What can possibly connect meditation to neuroscience? Ancient meditators used to dedicate their whole life to spirituality and studying their own nature, especially the nature of one’s mind. Inside what they called the mind tons of thoughts and emotions constantly traveled back and forth, like little people in little cars on little roads (well, that is my modern comparison, there were no cars at that time for them to compare their thoughts to, you are right!) Meditators cared very little for those pesky little “creatures” – thoughts. Those thoughts were also very “hungry guys” and craved for more. Yet ancients soon realized that if they would stop feeding those pesky “little creatures,” the mind will become peaceful and finally get still. So they soon learn that the mind is not something that should rule “you,” but that “you” should rule the mind. With the mind still and quiet, the ancients believed another form of vision opened itself, And that new form was a much more clear vision that that of the “mind full of thoughts.” Now we all or at least very many of us know what meditation is. This process of quieting one’s mind on demand (as one of the technique) is called meditation ( I understand over-simplification here, but it is done on purpose). Modern neoroscientists call it brain exercises. The word meditation is not very popular in the field. And yet the techniques is the same. Now many, if not all of us know that our brain changes and often visible changes are possible due to these or other brain exercises. The term that is popular is the field is brainplastisity. Certain meditation techniques are offered in the field of neuroscience as well as meditation to re-wire and reshape the brain. For people who don’t meditate at all and no nothing about what I am even talking about the brain works in so to call “default-thought mode.” Also the parts of brain that are responsible for fear and anxiety show less neurological activity in the people who meditate on a regular basis. Although neuroscience was the first modern field that got so involved in the studies of meditation techniques, psychology got interested in meditation as well. Psychology uses another term “cognitive talk therapy” to describe the notion that your thoughts are not “you.” Meditators fast learn to notice how repetative our thoughts are. Our thoughts are mere interpretation of what we see around. They do not represent reality clearly. Whether those thoughts are positive or negative very clearly depend on way to many circumstances. So the way we interpret the world today may depend on our physical state, our hormonal level, whether we are stressed, hot, warm, cold, hungry, full of energy, or not so much…. We can interpret somebody’s behavior very wrongly just because of all those and many other things. Bad and negative thoughts are just stupid stories in your head. Stop feeding them and allow them to get quiet and not so agitated. There are many different meditation techniques. And they are not all the same. Start with something simple. And it does not need to be watching your breath because it can soon get boring and discouraging for some more active people. So do jogging meditation, swimming meditation, hiking meditation, yoga meditation, tai chi meditation, and what not, as long it clears your mind. Feel free to look for some of meditation techniques I write about on my Mindful Breathing Site, and feel free to read my personal story. Also, if you are not my friend on Facebook yet and you have an account and love to learn or share on the topic of meditation or any similar topic – feel free to add me: Evelina Iablonskaya (the first letter is an “i”)/ and instagram evaisco/ Hope to hear from you soon, my dear friends. I love you all. We are all in this together. Evelyn J.
I truly believe that every good article written in any other language but English simply NEEDS TO be translated into English. But that is just my thing…. So, here we are – these are not my words any more, and you’d see the name of the author of these words signed beneath. Please, enjoy!
- Be a good talking companion on nearly any given topic
- Be an attentive listener (My talking companion will feel he is the only one in the Universe important for me at the moment; simply saying I have mastered the skill of mindful listening techniques)
- To find common language with the kids
- To find common language with animals
- Train rats; To teach them simple things: understand words, listen. I’m not sure how I do this, I guess this is just intuition.
- To think quickly in stressful situations and act accordingly rationally: run fast, save someone, fight, depending on the circumstances. (please don’t mix stress that people acquire due to extreme situations with chronic stress. Extreme stress releases a huge dose of adrenaline into your blood. This adrenaline stimulates me very well, and I act rationally and become capable of enduring a lot, so I act accordingly fast and correctly. Chronic stress, on the other hand releases cortisol, and this hormone affects me differently. I can’t stand it.
- To fight back physically in the street. (I hope I still can do that, have not really practiced it for a while.)
- To explain subjects, teach, tutor. I did it as an amateur: I taught elementary math to an adult who was not good at it. As well as science: general biology, anatomy… I was contemplating on becoming a tutor.
- To write official complains on different bad people (and there are still a lot of those ones out there). As well as fight for my own civil rights by filing a lot of government paperwork.
- To professionally steep tea for Chinese Tea Ceremony.
- To prepare certain incenses all by myslef.
- Control my inner organs with various techniques. (I stopped practicing this, but I’m planning on returning back to it again).
- To tolerate pain as well as strong pain using other techniques and will power, so that pain lessened and did not prevent me from enjoying my daily life.
