I hope all is well in your world. I’m back from my holiday and feeling relaxed and refreshed which is just as well because I have lots of bookings this week. Our offer of a free 60 minute health assessment has gone through the roof. I must say it’s so lovely to meet with people and have time to really listen to their story. It’s also lovely to be able to connect them with amazing practitioners who I know will help.
Regardless of what health issues someone has, one of the things that almost everyone needs is to learn to meditate. This gives you the ability to choose your thought which gives you control of your life!
On Sunday night I watched an episode of Redesign My Brain with Todd Sampson. It was about creativity and one of the experiments Todd did was shut down a section of the left side of his brain. This was done by passing an electric current through it to inhibit it for 2 hours.
I know it sounds pretty extreme but Todd does some fairly scary things in the name of science. Anyway once the left anterior temporal lobe (to be precise) was inhibited Todd described feeling as if his brain was turbo charged. It was energetic, he felt optimistic and free. He also said that colours were brighter. Testing showed that he was more creative, intuitive and insightful.
According to Neuroscientists, the left side of the brain is our filter. It limits our perception of the world around us based on our pre-conceived ideas and beliefs. It’s rational and logical. When this part of the brain is functioning it blocks the intuitive, creative and expansive part of the brain and we stay stuck in old patterns of thinking.
This experiment reminded me of the experience of Dr Jill Bolte Taylor who describes how it felt to have stroke in her famous TED talk. (It’s had over 19 million views) Jill is a Neuroscientist and she tells the story of waking one morning with an excruciating headache. She tried to get ready for work but eventually realised she was having a stroke. The left side of her brain shut down completely.
Amazingly, she describes the sensation of feeling free and expansive, colours were brighter, she had an awareness of the connection between all things and was in “Nirvana”. Jill had amazing insights into the meaning of life and felt like she had let go of 37 years of emotional baggage. She felt totally euphoric.
I find it so fascinating that this is how we can feel when we quieten the left side of our brain. When we stop the mind chatter and create quietness we simply feel better. It’s what so many people report when they learn to meditate. Basically meditation is the art of quietening the left side of your brain. Luckily you don’t need electric currents running through it and you don’t need to have a stroke.
I first learned meditation in my mid-twenties and I was blown away by the difference it made in my life. It didn’t take long at all before I noticed I felt more at peace, my concentration was better, my memory improved, I felt more positive and more creative. It felt like it added another dimension to my life and regardless of what was happening in my day I had an inner quietness and calmness that made it easy to detach from the drama of situations. I loved it and looked forward to my meditation every day.
I must confess that over the years my meditation practice has come and gone, especially when my children were young, but I definitely feel and function better when I’m doing it routinely. The two main reason people don’t meditate are because they believe they don’t have the time and that their mind is too busy.
The interesting thing is that these are the two biggest reasons you need to do it. When you’re busy meditation actually makes you more productive. The brain waves produced in meditation give you the perception that time has expanded and suddenly you feel like you have all the time in the world. Often when I start to feel overwhelmed by all the things on my “To Do List” I’ll meditate for 5 minute and afterwards everything feels so much more manageable and I achieve much more.
The other reason (excuse) is that you might resist meditation is because your mind is too busy. This is like saying “I don’t exercise because I’m too unfit.” Meditation is a skill everyone can learn, you just need to explore some different techniques and get some practice. I strongly suggest starting with a structured course that will give you a range of strategies and support you as you master the art. You also need to make the time to practice. Starting with just 5 minutes a day can build a new habit that’s life-changing.
If you’re still wondering “why bother?” then here are some fairly persuasive statistics about meditation:
- Fatality rate from heart conditions was reduced by 48% with meditation
- Blood pressure drops by an average of 7 mm/Hg
- Meditators have 87% fewer hospitalizations for heart disease
- 55% fewer benign and malignant tumours
- 30% fewer infectious diseases.
- 50% fewer doctor visits than non-meditators
Need I say more??
This Thursday evening we have a new 5 Week Mindfulness Meditation Course starting so be quick to book in if you would like to tame your Monkey Mind, feel happier, be healthier and live longer.
Have a great (pain free) week,
Health and Happiness Guru