It’s a common obstacle in anyone’s meditation practice. Whether you meditate every day or you’re still trying to find your groove, sometimes it’s difficult to feel like there’s room on the To-Do list for meditation.
While you’ll see the most benefit from frequent practice of deep meditation, there are ways to access your practice for those times when your mind is elsewhere. Hebb’s Law of neuroplasticity gives us a little trick to bring to mind a meditation you’ve done before when you only have a moment.
“Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together!”
Hebb’s Law teaches us that “Neurons that Fire Together, Wire Together.” This is the law of associations! Consider how the smell of sugary cereal might make you think of television from your childhood. Or how you might feel significant fear around a kind of animal that once snapped at you. Your brain codes experiences along with the simultaneous experiences happening at the time that seemed important or interesting. If your brain makes an association, when you think of one, you’ll think of the other.
How can we use this in our meditation practice?
When we are meditating, we can make an association on purpose so that experiencing that association will make us think of our meditation. Even if this only happens on a subconscious level, it still reinforces the connection every time we do it and strengthens the experience.
When you are having an experience in your meditation that you would like to access later, you can do something re-creatable to bring it to mind. This can be something like tapping with your non-dominant hand on a place on your body or making an interesting gesture or movement with your fingers.
Now, when you are standing in line at the grocery store or driving your commute, you can make this gesture and, subconsciously or consciously, be reminded of that experience you intentionally marked. Of course, it’s better to actually go into a meditation, but we can use sensation associations to give ourselves a small jolt of the experience when we don’t have time to do a full meditation.
Not only does this allow us to at least subconsciously, if not consciously, access the experience, but it contributes to the neuroplastic reinforcement of the experience. The science of neuroplasticity teaches us that the more we activate a neural pathway, the easier it becomes to do so at a physical level. Accessing the experience throughout the day with small triggers, especially in addition to a meditation practice, reinforces the pathway and makes it easier and easier to pull up automatically.
What Association to Use
The possibilities are endless, but it’s recommended that you stick to associations that are re-creatable anywhere. Sure, a relaxing scent or a pocket rock will work just as well, but what happens when you don’t have that object with you throughout the day? We recommend using something, like gestures, that you can access anytime.
Additionally, if the association is something novel or slightly interesting/unusual/curious, (like using your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth while you think about the experience), it will be marked as even more important, given more brain power, and strengthened even more.
Danielle Rachlin, CNSF
Danielle Rachlin, CNSF received her Neurosculpting® Facilitator Certification in the original round of NSI graduates in 2013. Since then, she has taken an academic approach to teaching and has brought Neurosculpting® into the world of college campuses with her recurring quarter-long series at Colorado Mesa University. Danielle has also produced an educational ghostwriting collection in her position in Communications for the Neurosculpting® Institute during the completion of her Master’s degree in Public Administration for Environmental Policy, Management, and Law.
Danielle is passionate about introducing these concepts to people that do not necessarily already know they are interested in the subject and in making the information accessible to all kinds of people. She is motivated to spread the content of Neurosculpting® as widely as she can because she wants everyone to understand the natural processes of their brain so personal development is not an uphill battle. She has been meditating since childhood and was originally drawn deeply to Neurosculpting® due to its solid and digestible foundation in science.