- To memorize long digital equations, patterns, any types of combinations, passwords, codes, phone numbers and so on.
- Write my own ideas using pentagrams, I can write a long paragraph using this style.
- To read tarot card ( But I have stopped doing this now)
- To retain by breath under water for at least two minutes.
- To use nunchaku;
- To take up to 15 pills at once;
- To swim using crawl stroke for a long period of time,
- To rollerblade
- To write poems
- To write prose
- To memorize lengthy texts by heart (poetry as well as prose)
- To change my opinion about people one or the other way.
- But I think the most important thing for me is self-control. This helps me always and everywhere.
These are the things that first came to my mind. I decided not to talk about my professional qualities.
Breathing meditations or breathing techniques are one of the building blocks of yogic philosophy. Дыхательные медитации или дыхательные упражнения – это один из главных элементов в философии йоги. Yogis strongly believe that correct breathing techniques influence on our brain-waives. Йоги искренне верят в то, что правильное дыхание влияет на наши мозговые волны. Let us expand just a tiny bit on what exactly are those brain waives and why are they so important in our daily lives. Давайте немного углубимся в то, что такое мозговые волны и постараемся ответить на вопрос, какую роль они играют в нашей ежедневной жизни. You probably heard about Alfa, Delta, and Teta waves, haven’t you already? Вы наверное уже слышали о Альфа, Дельта, и Тета волнах, да или нет? Teta-waves occur when you sleep, relaxation and meditation. Тета волны возникают во время сна а так же релаксации и медитации. Delta-waves occur during deep sleep or hypnosis. Дельта-волны возникают во время глубокого сна или гипноза. Now let us talk about Alfa-waves! These are the most popular waves among the common public. Теперь давайте остановимся на альфа-волнах. Эти волны оказалиь наиболее популярными у основной публики. Это волны положительных эмоций, чувства комфотра, и успокаивающей гармонии. These are the waves of positive emotions, comfort, and harmony. There are many outside techniques how you can stimulate your own brain waves. (Music therapy will tell a lot on the topic). Существует множество внешних методик, котрые помогают стимулироват мозговые волны. Музыкальная терапия – это одна из таких методик. But yogis propose a lot of breathing practices that one can learn in order to accomplish the same goal. Но йоги предлагают множесво дыхательных упражнений. If you are working with younger kids, it is good to stay simple and just explain the results of breathing exercises, something like – they will allow you to say calm in difficult circumstances. Если вы занимаетесь с маленькими детьми, то не надо им объяснять всю технологию, стоящую за этими упражнениями. Достаточно только сказать, что они помогут тебе спокойно себя вести в трудных ситуациях. For people on the spectrum breathing techniques help them to get connected to their bodies. Для людей аутического спектра, дыхательные упражнения помогают им лучше понять свое тело. One of the best working techniques for beginners (and these are the best for ASD) is the ujayi breath. Одна из лучших методит для новичков и аутистов это дыхание уджаи. This technique allows you to keep breath slow and steady. Этот метод помогает вашему дыханию оставаться медленным и ровным. You have to make a soft restriction on the back of your throat and you breath in and out through the nose with your lips close. Вы должны создать мягкое препятствие в горле и дышать через нос с закрытыми губами. You have to be able to hear you breath loudly but softly. Вы должны слышать свое дыхание громкое но мягкое. If you have watched Star Wars, then the sound of your breath should be similar to Darth Vader breath. Если вы знакомы со Звездными Войнами, то ваше дыхание должно быть похоже на дыхание Дарт Вейдера. This is another reason why it may be so interesting to young kids. Это еще одна причина, почему это дыхание может быть интересно для детей. Give it a try, research more about this technique, and share your results. Попробуйте, почитайте на интернете побольше об этом дыхании, и дайте мне знать, какие результаты.
Did you notice that your mind is always busy? Does it sometimes drive you nuts? How often? Ever? Have you ever heard anyone tell you to just stop thinking too much. O.K. What was your answer? Don’t tell me, I know….
And yet, would you care to try? Or let us maybe start with “why on earth do I need to do it?” You start with acknowledging and admitting – yes, I do have a lot of self-talk in my head. But not just in general. (I often or I usually have a lot of self-talk). No, you have to “catch” it, so to say. Then you are like…. O.K. Who IS talking? And who is WATCHING the self-talk? Let me tell you. You are not your thoughts. But the observer, yes, the observer is you. The moment you got it, the moment you separated yourself from your thoughts – you GOT IT. And I mean YOU REALLY GOT IT, bro! Then there is no need to stop the thoughts, just keep watching them, that’s it. And in watching itself is a relief, and the watching will pacify them, and make your mind so clear that you’d be able to see beyond the thoughts, if you now what I mean. Give it a try. Enjoy!
