This summer I had the good fortune to visit the mysterious Druid site of Stonehenge – a place that was calling me for a long time. Meditating amidst ancient megaliths during sunrise was nothing short of magical. A few months later back in the US I am still processing this experience. I am also still digesting an intense and beautiful visit to Glastonbury, where I attended a conference for healing professionals. Thinking back to that serene, early morning at Stonehenge, one word comes to my mind:
This is exactly how I felt: grounded in myself and whole; as if these megalithic sculptures turned into earthy anchors of my life journey. Sense of GROUNDING and WHOLENESS are qualities I have seeked out most of my life, especially in the last few years – at the time when I came to Lisa Wimberger’s meditation class at the Neurosculpting® Institute. Her book “Neurosculpting” recently made Amazon’s Top 50 books on PTSD treatment.
In my teens I was trained in Transcendental Meditation, practiced yoga and Buddhist-style meditation in my twenties and thirties, but I still had a sense of ‘not-good-enough’. I was putting too much effort into being present, being loving, accepting, forgiving and compassionate while not addressing my ADD and PTSD. I wasn’t self-accepting, self-loving or self-compassionate. I was a well-meaning people pleaser, a seeker, and a classic case of spiritual bypassing. When I failed being “aligned” with my own values I would beat myself up or justify my choices with my internal dialogue, riding a roller-coaster of my limbic system.
Before I came across the Neurosculpting® modality I was feeling extremely fragmented in my psyche, ungrounded and frustrated to be in my own skin. Today, four years later, I know for a fact that we can rewire our brain by resculpting our neural mindscape; one neuron at a time, one story at a time. As we clear our scripts, the integration takes place. Just as happiness is a byproduct of meditation, alignment is a byproduct of paying attention to our mind. Brain neurochemistry changes when we start minding our thinking process. It is now widely accepted and empirically proven, that our brains are elastic and regenerative. We have the ability to generate new brain cells – a process known as neurogenesis. An MRI study published in 2000 by scientists at University College, London, showed that in London taxi drivers, the rear portion of the hippocampus was enlarged compared with those of control subjects, confounding the long-held notion that the adult human brain cannot grow (National Geographic, March 2005). Moreover, we can boost production of new brain cells by engaging in certain activities and consuming foods that affect production of BDNF – brain derived neurotrophic factor. What a fantastic time to be alive and take advantage of training our minds from this grounded rational point of view!
I teach Neurosculpting intro classes in Seattle, WA – my new home since September 2015. I also work with private clients and draw from Interpersonal Neurobiology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Buddhism, Psychotherapy and Shamanic teachings, seeing clearly how all these fields inform each other. We are truly fortunate to live in times when science and spiritual traditions arrive to the same conclusions. Founder of Mindsight Institute, neuropsychiatrist Dr. Dan Siegel defines the mind as “emergent, self-organizing, embodied, relational process”, referring to mind as a flow of energy that fluctuates between infinite plane of possibility and 100% probability (thoughts manifested in physical reality). He suggests that an open plane of possibility is available to everyone if we choose to train our mind. This idea is similar to the profoundly brilliant poet William Blake’s famous quote: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”
But first, we have to start paying attention. There are many superfoods that boost new brain cell production (BDNF) and support the Prefrontal Cortex: Turmeric, Coconut oil, DHA, Green tea and Blueberries. Physical activity also supports production of BDNF. Sleep, rest and nature exposure help as well. Among all the activities that make us slow down and engage the parasympathetic nervous system, MEDITATION is the most powerful tool. It literally grows gray matter!
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