassionate Brain Session 2: “Mindfulness of Oneself and Others” w/ Dan Siegel

The Compassionate Brain Session 3: “Cultivating a Forgiving Heart”

The Compassionate Brain Session 4: “The Evolution of Compassion”

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