Everything we are doing on this planet is in search of Love. But how many of us found this True Love? Many might claim they have… and they might claim they are happy… are they, really? Can they say that Love has made them more calm, more peaceful, more loving…less neurotic? And if no, than what is the problem? Let us just distinguish between the search of Love and the expression of Love. These are two major differences if you allow. For any relationship you first and foremost need to have something to share. And what is the most important thing you can share? Yes, yourself, your presence. Unless you learn to be present – every relationship will be dysfunctional. Unless you learn the skill of presence, your relationship will give you as much pleasure as it will give you pain. Many people struggle to balance between the two polarities – negative and positive. All these polarities rise from the human mind. That is why couples that claim that they deeply love each other often fight. Unless you build your relationship on a totally different ground, your relationship will sooner or later collapse. I don’t claim to be an expert whatsoever, but my own children, who have relationships of their own often tell me that they wish their relationships lasted as long and were as strong as my marriage with my husband did. So what is the magic? Let us concentrate on romantic relationships for that purpose. Every polarity always lead to dysfunction. True Love, on the other hand has no polarity, it has no opposition, because it is not rooted in our minds. True Love is a very rare thing. In its perfect sense we can say that God is True and Pure Love. Yet humans are not incapable of Love. Every problem that you have in your relationship you will always blame on your partner and very seldom on yourself. It is easier to notice negativity in the Other rather than in “me.” What problems couple come across? Well, let’s just mention a few. Jealousy, for example is one of them. But there is also insensitivity and the need to be bossy and to be right all the time, the need to teach, impulsiveness, manipulations, and many more… Now, on the other hand there are many positive polarities as well. You can be deeply in love and you feel very happy. You only see each other and don’t see the world around. True Love is different from both of these examples. As a human being your Self consists of several layers. On a physical level, you can temporarily obtain unity of the two polarities, but it won’t last forever. On the mental of psychological level it is even harder and more rare. You can never obtain ultimate happiness on a mental level only. Your thoughts are not who you are. On this level you will always feel insecure no mater how great your thoughts are. You feelings and emotions as well as your thoughts come from the Ego Center of your brain, they are self-oriented and clinging. Clinging is just a form of addiction. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. No matter what you are addicted to, even your partner. It is not yet the True Love. Every addiction reaches the point when it does not work for you anymore. And then you feel the pain. The addiction does NOT bring you the pain. It just uncovers that pain that is already there. Yet avoidance of relationships is not the answer either. The relationship does not bring you your pain. The pain is there already anyway. So, what are we going to do? You have to bring an intense presence into your relationship as well as in any other parts of your life. You will never learn to be present for your partner if you cannot even be present for yourself. Search for the silence from your inner chatter and for the stillness in your busy world. Only when you get rid of your own pain you are ready to Love. Don’t try to fix the whole world. Don’t try to fix your partner. Fix yourself! If you feel any pain – who should be healed? If you understand this much – this is transforming in itself, this will open you the door to True Love.
Who do you think YOU are? What you refer to as “you” is just a bunch of thoughts, feelings, and emotions, that’s it! But that is not really “you.” You think that is “you.” You don’t even live or experience life to the full extend. You are just stuck in your psychological drama. It’s like you were watching the movie in the theater and fell asleep. That is what going on with your life for real. Now imagine – the movie is over and you suddenly woke up. But that is too late, the movie is already over. That is how most people die, unfortunately. They wake up only at the end of their lives… You thought your thoughts and emotions were your life… That’s the most unfortunate self-deception. What is going on in your mind, what is going on in my mind actually means nothing at the end. We can sit in one room together and have absolutely different dramas going on in our minds. Let me open you a secret – your or mine, for that purpose psychological reality is not existential reality. These are two different things, my dear friend. Your or mine psychology has no existential basis. You can make up whatever you want! Whatever you want… It’s just in your head, that’s it. If your psychological creation in your head becomes bigger than the real Creation, you need to set this anomaly right. It’s O.K to make your psychological reality. But you must be able to switch it off when you don’t want it. It cannot be on for 24 hours. It is not the reality. You are just making it up. It you understand what is real and what is made up – you have awaken to your true Self, my friend. Now you are ready to navigate your way through life!
If you can imagine your brain, go ahead, please do so! Think of the area right behind your forehead. People call it lateral prefrontal cortex. But I will call it a balance center. It’s a pretty important part of your brain, bro! It is responsible for helping you making logical decisions. If this part of your brain functions properly, it will save your life, trust me. It will help you balance weird impulses that are constantly bombarding you from other parts of your brain.
O.K. Let’s move on. A little bit further down and a bit lower lays the part of your brain that is called a medial prefrontal cortex. It is more like the inside of your brain. Or the inside of the inside, if you can imagine… This part of the brain concerns only with you. That’s right. Let’s call it Ego Center! You, you, you…. Your memories, your dreams, your view point, your perspective…. You name it!
Let’s move on, baby: we are approaching insula. I’ll call it Feelings Center. It lays even more to the bottom of the brain and it is responsible for feelings and sensations.
Now let us look at the brain of a person that never meditated. We notice a very strong neurological connection between the two centers of the brain: the Feelings Center and the Ego Center. That sucks! Because every time you feel any sensations in your body, your Ego Center processes them as danger. And there can be tons and tons of sensations going on through our bodies per second. Now it is time to ask the WTF is going on with our brain? Why this Ego center is allowed to work like that against me? It sits inside of me and constantly deceives me! Yep, that’s true! Let me tell you why. There is nothing wrong with neurological connections and pathways between the Ego and the Feelings Centers, but!… you Balance Center is underdeveloped. And that is a BIG problem.
Now let’s look at the brain of a meditator. Regular meditation practices break down neurological connections between the Ego Center and the Feelings Center. Meditation also hep establish stronger connections between the Feelings Center and the Balance Center. And last but not least, meditation redirects the work of the Ego center from MY-self towards “the Other.” Yes! Now rather than me-me-me you feel empathy more naturally. Now you tell me, isn’t it great? Enjoy!
Did you know that you are capable of changing your own brain? If you doubt that let’s at least agree that your brain does change. Everything that happens in your life influences your brain. Brain is capable of making new connections. Neurons that fire together – wire together. Did you know that people who meditate have very different neural paths from people who don’t meditate? You don’t even need to be an expert of meditation. A beginner will already look like a super-hero, believe me! It’s all because meditation works wonders. It’s all about the technique itself, the marvelous tool. Not about who uses it. With some simple practices you can very fast totally rewire your brain yourself. The more your brain changes – the easier your life will become. it’s not just about your formal meditation it is actually about doing it while you live your life, while you are doing your regular life activities. Your formal meditation is that case becomes a sort of classroom. Many practitioners concentrate on the consciousness or awareness meditation. Yet the truth is that with time conscious approaches go into your automatic or subconscious mode. And they work just fine in that mode. MRI results sow increased thickness of the cortex in those people who meditate daily (as well as many other changes I won’t be naming here). So why wait? Become an architect of your own brain. You brain is ever static but it continually remodels itself based on your experiences. Your brain constantly chatters. Meditators call it “monkey mind.” Why monkey? Unnecessary motion and copying. if you learn to quiet and eventually calm your ind on demand, then your brain will become your best friend and not your enemy.
Знаешь ли ты, что ты сам в состоянии изменить свой мозг? Если ты не веришь в это, то согласись, что мозг меняется. Все, что происходит в твоей жизнь влияет на твой мозг. Твой мозг способен выстраивать новые нейрологические дорожки. Нейроны, которые загараются вместе – спаиватся. Знаешь ли ты, что люди, которые медетируют имеют большее количество различных нейродорожек в головном мозге по сравнению с теми людьми, которые не медитируют? Тебе не надо даже быть экспертом в медитации. Даже новичок, который только что начал медитировать уже будет похож на профессионала супергероя. И это не завивит от того, кто именно медитирует. Все это происходит благодаря тому, насколько замечатльна сама методика. Это как чудесный инструмент, который ты держишь у себя в руках. С помощью этого инструмента ты сам можешь перепаять свой мозг! И главное, что медитация работает не только тогда, когда ты сидишь в позе лотоса, занимаясь формальной медитацией. Нет, она работает всегда, когда ты просто спокойно занимаешься своими повседневными делами. А вот формальная медитация в этой ситуации может быть сравнима с классной комнатой или уроком, где ты учишься жизни. Результаты МРТ показывают значительные физиологические изменения в подкорке и разных частях головного мозга у тех людей, которые медитируют. Многие люди, практикующие медитацию часто говорят о необходимости осознанной медитации. И это правильно. Но раньше или позже все доходит до автоматизма и медитация переходит в подсознание. Тогда чего же ты ждешь? Стань архитектом своего мозга и своей судьбы! Твой мозг никогда не находится в статическом состоянии. Он постоянно занимается болтавней. Это часто называют умом обезъянки. Почему именно это сравнение? Обязъянки зачастую делают много ненужных движений и часто копируют всех вокруг. Если ты научишься притишать и наконец просто выключать эту внутреннюю болтавню, твой мозг станет твоим настоящим другом и пересане быть твоим врагом.