Expanding on the subject of self-image and meditation from my fitness challenge post, I’d like you to take the plunge with me into understanding the inner workings of your brain and mind. Seriously, if your life hasn’t changed yet, then allow this post to make up for that. As crazy as it sounds, the world as a whole is going through a tremendous shift in consciousness and quite frankly, it’s necessary as to how messed up and neurotic we’ve gotten.
In these past several months, I have gone through extremely radical changes both extrinsically (losing close to 20 pounds of fat) and intrinsically (having my entire perception of reality changed). During this period of massive growth, I’ve had to face an extensive amount of fears such as the fear of loss, the fear of change, and the fear of being judged along with countless other insecurities. But through this period of growth I have been intensely studying spirituality, neuroanatomy, religion, and doing my own experiments with meditation. What I’ve discovered is that moment by moment inner peace and happiness is readily available to EVERYONE whether they’re religious or not. Yes, that includes YOU!
So let’s talk about your brain and my brain. For the sake of simplicity, I’m only going to discuss the primary regions related to our “spiritual”/“mindfulness” purposes, or whatever you care to call it. First off, the reason we as a human species are so complex and intricate in our thinking with a higher consciousness is due to our much more developed cerebral cortex which is believed to be twice in thickness and twice in function compared to that of other animals.
The cerebral cortex has two main hemispheres which are of course, the left and right hemispheres. Our left hemisphere is responsible for linear/sequential thinking, critical judgement, analysis, speech, and is what makes us constantly compare ourselves to others in regards to financial status, academic status, appearance, etc. Learning this, I hope you can see how pointless it is to say “I wish I could just stop comparing myself to others” or “I don’t care what other’s think of me”, because that is virtually impossible. It’s a part of our biological nature! Now learning that can probably be disheartening to a lot of you guys, it certainly was for me, but the more intriguing and optimistic part comes with our right cerebral cortex.
Our right hemisphere is what takes in the bigger scheme of the moment and intuitively understands that everything is connected and one. It is the part of your brain that is always picking up on the frequencies and vibrations of wherever you currently are. That is why you can walk into a room and immediately feel “bad vibes” or “good vibes”. The right hemisphere is also why we like some people more than others, because of how they make us FEEL. Too many people (the majority really) are comfortable with being ignorant to the fact that humans are emotionally intuitive creatures.
Did you know studies have shown 93% of communication is non-verbal(body language, tone of voice, eye contact, etc.)? That is a HUGE concept to remember in selecting who you choose to associate yourself with in life. It’s time for you to start paying close attention to who you hang around with and the kind of non-verbal “energy” they are giving off because that is what you’re absorbing subconsciously. Misery truly does like company so trying to dissociate yourself from friends and family that are addicted to negativity and complacency can cause a lot of backlash and resistance so please be aware of that. Just remember that it’s for the best of everyone in the end. Why would you want to continue being around people who make you feel like shit? Am I right or am I right?!
Getting back from that side tangent about choosing who you want to associate with, let’s continue on with talking about our right brain! When I said the right hemisphere understands everything is connected, I mean EVERYTHING. If you sat down and really took the time to think about it, you’ll realize that we humans are all just a huge conglomeration of trillions upon trillions of cells and molecules moving in space, which is just another huge conglomeration of molecules. You, me, animals, and everything else in this world are ALL connected in the sense that we’re all just molecules and star dust interacting with each other in a space of more molecules.
This internal knowingness of connectedness with everything around you can be felt as an inner peace in your mind(the right hemisphere) that is always there when you allow yourself to dissociate from your thoughts(your left brain chatter) and access “the power of the now” as spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle puts it. “Accessing the now” is basically allowing yourself to be in the present moment wherever you are, watching your thoughts, and observing your physiology and emotions.
However, this is all much easier said than done since as we as a society (especially Western culture) have been rewarded since we were children to always be driven by our left egotistical brains and to be compelled by the future and identified through our past. I believe this is where the power of mindfulness and meditation comes into play. When you genuinely recognize and internalize the FACT that you are not your thoughts, you are not your past, or your perceived future, you will take on a consciousness shift that totally transforms your experience of life from a stressful hell hole into a moment by moment experience of joy and peace. No joke, that’s 100% possible for you, given that you’re willing to put in the effort of breaking away from your conditioning (which most people aren’t).
In the book “My Stroke of Insight” by Harvard neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, she shares her experiences of having a stroke which caused a left hemorrhage in her brain(the region of our ego). Having her entire left hemisphere disabled allowed for her right brain(the region of bigger picture awareness) to be completely uninhibited and through that traumatic experience she felt she had become “one with the universe” and developed an entirely new sense of gratitude for the human body and the tremendous effort of her cells in doing their jobs to allow her as a “being” to have a human experience.
What I really liked from this book was that it showed that hey, if a Harvard neuroanatomist believes that we can experience being “one with the universe” and that “peace is only a thought away”, then the people who identify themselves as purely “logical” and “rational” that frown upon “spirituality” should re-consider opening themselves up more to the idea of mindfulness and take that stick out of their ass. (just kidding)
In all seriousness, like I said in the beginning, the world is truly going through a consciousness shift and I 100% agree with ABC news anchor Dan Harris who says meditation is the next big health revolution and will turn from something that is currently looked at as odd into joining the “pantheon of no brainers” like exercise, brushing your teeth, and showering.
My call to action for you would be to jump head on and start meditating 10 minutes a day. Along with observing your thoughts and paying attention to your brain’s circuitry throughout the day, you’ll start noticing that you dwell on the same negative thought loops over and over and over for no reason other than being comfortable and used to it. Yeah, you are probably addicted to negative brain circuitry without even knowing it! Observe your emotional responses to people when they piss you off and don’t attach yourself to the response or the negative thoughts that will come to your mind. It only takes 90 seconds for emotions to be completely flushed out of your body. (That’s a fact). So when you get emotionally triggered , just look at your watch and count 90 seconds, then see if you really want to engage with those negative emotions and thoughts because then you have the choice.
Once you start to take responsibility for the brain circuitry you’re choosing to engage in along with your emotional responses, everything in your life will freaking change. You might end up losing friends and disconnecting from family that you’ve realized served no purpose in your life other than to bring you down, or you might end up making new friends who are on the same energy level as you. Either way, you’ll be living out of your own true and genuine consciousness which is priceless and worth more than anything else on this planet.(Yes, even more than a Lamborghini and a Bentley)
Set your heart on making this change for just one month and see how much it exponentially changes your life for the better. It won’t be easy though. It’ll actually probably be the hardest journey you ever decide to embark on. The biggest obstacle that you will be forced to face is the fear of being who you really are. When you start saying no to escaping the present moment through drugs, food, television, gossip, drama, or whatever it is you use to get away from reality, you’re going to get uncomfortable as hell. But by staying present, taking control of your breathing, and observing of your thoughts, your amazing and intricate brain will eventually break out of it’s habit of engaging in negative thought circuitry and ultimately adapt to constantly being within that inner peace you’ve always had in you(a.k.a your right hemisphere). If meditation and mindfulness don’t change your life exponentially for the better, feel free to call me a nut !
With all that said, I’d like to leave you off with a video from famous neuroscientist Sam Harris on psychedelics, acid, mdma, and meditation!
Feel free to comment and share to anyone you think could benefit from this!
“My Stroke of Insight” by Jill Bolte Taylor
“The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle